The "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." Artist's Edition will showcase Jim Steranko's work. (IDW Publishing)Link
The "Nick Fury & Captain America" Artist's Edition will showcase Jim Steranko's work. (IDW Publishing)Link
Darwyn Cooke will design and illustrate new hardcover editions of Richard Stark's Parker prose novels. (IDW Publishing)Link
The "Watchmen" Artifact Edition will showcase Dave Gibbons' work. (IDW Publishing)Link
The "Peanuts" Artist's Edition will showcase Charles M. Schulz's work. (IDW Publishing)Link
Cover for "Richard Stark's Parker: The Outfit" by Darwyn Cooke. (IDW)Link
Cover for "Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter" by Darwyn Cooke. (IDW)Link
Darwyn Cooke self-portrait. (Darwyn Cooke)Link
Jack Kirby’s “New Gods,” Jim Steranko’s “Nick Fury” works, Dave Gibbons’ “Watchmen” and Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” will all get deluxe books reproducing their original penciled-and-inked pages from IDW Publishing. And Steranko and the company are at work on a new, original project.
The San Diego-based comics and art book publisher announced the Artist’s or Artifact Editions of the hugely influential works at its Saturday morning “Most Explosive Panel of 2013” at New York Comic Con, with Steranko as a surprise guest.
The iconoclastic Steranko, a comics legend and Twitter sensation with a head of distinctive white hair, entered to the James Bond theme music and was frank about both his stature and his interactions with other publishers.
“I probably have the distinction of producing the smallest amount of work that made the most amount of noise in this business. You know Robert Johnson?” he asked the crowd, invoking the seminal early bluesman who, the story has it, made a deal with the devil. “Twenty-nine recordings. That’s how many comic books I did, 29. Twenty-nine books, and sold my soul to Stan Lee.”
He talked at length about his desire to continue innovating in comics, especially in terms of format, which he said has been unchanged since the 1930s, and told a story dating back five years about pitches for new-format projects for Captain America at Marvel and Batman, then Superman, at DC that didn’t work out. Those publishers were resistant to the different presentation approach, he said.
Then, Steranko said, he called IDW President Greg Goldstein on Monday and asked to make a three-minute pitch. After a minute and a half, he said, Goldstein said yes to the new project that is “burning a hole in my creative heart.”
“Now you know why I’m here,” he said.
The “Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Artist’s Edition will be 15 inches by 22 inches and collect the first 12 stories he drew in “Strange Tales” Nos. 151-162. A second volume, “Nick Fury and Captain America,” will be 11 by 17 and include other “Strange Tales” that were drawn on the smaller page size, and at least three issues of “Nick Fury,” with covers, and his “Captain America” issues (a few pages are missing at present, said Scott Dunbier, the company’s senior editor for special projects).
IDW editor in chief Chris Ryall jokingly thanked Marvel and DC “for letting us do these books.”
That panel also boasted another accomplished artist: Darwyn Cooke, whose “Richard Stark’s Parker” graphic novel adaptations at the company have netted five Eisner Awards. There are more Cooke-illustrated volumes about the career criminal to come: IDW will issue the first six Parker novels by Stark (a pen name of Donald E. Westlake) in prose in hardcover editions designed by Cooke and including 10 full-color illustration plates per book, with a different approach than the graphic novel versions, beginning in the second quarter of next year.
“It’s just a great chance to make sure this work is preserved and properly presented,” Cooke said of the new editions of novels originally published as paperbacks.
The fourth “Parker” graphic novel from Cooke, “Slayground” — which the artist called “the greatest book in regards to showing you the pure essence of who Parker is” — arrives in December. And, though the agreement with IDW started with four books, Cooke said the passion project series is now a longer-term commitment.
“I feel like it’s my responsibility at this point to keep, for my money, the greatest crime writer America ever produced … in front of people,” he said.
Gibbons appeared via a video clip to announce the “Watchmen” Artifact Edition. This presentation of the revolutionary, multiple Eisner-winning series, now the bestselling graphic novel of all time, which was written by Alan Moore, will be 12 inches by 17 inches, but won’t have complete stories — pages “have been scattered to the four corners of the world,” he said. There will be extended sequences, covers and oddities.
“It will be the next best thing to having the original artwork in your hands,” Gibbons said. “It’ll also be about a million dollars cheaper.”
Artifact Editions are an adjunct line to Artist’s Editions, Ryall said, that allows IDW to do art books in cases where full stories aren’t possible because of the original pages’ availability.
The “New Gods” Artist’s Edition includes the complete Issues 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8, plus extra penciled pieces and unpublished art, Dunbier said, calling Kirby “the most important comic artist of all time.” The Kirby-created DC Comics outer space series introduced a number of lasting characters, most notably the major villain Darkseid. Kirby also created or co-created a number of Marvel characters.
Dunbier said IDW has its pick of the best of the 7,000-strip archive of “Peanuts” newspaper cartoons about Charlie Brown and friends from the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, Calif., for that Artist’s Edition, which will be horizontal in presentation.
Goldstein joked: “I want to quash the rumor that IKEA is secretly paying us off to create different formats of Artist’s Editions so that you guys all have to go out and buy strange-sized bookcases.”
New York Comic Con, with an expected crowd of 130,000, is the East Coast’s largest pop-culture expo. The four-day event continues at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan through Sunday.
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