One of the more desirable exclusives of San Diego Comic-Con – especially for the dedicated fan of the Con itself – is the yearly SDCC Souvenir Book. Over the years, a collective of the best artists on the planet have adorned the cover… But this year is something a bit special: Batman’s 75th Anniversary. And that deserves a very special artist.
DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee has drawn Batman many times throughout his career and you’d hope that he would knock it out of the park again for The Dark Knight’s birthday bash. What do you think, has he managed to pull it off?
Yup, we think so, too!
Coloured by Alex Sinclair, the cover is actually a rare piece of work: both pencilled AND inked by Lee. With the Dark Knight, first appearing in detective Comics – Issue #27, back in 1939, in case you didn’t know – DC Comics are planning a massive season of events to celebrate Batman’s big birthday bash and this cover is the cherry on top of the cake.
But, as Comic-Con International remind us in the official announcement for the cover, 2014 is also a memorable year in Batman’s rich history for a number of other reasons:
• It’s the 100th birthday of writer Bill Finger who wrote many of the character’s adventures, from the earliest stories through the 1960s, and is responsible for such additions to the Bat-legend as Commissioner Gordon, the Batcave, the Batmobile, Gotham City, and Alfred, plus some of the Dark Knight’s most infamous villains. Finger is the namesake of the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing, given each year at Comic-Con since 2005;
• It’s the 50th Anniversary of the “New Look” Batman, which started in 1964 under editor Julius Schwartz and including artist Carmine Infantino’s interpretation of the Caped Crusader, which saved Detective Comics from possible cancellation;
• And it’s the 25th Anniversary of Tim Burton’s Batman movie, which brought the character back to a whole new audience, in a new—and much darker—form.
Comic-Con International to on to tease that the cover will also be adorning the chests of those lucky people that manage to buy one of this years SDCC t-shirts – not entirely surprising as the Souvenir Book artwork is usually selected to appear on the yearly tees. However, as the last couple of years have proved, the ‘limited edition’ shirts have come in a variety of guises so expect some more fantastic artwork to come: more on that news when it drops.
The Comic-Con International post, as part of their Toucan Blog on the official website goes on to describe what attendees can expect to find within the pages of this years publication:
“This year’s Souvenir Book—a 224-page full-color trade paperback given free to all Comic-Con attendees, while supplies last—features a long section devoted to the Caped Crusader, and includes articles by Michael Uslan (executive producer of all the Batman films since 1989), Paul Levitz (writer/editor and former DC Comics president and publisher), Marc Tyler Nobleman (author of Bill the Wonder Boy: The Secret Co-creator of Batman), Todd Klein (Eisner Award-winning letterer and designer), and more. The book also features salutes to Marvel Comics’ 75th anniversary, Daredevil’s 50th, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ 30th, Usagi Yojimbo’s 30th, Hellboy’s 20th, and much, much more. It’s the kind of keepsake book you’ll want to take home with you to read again and again. The CCI 2014 Souvenir Book is available only onsite at Comic-Con to registered attendees.”
I feel that this fantastic cover doesn’t quite top last years incredible Sandman cover – what can I say, it’s Gaiman so I’m biased! – but, c’mon: it’s pretty bloody close! Imagine how well it would sell as a poster, available at the Con. See, CCI? Missing a trick there, guys…