Frank Miller's Ronin Limited Signed and Numbered Gallery Edition

Script and art by Frank Miller (colouring by Lynn Varley). All material is ©Frank Miller and DC Comics. All illustrations are ©DC Comics. For a complete list of all books reviewed in this blog, please visit the index page.

This monster of a book (almost 9 kg) has been published by Graphitti Designs in its Gallery Edition line (it is listed as #2) under licence from DC Comics in April 2015, although it has been printed in December 2014 (ISBN: 978-1-4012-5457-5,  13.5 x 21 inches or 34 x 53 cm for the slipcase, $295). This limited signed edition (265 copies, mine being #40) comes with a sturdy debossed slipcase with debossed taped-spine (oddly it is not described as such on Graphitti Design website). This edition features an exclusive sequentially numbered page signed by Frank Miller. Notice that the illustration of the signature page is not featured in the regular editions (it was previously used for the slipcase back cover of the Absolute edition).

a zoom on the cardboard box label
the signature page

Below are pictures of the regular and variant cover editions produced by Graphitti Designs (both issued without the slipcase), and a pictures for size comparison with the Absolute slipcase edition
All versions feature the same content and share the same ISBN.

the regular cover edition that I used to own

the variant cover

The limited signed edition features the same dimension (13 x 20.5 inches or 33 x 51 cm, 328 pages) cover and back cover than the regular edition, but the spine building is different (debossed taped-spine). It has been printed on thick mat paper.

This Smyth-Sewn hardcover printed in China, has been designed by Brainchild Studios/NYC and edited by Bob Chapman. Below is a picture of the sturdy binding.

From now on, all pictures comes from the original article (regular edition), but these pictures would be identical with the signed edition.

Second and third of cover display the same mirroring illustration. After the credits pages and table of content, the book opens with a 2 pages introduction written by Dave Gibbons dated August 2014.
At the end of this introduction (enhanced below), is the section explaining Graphitti Designs process to produce this beautiful book (a true work of art).

The six 48 pages issues mini-series, including covers, are then presented in their original art form. Only 6 pages and three covers were not retrieved (bur are reproduced here in cleaned B&W scans, and referenced in the bottom of the corresponding page):
  • Issue #1: cover and pages 14, 15, 21 and 48
  • Issue #3, cover
  • Issue #5, pages 20 and 21
  • Issue #6, cover

Note that the last pages of issue #6 were originally printed on a wraparound form that has been kept here. And as a big bonus (that gives us an idea of the quality of the work of the people involved in the making of this book), the velum overlays used in the original art for coloring effects in pages 2,3,6 and 7 from issue II, and pages 44 and 45 in issue #4 have been also reproduced here on tracing paper. In my opinion Frank Miller's art explodes at your face in this edition, and it is like I had never read this story before (all due respect for Lynn Varley's original coloring). And on many occasions, anyone can spot where his Sin City style experimentation came from.

absolutely stunning art

page 2 from issue #2 without its velum overlay

page 2 and 3 from issue #2 without their velum overlays

the following picture shows this extra page printed here on tracing paper.. order to compare it with the final version (but here I have inserted a white page behind it) 

so many examples to show ...

Sin City is not far ...

..isn't it?

on the right the velum overlay that fits on the page on the left (issue #4, page 44)

the right page with its velum overlay on (issue #4, page 45)

corresponding pages from the Absolute edition

a feast for the eye

the art of storytelling

there is also a wraparound illustration on the back

And if it was not enough, Graphitti Designs have added two referenced original art illustrations. And that's all, but let's remember that the main part of this book, is an extra in itself (indeed excerpts from the original art were displayed in the bonus section of the Absolute edition).

left unfinished early version of page 23 from issue #1, right cover art from Anything Goes #2 (1986)

the last page

In addition to this article, and for more detailed insight about the reproduction quality, don't hesitate to read this Comic Book Daily review by Scott VanderPloeg.


  1. merci infiniment pour toutes ces infos et photos; difficile de resister à l'achat après cela (hormis le prix of course) effectivement cela m'a l'air bien plus intéressant a voir et lire dans cette édition que la régulière en couleur. J'attends maintenant le DarkKnight de miller au mois de mai maintenant !

    1. pareil, même si j'espère encore une sortie courant avril (d'après mes échanges avec le Graphitti Designs store).

    2. sortie confirmée par le store pour le 18 mai effectivement

  2. bon grace a votre blog j'ai franchis le pas et viens de le recevoir.....mazette ! quel poids !! superbe etr fabuleux objet; Graphitti Design tape fort ! plus beau encore que les idw. encore merci et continuez .

    1. il faut dire qu'ils ont une certaine expérience dans la belle édition, ils ont été les premiers fin des années 80 à réaliser des éditions limitées "deluxe" de comics. Bonne lecture de ce bijoux!

  3. Très belle éditions, félicitations.

    En regardant les photos, indéniablement, le N&B est ce qui va le mieux pour cette histoire (selon mes goûts en tout cas).

    Merci de nous faire partager ta collection.

  4. I was wondering, do you know of any other Black and White versions of Ronin? The linework look so much better this way, but i cant afford the Gallery Edition.

    1. Sadly there are no other editions in B&W.

  5. The "Limited Signed and Numbered" edition looks VERY nice! Especially when lined next to your other Gallery Editions!

    Is Deadman on your radar?

    1. No it is not. But I do like spine alignement too!

  6. are the signed editions still avaliable?

    1. Hi. Yes, they are still listed on Graphitti Designs webstore

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  8. Hello Vark!
    Great review. Would you go for Ronin or Batman Returns as a first choice ? Have you got Starstruck on your radar? It has got amazing art! :)

    1. Hi Martin.
      These are two of the bests artist's edition on the market in term of design, build and content. Story wise my first choice would be Batman Returns, but art wise it would be Ronin. Thus, as we are talking about this certain type of book, logically you should go for Ronin.
      For my part, the paradox is I go for these editions because of the writer/writing, hence even if I have seen the gorgeous art of
      Kaluta's Starstruck, for the time being I stick with my favorite writers (and my finances are happy for that!)

  9. haha fair enough ! I just had a in depth look at your Batman Review. I would like to clarify one thing. The difference between the standard edition and the limited one is limited to the spine, the signature and the slipcase, right?

  10. Hello! Art wise it does look amazing. Do you think it is worth it story wise? I've seen opinions are quite polarised!


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