Script by Alan Moore, art (including lettering) by Dave Gibbons, all material is ©DC Comics.
Published by IDW in July 2014 (ISBN: 978-1-63140-030-8, 12.5 x 17.3 inches or 31,5 x 44 cm, 500$ for 144 pages) this book is printed on thick mat paper and is really not the regular version of this edition (see also the end of this article). This painfully limited edition (25 copies), featuring a variant cover (from the Mayfair game) was sold at an event held during SDCC 2014 in the presence of Dave Gibbons.
The artist personally did a sketch in each of the 25 books as they were presented to guests. My copy is a second hand one sold on Ebay in July 2015 with a Night Owl sketch, signed and hand numbered #14/25. Notice that the spine and back cover are also exclusive to this edition.
The picture below is for size comparison with issue #6 of the original series and the DC Absolute edition. Content of the book is identical to the regular version.
Second and third of cover feature different illustrations. This edition, referenced as Artifact Edition #1, has been designed by Randall Dahlk and edited by Scott Dunbier. The book is introduced by Dave Gibbons himself on two pages on how he sold his pages back in the days (before they appreciate in value a hundredfold in twenty years). Below there's also a picture displaying the table of content of the main part of this book.
|second of cover|
|third of cover|
|Dave Gibbons introduction|
As it can be clearly seen above, just 98 out of 336 pages of the original series are printed here, hence the "Artifact" line denomination. Note that these pages have been inked, lettered and cleaned by the artist himself back in 1986-1987, before he handed the pages for coloring. I will try to add at the end of this article pictures of missing pages I have found on the net.
The additional materials section runs on 45 pages, featuring some covers (5 out of 12), the entire French Watchmen colored portfolio, promotional art and John Higgins color guides (and many more never before seen illustrations). Here is the detailed table of contents:
|2 of the 6 virgin covers commissioned for Zenda French edition|
|Watchmen Mayfair Games Art|
|color guides by John Higgins|
|left: watchmen page 0|
|Left Paul Hudson 's ledger book excerpts where he kept track of Gibbons art sales|
- This is the regular edition, formerly in my possession (notice the different spine and back cover):
|excerpt of the sticker on the IDW cardboard box|
- This Artifact Edition was also (only) advertised online with that cover:
- A variant edition (different cover, and probably different spine and back cover) was produced for the SDCC 2014 convention (sold for 125$):
To finish this article I will try to list missing pages and covers that can be seen on the net (it's an ongoing section):
Issue #1, page 28-29
Issue #5, page 4
Issue #6, page 14
Issue #8, page 5
Issue #9, page 20
... one to go.
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.