Image © DC Comics.
Just arrived is this two-book slipcased set, each book measuring 12.5 by 8.25 inches. This often-reprinted story ran originally as four issues of the monthly BATMAN comic (see example above right), in 1986-87.
Book One of this set is an excellent oversized reprint of the collected story with blue-line painted color by Richmond Lewis. I approve of it in every way. Lots of extra material including new forewords by editor Denny O’Neil and writer Frank Miller, and drawn afterword and comments by artist David Mazzucchelli, plus house ads, cover art, etc.
Book Two attempts to recreate the original newsprint comics version of the original issues larger, but in my opinion fails completely. The covers, on glossy stock, look great. The rest is on newsprint and each page is scanned from copies of the original comics. The result is mushy blacks (with four colors of ink dots in them) rather than the crisp, if grayed down, blacks of the original printings. The colors may be somewhat close to those seen in the original comics (and different from the ones in Book One), but the newsprint paper color is also in the scans, and the original large dot color separations are now mushy small dot separations that blur everything. The right way to do this would have been to reprint the original four-color separations on newsprint. Possibly they no longer exist, I don’t know, but this version is not very much like the original comics. Frankly, I hate it, and think it makes everyone involved look bad. The one saving grace of Book Two is the inclusion of every Miller script page and every Mazzucchelli pencilled layout, as well as some inked pages.
The suggested retail price for this box set is $125. I hope at some point DC will consider offering the contents of Book One with the added material from Book Two in a single volume. That one would be welcome on my own bookshelf.
If you’re not reading CLEAN ROOM, you’re missing what I find a truly scary thrill ride. Astrid Mueller is one of the few people who can see the malicious otherworld beings whose main source of fun is torturing humans both physically and psychologically. Astrid’s crusade, born of personal pain, is to resist them in every way she can, with the help of her own agents and other sensitives like Chloe Pierce. Since the evil entities can do almost anything to humans, it seems an impossible challenge, but Astrid has learned a lot about them, and even as they try to destroy her, she finds ways to fight back.
This second collection contains issues 7 to 12. I recommend it. as well as the first collection.
Image © DC Comics.
I’m happy to see this series receiving the deluxe hardcover treatment, the first of which has just arrived here. I enjoyed working on it writer Mike Carey and artist Peter Gross. It was often challenging, but also well written and drawn, and fun to be part of. The deluxe format is about ten percent larger than previous printings, on glossier paper. The colors are slightly brighter. There’s about 20 pages of additional material like sketches and alternate script versions, as well as a nice introduction by editor Pornsak Pichetshote. This first volume includes issues 1 to 12, including two of my favorites, issue 5: “How the Whale Became” about Rudyard Kipling and issue 12: “Eliza Mae Hertford’s Willowbank Tales” which is a delicious combination of Beatrix Potter and a thug out of “Goodfellas.” The price is $29.99, and should be in shops and online soon.
Images © DC Comics.
Two series I did lettering for last year have just arrived in trade paperback editions. Both were in hardcover earlier. Years ago anything I lettered was published once and that was it. Things began to change with the SANDMAN trade paperbacks in the 1990s. Now most things I letter are reprinted in collected editions at least once, sometimes more than once. I like that trend!
Been wondering what painter/artist John Bolton has been up to the last few years? Here it is, the SHAME trilogy, now collected in a single deluxe hardcover edition. Written by Lovern Kindzierski, with about 200 pages of amazing painted art by Bolton, lettered by me, with lots of extra material as well. Lovern calls it a fairy tale. I think it has elements of allegory too. Certainly the characters and story line are appealing, and if you like the way John Bolton paints women, there are plenty here, along with creepy monsters, gentlemanly knights, horrible demons, and more. Available directly from the Canadian publisher, Renegade Arts Entertainment, or from your comics retailer.