Very basically, the Artist’s Edition format is a hardcover-bound facsimiles of original art at original size.
This format allows for people to simulate owning original art at a fraction of the cost of buying it.
There are a two things that muddies the basic definition.
- Publishers aside from IDW have their own names for theirs.
- IDW also started 3 other lines: Artifact, Artisan, and Portfolio.
Below is a chart I put together to explain the differences.
|Bound||Original Art @ Original Size||Original Art @ Reduced Size||Complete Story|
| Artist’s Edition (IDW)
Apex Edition (2000AD)
Archival Edition (Hermes Press)
Art Edition (Dynamite)
Curator’s Edition (Kitchen Sink Books/Dark Horse)
Gallery Edition (Dark Horse & DC/Graphitti Designs)
Original Art Archives (Genesis West)
Original Art Edition (Titan)
Studio Edition (Fantagraphics)
|Yes 1, 2, 3||No||Yes|
|Artifact Edition (IDW)|| Yes
|Artisan Edition (IDW)|| Yes
|Artist’s Edition Portfolio (IDW), Portfolios (various)|| No
|Yes 6||No||Sometimes 7|
- Exception: A minor amount of pages may be missing. In those cases, the publisher will replace with high-resolution scans or other versions of the art
- Exception: A few titles have art that is slightly reduced due to the vast size of the original art. To my knowledge, the exceptions are Charles M Schulz’s Peanuts Artist’s Edition and Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant Studio Edition.
- Mostly 12″x17″ or 15″x22″. However, the extremes are 9″x13″ and 17″x23.25″.
- Mostly 12″x17″.
- Wally Wood’s EC Comics and Dave Stevens’s Rocketeer do. I’m unsure if Jack Kirby’s Pencils & Inks and Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles do or not.
- Mostly 12″x18″.
- These portfolios contain full stories: Bernie Wrightson’s Muck Monster, Michael Golden’s G I Joe Yearbook, Neal Adams’s Thrill Kill, Russ Heath’s Yellow Heat, Walt Simonson’s Lawnmower Man. These portfolios do not contain full stories: EC Covers, Gabriel Rodriguez’s Locke Key, Gabriel Rodriguez’s Locke Key Cover, Walt Simonson’s Ragnarok, Wally Wood’s THUNDER Agents.