Walter Mosley, the award winning Mystery and Science Fiction novelist, worked with Marvel to come up with the idea behind there upcoming Fantastic Four coffee table book. According the ICV this will be the first time that Marvel has produced on its own. ICV also mentioned that Maximum Fantastic Four will feature the entire first issue of Fantastic Four, but with each page of book containing a single panel of art.
This page would be four pages in Maximum Fantastic Four
The book will be available at amazon, local bookstores, and my local comic shop.
I personally think this is an awesome idea. While I am firmly rooted in the comic books are for entertainment school, I am also deeply appreciative when individuals take the time to display the genuine artistry of the comic medium. Those of you familar with my comments on Cathy Seipp's blog about Aristotle's purposes of poetry "to educate and delight" will not be surprised by this. I think too many "comicerati" focus on books that challenge us and forget how important the entertainment aspect of comics is. Yes some comics should challenge us, yes some should even challenge us in unexpected ways, but sometimes kids (and I) just want to see Batman solve the crime.
For those who have interest outside the artistic appreciation of the FF, I recommend the Fantastic Four Omnibus Volume 1 HC. It is much less expensive than the original issues and can be purchased at amazon, your local bookstore, or my local comic shop.
As I noted in this previous blog post, comic books often get short shrift when it comes to respect for the artistic value of their content. By blowing up the individual panels to coffee table book sized images readers will really be able to absorb what Jack Kirby accomplished on a regular basis. In the above linked post I compared Lichtenstein's work to that of Russ Heath (good short article here and good Comic Book Artist Interview Here)and Irv Novick to put the Pop Artist into perspective. I have always been one of those who hoped that Pop Art would have elevated people's opinion of comics as a medium, but it seems to have failed in this regard and in fact created an opposite effect. That effect being that comics are abandoning their core concepts (narrative and artistic norms) in an attempt to "become" art. But I think these "artiste" comics are often less artistic than the main stream.