IDW Publishing's special projects editor, Scott Dunbier, was the sole host for the publisher's Artist's Edition panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, telling the audience he had "three and a half announcements to make."
The "half-announcement" was the decision to reprint the Artist's Edition of "The Rocketeer." The new printing -- the first time one of IDW's premiere formatted books has gone back to press -- features a new cover, and will be released at the beginning of 2013.
Moving on to the meat of the panel, the first full announcement was for the upcoming release of the Artist's Edition of Gil Kane's "The Amazing Spider-Man." The 12" x 17" tome will be released in November, and will contain issues 96 through 102, and issue 121. The collection features the infamous Comics Code-free drug issues, the six-armed Spider-Man, and the historic death of Gwen Stacy. The book will also contain in the back the 12-page slugfest between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus from issue 89, Kane's first issue on the title.
Mark Schultz's "Xenozoic Tales" was the next Artist's Edition announced, with the collection featuring last six issues of the acclaimed series. Mark Schultz joined Dunbier onstage, introduced as, "The Gary Cooper of modern comics," for not believing he deserves the honor of a special edition book on his work. The 14" x 20" book will be released by next year's CCI. "The best artists are always the most humble," Dunbier said of Schultz's reaction.
The last of the new Artist's Edition announcements was for "MAD," the classic satirical series published by EC Comics, though IDW had to work with current "Mad Magazine" publisher DC Comics for the collection. The 15" x 22" collection is currently set for approximately 160 pages, but if Dunbier gets his way, it will reach 176 pages, "This is what I'm most excited about," he said. The collection will focus on the Harvey Kurtzman-edited era, with stories by Wally Wood, Jack Davis and more. The new book will be released in December of this year.
Repeatedly asked by fans his personal picks for future Artist's Editions, the editor shared many classic runs he would like to see receive his special treatment. His personal picks include Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson's "Manhunter," Neal Adams' DC Comics work that the artist had inked himself and anything by Jack Kirby. Besides getting permission from the artist, however, a common problem faced in putting these collections together is whether or not any of the original art is still available, as many artists sell their work for extra cash or simply lose it over time.
Asked if any artists have declined IDW's interest in packaging their work in this format, Dunbier responded, "Jaime Hernandez turned me down." Telling the story of one "well-known writer" who had turned him down before getting in touch with him to develop the project at a later date, Dunbier told the audience to bug Hernandez if they want to see a "Love and Rockets" Artist's Edition any time soon.