IDW Publishing announced this weekend at WonderCon 2011 the release of a new hardcover collecting 7 issues of Walt Simonson‘s classic run on Marvel’s The Mighty Thor. The collection will be called Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: Artist’s Edition and will be out this July. The collection will feature issues #337-340 and #360-362 of Simonson’s run. These issues feature the debut of fan favorite character Beta Ray Bill. The collection, which will debut at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, will be 176 oversized (12″ x 17″) pages and will run you $100. [Update: Currently $73.03 at amazon.]
“I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to be able to do a book like this. Each page is shot from Walter Simonson’s original art and printed same size—really just too cool. Thanks to Marvel Entertainment for being so enthusiastic about this project from the start!,” said Scott Dunbier, IDW Special Projects Editor, in a statement released by the publisher.
While at WonderCon this weekend, Geeks of Doom’s Tom Cheredar spoke with AnnaMarie White, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for IDW, regarding how IDW was able to obtain the rights to publish the run.
“…because it’s actually not necessarily something that Marvel would do. It’s going to be probably a fairly small run and we’re such a small company that the projects are worthwhile for us, but they’re not something that Marvel looks for. The run is probably going to be under 5000 copies and it’s going to be a lot of effort to put the book together. It’s going to be a very large hardcover book and the art is scanned from the original art. One of our editors actually went to Walter’s house and gathered all the art with him and scanned the pages in and they’re going to be re-printed at actual size. That’s really what these books, the Artist Editions, are about showing people the original art in such amazing detail.”
When asked she confirmed that they had to get the license from Marvel, and then went to Walt Simonson to get the actual art.
IDW is saying that this is just the first in a series of Artist’s Editions featuring new collections of classic series of Marvel Comics material. The Artist Edition “format” as it were was actually launched last year when IDW reprinted Dave Steven’s Rocketeer series. IDW has also previously released older material originally published by Marvel Comics in the form of their Classic GI Joe and Transformers collections, but those feature licensed characters.
If this is the first in this line, I can’t wait to see what they may release next. IDW is currently reprinting John Byrne‘s Next Men series (originally published by Dark Horse) and I’m curious if some of his Marvel material (including his X-Men or Fantastic Four runs) could be the next in the Artist’s Edition line. When asked, White responded that there were no current plans for this, but that anything was possible.
I have seen some of IDW’s collections and they do a great job with them, so I think fans of the series will be in for a treat. I’ve have read the issues that will be collected here, and they deserve their place in the pantheon of the best Thor comics ever released, and if you’re a fan it sounds like you’re going to want to pre-order your copy as soon as you can.
Reporting by Tom Cheredar.