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4/25/2015

Frank Miller's Ronin Gallery Edition

Script and art by Frank Miller (occasional colouring by Lynn Varley). All material is ©Frank Miller and DC Comics.







This monster of a book (almost 9 kg) has been published by Graphitti Designs in its Gallery Edition line (it is listed as #2) under licence from DC Comics in April 2015, although it has been printed in December 2014 (ISBN: 978-1-4012-5457-5, 13 x 20.5 inches or 33 x 51 cm, $195, 328 pages). It is printed on thick mat paper. My copy is one of the regular cover edition, and it fits in a protective labelled cardboard box.  The variant edition displayed below features the exact same content for the same price (so I guess with the same printing run). Notice that Graphitti Designs have advertised a signed edition on their website (for $295 without any specific description thus I figure it is a regular edition additionally signed by Miller).




This Smyth-Sewn hardcover printed in China, is edited by Bob Chapman and has been designed by Brainchild Studios/NYC. Below is a picture displayed for size comparison with the Absolute Edition (yes it kind of look very small), and another regarding the sturdy binding.




Second and third of cover display the same mirroring illustration. After the credits pages and table of content, the book opens with a 2 pages introduction written by Dave Gibbons dated August 2014.
At the end of this introduction (enhanced below), is the section explaining Graphitti Designs process to produce this beautiful book (a true work of art).









The six 48 pages issues mini-series, including covers, are then presented in their original art form. Only 6 pages and three covers were not retrieved (bur are reproduced here in cleaned B&W scans, and referenced in the bottom of the corresponding page):

  • Issue #1: cover and pages 14, 15, 21 and 48
  • Issue #3, cover
  • Issue #5, pages 20 and 21
  • Issue #6, cover

Note that the last pages of issue #6 were originally printed on a wraparound form that has been kept here. And as a big bonus (that gives us an idea of the quality of the work of the people involved in the making of this book), the velum overlays used in the original art for coloring effects in pages 2,3,6 and 7 from issue II, and pages 44 and 45 in issue #4 have been also reproduced here on tracing paper. In my opinion Frank Miller's art explodes at your face in this edition, and it is like I had never read this story before (all due respect for Lynn Varley's original coloring). And on many occasions, anyone can spot where his Sin City style experimentation came from.












absolutely stunning art

page 2 from issue #2 without its velum overlay

page 2 and 3 from issue #2 without their velum overlays

the following picture shows this extra page printed here on tracing paper..

..in order to compare it with the final version (but here I have inserted a white page behind it) 


so many examples to show ...




Sin City is not far ...

..isn't it?

on the right the velum overlay that fits on the page on the left (issue #4, page 44)

the right page with its velum overlay on (issue #4, page 45)

corresponding pages from the Absolute edition

a feast for the eye





the art of storytelling

there is also a wraparound illustration on the back



And if it was not enough, Graphitti Designs have added two referenced original art illustrations. And that's all, but let's remember that the main part of this book, is an extra in itself (indeed excerpts from the original art were displayed in the bonus section of the Absolute edition).

left unfinished early version of page 23 from issue #1, right cover art from Anything Goes #2 (1986)

the last page


In addition to this article, and for more detailed insight about the reproduction quality, don't hesitate to read this Comic Book Daily review by Scott VanderPloeg.