Chris Samnee’s Daredevil: Artist’s Edition HC ComicWow! Review

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IDW released this edition in coordination with Marvel.  This is another volume in their Artist’s Edition series.  IDW describes the Artist’s Editions as “a bold concept that to date has garnered five consecutive Eisner Awards in the category of Best Archival Project.” This is the perfect book for serious students of art and processes of comics; this volume is almost indispensable.

Chris Samnee is obviously well-known for his run on Daredevil, for which (in addition to his work on Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom), he received the 2013 Eisner Award for Best Penciller/Inker (shared with David Aja).  Before that, he received the 2006 Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award (for Capote in Kansas).  In 2013, his work on Daredevil was nominated for the National Cartoonist Society Award for Comic Book. He is also a winner of both the Harvey Award (Most Promising New Talent) for his work on Thor: The Mighty Avenger.

Samnee’s work with Waid is widely held as one of the best runs Daredevil has had in recent years.  This volume will not feature the work as a final comic.  This Artist’s Edition covers Daredevil #23-27 in exquisite depth and detail. This two-book release will delve into Samnee’s creative process as an illustrator. One of the volumes is a softcover (TPB) of Mark Waid’s scripts. These scripts will include Samnee’s thumbnail sketch/breakdowns. The other volume is a hardback, containing Samnee’s original art and the final layouts as well.

This presents the student of comic art a fascinating insight into the process of this artist.  What does he think when he reads the script?  How does that initial vision turn into artwork?  How does that artwork turn into the final layout?

If a reader just wants to read the comics, these issues are available in other formats (Daredevil Volume 5), but that is not the purpose of this truly special edition.  This is for serious students of the artistic process of the graphic storyteller.

Although Samnee is an artist of great ability and accomplishment, his talent does not yet appear to have peaked.  While his body of work is truly deserving not only of the awards he has received (and will likely continue to earn), but also of the study that special editions like this will surely engender, he gives no indication of having reached his peak.  In truth, comparing his longevity to other artists, Samnee will likely have 20-40 more years of productive work.  Hopefully, IDW will choose to revisit his work in this depth again in the future.

Introduction by: Mark Waid

Illustrated by: Chris Samnee

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