> MarvelMasterworks.com Home


Interview with Masterworks editor Cory Sedlmeier

ME: The early solicits for the ltd. edition Masterworks show a lot of skipping around, i.e. FF Vol. 1 and 3, but no mention of Vol. 2. Why is this? Also, am I to assume that Vol. 2 of FF will come out sometime between 1 and 3? Or is that not a safe assumption?

CORY: The production on these books is complex to say the least. It's most efficient for us on all fronts to print them in sets based on page counts. You'll notice that all of these volumes are either 256 or 240 pages, hence the apparent "skipping." We are absolutely dedicated to getting all 32 titles in print by March '04.

ME: The solicits for the Ltd. Ed. also have definitive ship dates for the books. Are the regular versions going to come out that same day as well?

CORY: Both the regular and the variant editions are scheduled to ship the same day.

ME: One of the early solicits for the Ltd. Ed. variant DJs is Thor Vol. 3, which came out solely in the ComicCraft DJ. Can you please reiterate that this volume, which never was part of the "original 27" will indeed be receiving the Ltd. Ed. variant DJ treatment? If so, I think this is mighty cool on your part!

CORY: This is true,it's getting the variant marble/foil treatment in addition to our stylish silver and black mainline design, and I'm glad you dig it.

ME: Will the Ltd. Ed. DJ's have the original 27 number coding on the spine (Incredible Hulk was Vol. 8, for instance.) If so, how will you number the "other 5" books that will receive the "original 27" DJ for the first time?

CORY: All of the variants will have the same 1-27 numbering as their original printing counterparts. The 5 volumes that followed after the original run will drop into this system based on their original release date (i.e. FF #51-60, Ann. #4 will be Vol. 28 all the way to Sub-Mariner as Vol. 32).

ME: When the 70's X-Men books are printed, what numbering system are you going to use for them? Will they start at 1 and be called Uncanny X-Men? Will they also have the $39.99 price point the Hulk has, since they are slimmer volumes?

CORY: This is one of the items I rolled over in my head for quite a while. Ultimately, I thought it best to separate the X-Men Masterworks into two separate tracks both because of the difference in content and to avoid having a confusing Vol. 4-6 gap between the volumes in print. What we'll now have are Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men Vols. 1-3 (#1-31) and Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men Vols. 1-3 (GS#1, #94-121).

All volumes 208 pages and under will have a reduced price point of $39.99, so that's Hulk, Uncanny X-Men 1-3 and Iron Man.

ME: Will the remastered edition of Sub-Mariner correct the "Dardevil" misspelling gaffe? Will the contents of that book be the same, with the reprint of Marvel Comics #1 and DD #7 included? I suppose a better way to ask that question might be: what are the biggest "remastering" changes fans can expect to see in these 32 books?

CORY: Daredevil will no longer be The Man Without Spellcheck, I assure you, and the contents will remain exactly the same. The only difference will be that I was able to have the cover to Marvel Comics #1 reconstructed, so it will be run full-size in this printing. (Remastering changes will include) long-unseen additions, extensive archival recoloring and bonus extras.

ME: Finally, the question you may get tired of hearing: how soon after the "remaster" project can fans expect to see new volumes produced? Have you given any thought at all to what 2004 might be like as far as a Masterworks production schedule? And it's always been an assumption of mine that Iron Man Vol. 2 was done and ready to be released, but nixed at the final minute. Is this true?

CORY: New volumes! You'll put me in my grave at a young age! Right now our energies are focused on getting all 32 titles, 32 variant covers and 5 B&N titles out with the most care and attention to detail as possible. Once we've moved this 8,000 page plus project (the largest single initiative we've ever undertaken) off our plate, we can start thinking new volumes.

On Iron Man Vol. 2, the answer is no. This title was in the preliminary planning stages only. We had determined the contents and assessed the status of materials but that is all.

Interview with Masterworks editor Cory Sedlmeier

ME: I posted the results of our first interview on the website and message board, and it's playing VERY well with the people. Marvel's approval rating is gaining!

CORY: I'm glad to hear that you've seen such a positive response. I know the Masterworks fans can be a critial bunch (they love their books, I don't blame them!), so to hear that they're all praise is more than I could have asked for.

ME: Some folks are worried about Masterworks not being shipped shrinkwrapped. Are the books going to be manufactured shrinkwrapped?

CORY: All of our hardcovers, both oversized format and Masterworks, will be shrinkwrapped.

ME: Is there any chance Marvel will be producing a set of only dustjackets. I am pretty sure there is a 100% chance of "no" being the answer, but it would help if there was a definitive statement.

CORY: There are no plans at present to do a separate run of dustjackets only, and one thing to consider about such a prospect is that it would be amazingly difficult to pull off. You're dealing with books that are almost twenty years old, with paper stocks that may no longer be available, and with a dozen other variables that are extremely difficult to account for. The solution of offering a line of variant editions both offers up what our diehard fans have demanded, and guarantees a top-notch level of quality. Masterworks fans might also be pleased to know that we're going all out on the binding for the relaunch of the line. The printer we're using just so happens to specialize in Smythe sewing, so we jumped on the opportunity and we're Smythe sewing the whole line.

ME: Many people are interested in Marvel's approach to coloring in the Masterworks. Some want a true representation of the limited color palette of the Silver Age, while others are interested to see Marvel attempt to use coloring techniques of today enhancing our favorite comics panels. A brief discussion on the coloring aspect of the Marvel Masterworks initiative would be greatly appreciated.

CORY: The majority of the Masterworks will return to print with the same coloring as seen in their original printing. We're able to do this through a process known as "copydot" where a pre-press house will scan the original films and create digital files from the original plates. It's not necessarily as easy it sounds, but the advantage to the process is that it allows us full-digital manipulation of the pages, as opposed to being restricted to the film 'as is.'

In certain instances the films for a given Masterworks volume hadn't been channeled through our copydot process, so I took the opportunity to have these volumes recolored. What I discovered as I researched the content for the entire Masterworks relaunch was that some of the original volumes were recolored without a glance at the original comics (ASM Vol. 1 and FF Vol. 1, for instance). If you've ever had the opportunity to see an original Amazing Fantasy #15 or Fantastic Four #1 there's a particular uniqueness to the coloring that clicks in a such an essential and vibrant fashion that you'll never want to see it any other way. It's not like FF#1's are just laying around the offices, though. Ultimate Office Editor, Ralph Macchio, was kind enough to loan me his original copies to scan as guides for digital recoloring, and we were off.

This dovetailed, much to my surprise, into the discovery that volumes were missing pages, had pinups associated with the wrong issues, annuals placed in the wrong volumes, incorrect captions from reprint editions, etc. I'm of the mind that the Masterworks should strive to represent the original reading experience as much as possible, so it I found it was time to reassess the entire line.

As a result of the superb recoloring efforts of Digital Chameleon and Transparency Digital, the new printings of Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 and Fantastic Four Vols. 1-5, will be presented fully-recolored off of the original issues for the first time in forty years.

FF Vol. 1 will now feature every single pinup; some of which have never been reprinted. Amazing Fantasy #15 has Spidey's eyes bugging out on the last page along with a promo caption for the next issue of Amazing Fantasy exactly like the original. We even restored the letters page promo ad from Amazing Spider-Man #1 and included it because it was too much fun to pass up. The biggest bonuses come with the first Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four Annuals. Each of these were wall-to-wall Ditko and Kirby, and with special thanks to our reconstruction-guru in the Bullpen, Pond Scum, we're restored every last page of original content to each annual. That's 72-pages of Ditko and 57-pages of Kirby, 30 of which have never seen reprint. How's that for incentive to check out the new editions?

ME: Next topic: Paper! Paper! Paper! What grade are ya'll using and why? Will it be the bright, super shiny paper finish that is difficult to read under a lamp? Many folks complained of a thick, wavy quality permeating last year's copies of Masterworks. Much of that waviness disappeared over time on the bookshelf, but how are you all approaching quality control of the paper in these library edition books?

CORY: The Masterworks will be printed on the standard paper used on all of Marvel's mainline oversized hardcovers.

The waviness that you mentioned is created by moisture absorption during the printing process. Our printers make every effort to reduce this to a bare minimum, but every now and again a book will elude their efforts.

ME: Will the Super-Sized Surfer volume (#19 reprinting Surfer Vol. 6-18, FF Ann. 5 backup) carry a heftier-than-$49.95 price point?

CORY: The decision was made to make an adjustment to the Silver Surfer volumes to avoid imposing an additional cost on the consumer. Silver Surfer Vol. 1 will now include issues #1-6 and the FF Annual #5 backup story, while Vol. 2 will include issues #7-18. This allowed us to create two volumes without crossing the boundary that would demand an increase in cover price. So what you have in the end is the same content for $10 less.

ME: Thanks again for your time....as the first human being from Marvel since Bob G left to make an effort to give concrete info about Masterworks to its constituents, you're rapidly gaining hero status on the message boards! Keep up the great work! One more thing...Yankees or Mets?

CORY: Is that even a question? Mets all the way, my friend, but only because the Dodgers left Brooklyn.

ME: Cory....the correct answer is "anyone BUT the Yankees or Mets!" I'm afraid that's the last we'll be hearing from ol' Cory. Sorry folks, but my loyalty to the grand ol' game of baseball supercedes informing you about the Masterworks based on information dispensed by...(shudder)....METS FANS!

ok...ok...maybe I'll get over it....spring training is right around the corner. By the time Masterworks start coming out, the Mets will be battling the Expos for last place and Bobby Valentine will be annoying the heck out of us on Baseball Tonight.

All cover images are courtesy of the Silver Age Marvel Comics Cover Gallery.

Website design by Doug Roberts and John Thomas. All images on this site are copyright of Marvel Comics. This site is for reference purposes and promotion of the Masterworks line of books as well as Marvel Comics and their properties.