There's nothing like getting your hands on a deluxe, oversized hardcover edition of your favorite comic book packed with extras. To that end, Dark Horse has gone above and beyond to appease Black Hammer fans with a massive Library Edition that collects the first year's stories in Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston's anti-hero universe. The tome saw a limited release in comic book shops this past week but will get a major release from booksellers such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon on Dec. 11.
SYFY WIRE has an 11-page exclusive preview of some of that never-before-seen supplemental material, including old-school hero profile pages in retro "Who's Who" style; pin-ups by Ormston, David Rubin, Dustin Nguyen, Fabio Moon, Michael Allred, Emi Lenox, Nate Powell, Ray Fawkes, Matt Kindt, and Sharlene Kindt; and more.
Banished to the rural town of Spiral City, these old superheroes have been reduced to working on a farm, which, like some bizarre purgatory realm, they cannot escape. As they try to grasp at the heroes they once were and the powers they used to exhibit, something — or someone — is bringing them back together.
The 408-page Black Hammer Library Edition collects the first two volumes of Black Hammer and the Black Hammer: Giant Sized Annual, with eight pages of "Who's Who" drawn by Lemire, five pages from Ormston's sketchbook, cover sketches by Dustin Nguyen, and over 20 pages of high-resolution scans of Ormston's penciled art.
"The idea of having that whole first year as a story in one book — it’s kind of a dream to have a book like that all your own," Lemire tells SYFY WIRE. "I know for Dean, it was a real thrill to see his art printed in larger format. He threw in a lot of design stuff and some of his pencil artwork, too. It was a blast putting it together, especially with Dean re-doing the original Black Hammer cover but in oil paint. That’s a really cool idea that I think we’ll continue with future Library Editions as well. I’m really proud of it!"
The hardcover also has a dust jacket with spot varnishing and heavy page stock. The experience is a luxurious one, wherein first-time and repeat readers alike will notice little nuances with the increased size and in the story they might have previously missed when reading in installments.
Lemire explains why the series reads a little differently in this format: "When you’re reading monthly or even when split up into trades, there’s a lot of details or callbacks in the storytelling that, if you have a gap between issues, you might forget certain things or not catch them. I like the cohesive read and getting the whole story as one — well, that’s my preferred way of reading comics, for sure."
Black Hammer Library Edition reaches the mass book market on Dec. 11.