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.