A famous collector Chips in…


The Dark Knight Returns Gallery Edition from Graphitti Designs and DC is due out 5/18 and every day for 13 days we’re presenting a page (sometimes two!) EXCLUSIVELY here at 13th Dimension.

The 13 x 20 book features hundreds of amazingly detailed pages scanned directly from Frank Miller and Klaus Janson’s original art.

For the full 13 DAYS OF THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS Gallery Edition Index, click here.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Dark Knight Returns Gallery Edition is that it was made possible through a whole raft of different collectors. It’s not like all of these pages were sitting in a pile somewhere in a closet.

No, Bob Chapman and his crew at Graphitti Designs had to track a lot of these pages down. And the owners of these pages have their own stories to tell about how they got them.

One of the best known of these collectors is Chip Kidd, book designer extraordinaire and owner of the most amazing private Batman collection I’ve ever seen. (Click here for that).

Chip Kidd and the Robin costume his mother made for him when he was a kid

Chip Kidd and the Robin costume his mother made for him when he was a kid

Chip, who, coincidentally, designed later collected editions of The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One for DC, was more than willing to tell me how he acquired two of the pages that were used in the Gallery Edition — and which hang on the wall of his Manhattan apartment.

The two pages are notable. The first page was the one that runs opposite to this famous splash page that’s now worth hundreds of thousands of dollars (which you can read about here).

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 10.58.28 PM

The second is from Batman’s climactic battle against the Joker later in the same issue.

And so, here’s not only the latest installment of 13 DAYS OF THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS GALLERY EDITION, here’s the finale of our recurring series THE CHIP KIDD INTERVIEWS:

Chip Kidd: I bought the first one pretty early on, in the late 1980s, at a comic con they used to have in NYC at a now-gone building off Columbus Circle called the Coliseum. There was an art dealer there (can’t at all remember who) who had a bunch of Dark Knight pages and related artwork, and even back then I knew that was extraordinary that anything from that series was even available.

I knew I had to buy something, but I was still in my early 20s at my entry-level publishing salary, so money was tight. I settled on that page because Batman and Robin were on it (though only in silhouette) and it was $425. I know, I know, but for me at that time it was a stretch.

I remember the dealer also had a full-page ad that Frank had drawn that was a version of the poster/book cover of a giant Batman standing behind a building with the Batsignal shining where his chest would be. That was a whopping $1,200 or something like that and I always remember wishing I could afford that one, but it just was out of my realm. I will be curious to see if it makes it into the gallery edition. (A version of it does. — Dan)


The other page is a much curiouser story. I got that one about a half-dozen years later. It was still before the Internet existed, which is key, because I saw it listed in the long-since-defunct Comics Buyer’s Guide. Anyway, there in a tiny ‘want ad’-style space in the back of the issue was a dealer who had a bunch of art to offer, and among them was something like “Dark Knight #3, Page 42” and then an incredibly low price next to it (I won’t be specific, but well under $1,000).

I thought it was either a typo or the guy was a liar, so I called him up at the number listed and we had a chat. He sounded credible and it turned out that he also had an “alternative” version of the Joker death page that was inked by Klaus Janson yet not used (apparently this happened a lot throughout the book, I don’t know the details, but Frank ended up inking the final page himself). (More on that soon, Batfans.Dan)

I turned that one down, which was also probably incredibly stupid, but regardless, I bought the fun house fight page and didn’t really believe it was legit until I received it in the mail. I was flabbergasted in the best possible way. Then, a year or two after that, before I knew Frank personally, I waited in line at Village Comics in NYC (also long gone) for over two hours to get him to personalize it for me. Which he did.


NEXT: The Joker gets ready for his big Late Night. Click here.

For the full 13 DAYS OF THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS Gallery Edition Index, click here.

For more from The CHIP KIDD INTERVIEWS, including his overall thoughts about The Dark Knight Returns, click here.

The 216-page Dark Knight Returns Gallery Edition, which lists for $175, will hit retailers 5/18 but you can also order it directly from Graphitti Designs. The company is also selling a signed, limited edition for $275. Click here for more info.

The image is even used on the main cover of the Gallery Edition.

Main cover


Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. 13 DAYS OF THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS Gallery Edition: Day 4 | 13th Dimension, Comics, Creators, Culture - […] NEXT: Chip Kidd’s two great pages in the book. Click here. […]
  2. 13 DAYS of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS Gallery Edition INDEX | 13th Dimension, Comics, Creators, Culture - […] DAY 5: Chip Kidd contributes two great pages — From Issue #3. Click here. […]

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