It was Scott Dunbier's idea originally, though he had to be fired from DC Comics before he could pursue it. The Artist's Edition format for IDW, in which the original art of a comic book is reproduced as accurately as possibly, down to the very boards they were printed on, allowing a collector to have as close to the same experience of owning the original art, and then published as a high end volume. IDW have put out many such volumes, from John Romita's Spider-Man to Sam Keith's Maxx to a line of EC Comics.
Recently Titan published their own Artist Edition, of the Walter Simonson art for the Alien adaptation.
And now Dynamite is getting in on the act. With what they are dubbing Art Editions. And at Baltimore Comic Con, they are announcing their first one, Frank Thorne's Red Sonja.
The volume will recreate the original art from all of Frank Thorne's Red Sonja appearances in the late seventies title Marvel Fanfare. The volume will only be printed once, with a maximum of 1973 copies. In PR, Thorne is quotes as saying "Dynamite's gorgeous, large-format Red Sonja Art Edition features complete reproductions of my Sonja stories in their original size. All the details of each page are seen exactly as I drew them."
One innovation that Dynamite is adding is introducing a new discount scheme for retailers. Originally the IDW books were created to be sold directly to consumers, bypassing stores. That changed and the books did gain a comic store distribution route, but at a significantly smaller wholesale discount than usual graphic novels. Dyanmite seems to be seeking to reverse that with their Dynamite Art Editions.
But even so, I do hope Dynamite sends Scott Dunbier a comp copy…