Lot 279 of 340:
Ultra-Rare COMPLETE RAW Boxed Hardcover Ltd Ed. 1/10 Copies  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$2,040
$2,000 - $3,000

The Complete RAW Volume One Boxed Set Limited Edition: One of Ten Copies

Spiegelman, Art

Phoenix, AZ

Optics Press



Large solander box in grey buckram with color paper spine label, housing the following contents in the main compartment and three recessed cavities: A heavy folio volume quarterbound in blue and mustard buckram and red goat leather with paper spine labels (comprising the main body of RAW magazine); An octavo volume quarterbound in grey buckram and black goat leather with paper spine label (comprising the RAW magazine inserts); Eight "City of Terror" cards by Mark Beyer; A "Reagan Speaks for Himself" CD. The slipcase is in excellent condition with a small bump to the bottom edge of the front panel; the two books, cards and CD are all in excellent, as-new condition.

Limited Edition: No. 4 of 10 copies. This is the only complete collected edition of RAW vol. 1 (RAW vol. 2 was issued by Penguin Books in a series of three small paperback books). The colophon page states: "This edition of The Complete RAW Volume 1 was designed and hand-bound... using only the highest quality materials. Strictly limited to 10 copies, each book is signed and numbered by the binder."

"RAW clearly set out to challenge the traditional hierarchy between fine art, comics and graphic illustration....

"RAW [was] a meticulously designed and printed oversize magazine of graphic art, one of the finest anthologies of comic art ever published. It was distinguished by its witty, self-aware explorations of the comics format, both in its reprints of European and Japanese comics and in its publication of eccentric and visionary American comics by Gary Panter, Charles Burns, Sue Coe, Kaz, Mark Beyer, and many others." -John Carlin, Masters of American Comics [Yale University Press: 2005].

The Complete RAW is the best-printed, best-produced, best-bound comics-related publishing effort ever realized. It exists on a plane entirely by itself; there is nothing similar to compare it to in the world of comics, as it partakes of an entirely different printing and binding tradition altogether, that of the fine press. The set was created by the Optics Press as a personal passion project of the printer. No expense was spared, in money or effort, in the creation of this set. The printer, a third-generation bookbinder, was motivated by the desire to own a deluxe hardbound RAW set, without intention to profit. Upon completion of ten copies, he retained one for himself, reserved one for Art Spiegelman, and sold the remaining eight for just enough money to cover his production expenses.

The folio contains all eight issues of the original run of RAW magazine, meticulously reproduced by the printer, who noticed that printing quality varied between different copies of the same issues of RAW. He selected the best target material from multiple copies, and then tweaked them as needed, using three generations of printer savvy, in order to create a reprint that somehow looks even better than the original. The binding is sewn with a modified whip-stitch, which provides the strongest stitch for such a large and heavy tome. The octavo contains all of the inserted booklets from RAW, including all of the installments of Maus as they originally appeared in the magazine. 

From the publisher: "The original RAW magazine contained many unique and handmade touches. All of them have been replicated in this deluxe binding. They include:

-The cover for issue #1 has a tipped on color plate.
-Each issue contained an added insert or inserts. The covers of these inserts have been sewed in or glued in the appropriate places with the full insert being showcased in the smaller companion book.
-Issue #2 contained 6 out of a possible 8 trading cards. All 8 are included in the clamshell case.
-Issue #4 contained a flexi-disc record. The audio from that record has been transferred to a compact disc and is included in the clamshell case.
-The cover of issue #4 contains die-cuts so certain images of the next page would show through. These die-cuts have been replicated.
-Issue #7 has the upper right corner torn off and a torn corner taped into the first page. Like the original magazine, this taped-in corner is not a match to the torn cover but in fact a corner from another copy.
-Various issues contained different stocks/colors of paper. These variations have been replicated.
The Complete RAW Volume 1 is likely to remain a singular example of the printers' art. The economics of producing such a set precludes it as a commercial enterprise. The present example is the only one presently on the market, as the other nine copies remain in private hands.
Consignments Accepted for PBA's Next Comic Book Auction. Golden Age, Silver Age, Pre-Code, Original Art, Interesting Ephemera Sought. Contact [email protected] for details.
March 26th Comic Book Sale catalogues available. Supplies Limited. Softcover catalogues limited to 200 copies ($45 + $5 postage/handling). Hardcovers limited to 26 lettered copies, dust jackets, special limitation plates ($150). Contact [email protected]

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