Thursday, September 19, 2013

Oh The Anger: Genesis West's Red Nails - Artist's Edition

As I hold in my hands the Genesis West Artist's Edition of Red Nails, I find that i had misgivings about certain aspects of the packaging: The one sided pages, the glossy paper used, the unnecessary slipcase, but it did not occur to me just how much this would be discussed, with such anger, online.

I should have known better.

This is what the internet is made for. And never suffer a geek, whether sci fi or comic or fantasy, not given what they want, especially if you get really, really, REALLY close to what they want. (Mos Eisley is no longer a one horse town? great, but do i have to have Han shoot second to get the bigger town? Really?)

Case in point here are the rise of the artist's editions by IDW. Never, in my life, would i have thought that anyone would get their hands on the art, get the money to reproduce comic art full size, and get enough buyers to actually not go bankrupt producing that book. Clearly I was wrong. Ever, happily, oh so wrong. That first Simonson one took me, and I think, a lot of folks by surprise. After all, someone was actually taking a chance of catering to a fairly niche market. And it worked. Yay for us.

There is a charm to the original art that, I thought, only came across when you were holding the originals in your hands, looking at the margin notes and the erasures and white-outs, and i certainly didn't think that many of us had that gene. IDW has proved me wrong on that account.

Now lets be very upfront on this: if this book doesn't come out, you and I NEVER EVER will see the Red Nails originals. And I seen and held a lot of original art, more than most, since i started collecting originals back in 1989. We would, NEVER, get to see this artwork full size in original form. So, I kept that in mind when i slipped the book out of its case.

Now, i do have some of the IDW books, and I do like that format. I don't think that the glossy paper is ideal, but its OK when you get down to it. Partly this book just suffers from IDW delivering so much bang for the buck with regards to production values and their choice of material. We've gotten used to seeing artwork on bristol and it looks "like is should". So, no, its not the ideal format in my mind, but its OK in every aspect other than the non-facing pages.

Slipcase I really don't want? Glossy paper? Borders to the artwork? Fine. But do not, on any other editions, give me one piece of artwork with nothing on the back. Its a huge waste of space and money and that is the one thing that would stop me from getting another Genesis West book. Yes, I bought this, and will love having it, but you're not getting my money again without that adjustment. This book, with facing pages, should have been "Song of Red Sonja" and Rednails and the piece that Barry did for the Marvel 1975 Calendar and then we'd be talking something worth the money.


Alex Sheikman said...

I was one of the people who somehow got sucked into the debate...I made an innocent comment on one of the boards about the fact that even if the pages do not "feel" like originals, that is OK by me, because I am more interested in seeing the best possible reproduction rather than have the "feel" of Bristol. Oh man alive! I was acused of working for Genesis West and being someone from their sale's department and trying to sell their books...

I agree with all of your points, except one: the price of the book. I know that IDW can put out 100 page book and charge $100, so we got used to paying $1 or $1.5 for a page of reproduced art. Pretty good deal. Gil Kane, Walter Simonson, John Romita Sr, Kubert, and even Dave Stevens...but Bernie Wrightson's 8 page Muck Monster was $40 (I think), which would make it a $5 a page book. And how much money does it take to bring vintage Barry Windsor Smith out into thsi format? At $160 for 58 pages, it's $2.75 per page. I can live with that...I would not pay that for certain artist, but Berni Wrigthson, Barry Windsor Smith, and Michael Golden.....

Shawn Harrington said...

Can one of you - Alex, or the original poster - comment on the ink shades in this book? Can you see lighter and darker shades on ink in the spotted blacks, or around figures? My beef with the IDW editions is that you really can't see any variations in the inks, which are very visible on original art and computer scans of that art. Compare the WhatIfKirby scans to the Kirby New Gods AE and you'll see what I mean - I hope! How does the Red Nails book do in this regard?

inkdestroyedmybrush said...

@shawn - the reproduction really gives you all the light and dark fo the ink shades, and all the blue line and correction. you can certainly see the difference between the grain on the orignal bristol and the color and smoothness of the white out. In that regard, it is excellent. the outrage against the slick paper is that it has a light reflective quality that the regular bristol doesn't have, that's more the issue. great scanning and printing.