So – were you one of the fans of Matt Wagner’s Grendel who ordered the limited edition hardcover edition of Batman vs. Grendel…and didn’t get it?
You’re not alone.
The book, which retails for $99.95 was significantly over-ordered, and as a result, went into Diamond’s allocation system. End of story – lots of people went without.
While we’re not bringing news of everyone finding a copy, Matt Wagner has dropped is a line to point out how one dedicated fan can get one (with a sweet extra, to boot) and support a good cause.
Wagner has donated one of his Artist’s Proof copies to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund for auction on ebay, and has added in a fully painted original sketch showing Batman and Hunter Rose inside the front cover of the volume. Click above to see the art.
We spoke with Wagner about the volume and the auction.
Newsarama: So Matt - explain what happened here - 300 copies were printed, but
more than 300 people wanted them?
Matt Wagner: Predicting on earlier sales of similar items, Dark Horse set the print run for this limited hardcover edition of Batman vs. Grendel at 300 signed and numbered copies. Unfortunately, the final orders for this edition came in at twice that amount resulting in severe copy allocation to the various retail stores based on...um, however it is that Diamond decides to do that. So, again unfortunately, that left quite a few people who had pre-ordered this book unable to purchase the item due to the fact that their local store might have been one of those that didn't receive any copies in the allocation process.
All of which left me feeling like I ought to contribute something towards trying to help at least some of these people get their hands on a copy of the book. So, Grendel editor Diana Schutz and I managed to wrangle some volumes of both Artist's Proof and Publisher's Print copies out some of the very generous souls at Dark Horse, which amounted to about a half a dozen extra copies. These were offered to the members of the Message Boards on my web-site (mattwagnercomics.com) and the first responders were able to obtain one of these copies for a generous donation to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund of $150. Now, that's more than the actual retail price of the signed and numbered copies ($99.95) but, again these were both A/P and P/P editions and so, we felt justified in asking for a larger donation to secure one of these even more limited volumes. Ever since the book hit the stands, copies of the signed and numbered editions have been selling on ebay and commanding prices in the $300--500 range so, again, these were quite a bargain.
But, additionally, I wanted to offer up something special for those who of my readers aren't regular posters on my boards and so I ended donating one of my own private copies to also benefit the Fund. This one will be available to anyone who wants to place a bid.
NRAMA: What’s the story behind this copy? An artist's proof? Does that mean extra-mint condition, or just one of the very early editions of the print run?
MW: Every time there's a limited edition of anything (books, prints, statues, etc...) there are always extra editions that exist outside the regular, numbered print run and are known as Artist's Proof copies. This is done so that the various people involved in the production of the piece (the artist, publishers, etc...) can have private copies of the limited edition and yet not cut into the amount of pieces that are available to the public at large. In the case of books, there are often also Publisher's Print copies that are sometimes distributed to the V.I.P.s within the company itself.
Normally, I don't sell any of the complimentary copies of my own work that I regularly receive; I tend to hold on to these for the purpose of giving them away to both family and friends. But, in this case, I made an exception. And, as described below, I also decided to add an extra special something to this volume by doing a color sketch on the insde front cover and first page of the book.
I'm always happy to help contribute to the CBLDF and support the vital and important work that they do. In this case, I also hope that this auction makes one very lucky collector of my work especially happy as well.
NRAMA: As readers know, the Gordon Lee case has been dismissed, so you’ve got the cynics asking why should people to both supporting the CBLDF again…so…why?
MW: Even though the Fund scored a major victory recently in their successful defense of the Gordon Lee case, the challenges they take on in our name are faced each and every day. Even in these modern times, the forces that would like to repress and hamper our precious Freedom of Speech are constantly on the move and the CBLDF boldly marches out to confront these hurdles like the true heroes that all we comic fans so admire.
Click on the link above to view the auction.