NYCC EXCLUSIVE: IDW Announces "Watchmen," "New Gods" Artist's editions

IDW Publishing today announced the latest additions to its line of prestige format collections: "Jack Kirby's New Gods: Artist's Edition" and "Dave Gibbons' Watchmen: Artifact Edition." IDW's Artist Editions mimic the look and feel of original art by scanning originals at a high resolution and in color, and printing them on paper similar to what the art was drawn on. The result gives the experience of owning classic original art without having to shell out thousands of dollars for it.

IDW special projects editor Scott Dunbier spoke with CBR News during New York Comic Con about the latest additions to its Artist's Edition line, revealing the contents of each book, how involved Dave Gibbons will be with the project and what the estate of Jack Kirby thinks. Plus CBR has an exclusive video of Gibbons explaining why he's so excited about the project.

CBR News: How did "New Gods" and "Watchmen" wind up as the newest additions to the Artist's Edition line-up?

Scott Dunbier:It's something that we've been working towards for a very long time. As the Artist's Edition line has expanded and evolved into what it is today, it was very clear that there was a hole, at least to me -- and that was DC Comics. We'd been doing nice stuff with Marvel, and some nice stuff with the EC estate, as well as creator-owned projects, but I was a DC guy when I was a kid and I always wanted to include them. Greg Goldstein was instrumental in making this happen, he's the president of IDW and also a big DC fan. Our good friends at DC have been extremely supportive in this process, much thanks to all of them! Honestly, I could not be happier to announce these books.

What will "Jack Kirby's New Gods: Artist's Edition" contain?

"Jack Kirby's New Gods" will feature five issues: 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8. They're really prime-time issues for the series. It's really amazing work, larger than life stuff -- incredible stories and art. When I was a kid, Jack Kirby was one of my favorite artists. He blew my mind when I was 10 years old. And I don't think it is hyperbole when I say he's the most important artist to ever draw comic books. It's the truth.

Moving over to "Watchmen," I noticed this book is sub-titled Artifact Edition. What's the difference?

"Watchmen" (like I need to tell anyone) is something very special in comics -- no other series has even come close to receiving the praise that has been heaped upon it, and deservedly so. When Dave first approached me about doing a book like this I knew it could not be a traditional Artist's Edition -- too many of the originals had been scattered to the four corners of the globe, we could not do complete stories. But the work is just too damn good to not do a book like this! So I decided to try something a little different -- it looks like an Artist's Edition, it feels like an Artist's Edition, it's the same quality of reproduction as an Artist's Edition, but it's just a little bit different. It will collect individual pages and covers, and be called an Artifact Edition. So it's not an Artist's Edition, per se, but you still get to see all that beautiful Dave Gibbons "Watchmen" art in its rawest form.

How involved is Dave Gibbons with "Watchmen: Artifact Edition?"

Dave, as I said, actually approached me about it initially. He's a big fan of the Artist's Edition series and he emailed me and said it'd be great to do a "Watchmen" book. I said, "Well, yeah, Dave but it'll be tough," and he said, "C'mon, Scott, you can make it happen." [Laughs] Easy for HIM to say!

Are you working with the Jack Kirby Estate on "New Gods?"

I've been in touch with the Jack Kirby estate. I definitely wanted to reach out to them and let them know what we were planning. I sent them a copy of the Gil Kane Spider-Man Artist's Edition so they could see the kind of book it would be, and they were very pleased with what they saw and are supportive of the project.

When will these books be released?

The "Jack Kirby's New Gods" book will be out in March. The "Watchmen" book by Dave Gibbons will be out later in the year, but it hasn't been scheduled yet.

How big is the Artist's Edition team over at IDW?

I pretty much conceive the books from front to back and find the art. Design is by the great Randy Dahlk. Ted Adams and Greg Goldstein have been invaluable in helping pull deals together. Oh, and can't forget Mike Ford -- he's the guy who ships them all out to people who order from our website!

You mentioned your love of DC Comics earlier and how you've wanted to work with them for a while. Are there any proper DC superhero books you'd like to turn into Artist's Editions down the line?

Sure, plenty, but I'm superstitious, don't want to jinx anything. Lets just say that there are plenty of DC books I would love to play with!

What's next for the Artist's Edition line?

Just doing the best books we can -- that's what it's all about, right?

"Jack Kirby's New Gods: Artist's Edition" and "Dave Gibbons' Watchmen: Artifact Edition" hit shelves next year from IDW Publishing.

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