‘Absolute Ronin’

Two of my biggest are design (obviously) and comic books. Sadly though, these two worlds hardly ever mix unless Chip Kidd is involved. So it was nice to see DC redesigning a new version of Frank Miller’s classic Ronin into a huge, deluxe version they’re calling Absolute Ronin. This new Absolute version was designed by Amelia Grohman who I think did a wonderful job. She was really able to capture the spirit of the book by blowing up a lot of the images from key scenes in the book, giving you an intimate look at the wonderfully detailed line work of Frank Miller.

I actually had my boyfriend read this last month because he wanted something “fun and action-y” and I thought this fit the bill. If you’ve never heard of it before, I’ll paste this long but accurate description of the book for you:

“The story involves a feudal Japanese samurai whose master has been slain (a ronin), a magical sword, and a shape-shifting demon who intersect with an apocalyptic future New York City wherein neo-Nazis, Black Panthers and the occasional sixties survivor drift around in toxic squalor, making tribal war with one another in the shadow of an über high-tech research facility where a limbless, telekinetic man-child with unknown powers is being held in the care of a sentient biological computer (which seems to have its own agenda) and the computer’s creators, including the beautiful female Chief of Security, struggle to contain and negotiate the use of their diabolical biotechnology.”

I’d highly suggest grabbing this book if you’re looking for a comic book with a bit of depth, great artwork and a lot of fun. Tachi.

Found through Faceout Books


12 Comments ‘Absolute Ronin’

  1. Daniel January 13, 2010 at 4:36 AM

    Okay, I’m convinced! Plus I’ve just discovered it’s almost half-price on Amazon.


  2. neil January 13, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    excellent, I’ve been meaning to read this for a while but never got around to it.

  3. Craig January 13, 2010 at 8:16 AM

    “Two of my biggest [sic] are design (obviously) and comic books. Sadly though, these two worlds hardly ever mix unless Chip Kidd is involved.”

    Do you really believe this? Because to my mind (and as one who’s also a fan of these things) it sounds like a load of garbage or at the very least “elitist” design nonsense. Design (including good and great design) is ALL OVER the comic book world. I don’t understand your statement here at all.

  4. Craig January 13, 2010 at 8:30 AM

    That said… I too love Ronin and this is a beautiful edition.

  5. Dusty January 13, 2010 at 9:55 AM

    Bob, I think Craig is right. Daniel, support your local comic book store.

  6. Bobby January 13, 2010 at 10:10 AM

    @Craig – Haha you sound like Sarah Palin, am I left wing media elitist now? What I was talking about was how crummy most comic book title design. Most titles look like they were designed in the mid-90’s, though obviously this isn’t true for everything. Notable exceptions were James Jeans covers for Fables and most of what J.H. Williams III does. To me it doesn’t seem like a lot of thought is put into title design unless you give a project to a designer who really wants to try and evoke something special.

    I also think type design is ill conceived a lot of the times as well, but then you have guys like Todd Klein who step up and really make projects special.

    @Dusty – Yes, always support your local comic book store, and if you’re in L.A., go to Secret Headquarters.

  7. Craig January 13, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    Agreed that James Jean and J.H. Williams are notable stars of the industry, not only in art but in title design, and that they do something TRULY exceptional… however, saying that not a lot of thought was put into designs, even those developed in the ’90s (or that things haven’t changed since then) is exactly what I mean as over-the-top elitist in attitude. There are many great logos, designs, and letterings out there if you care to be a bit more open about it.

    As evidence I’ll recommend this incredibly comprehensive (and I think ongoing?) list of comic book Logo Studies blogger Todd Klein has taken on: http://kleinletters.com/Blog/?page_id=2709

    Also, this is speaking only of the capes and cowls Marvel/DC/Image set… surely you agree that there’s constant fantastic graphic/logo/lettering design coming out of publishers like Fantagraphics, Drawn+Quarterly, and Top Shelf, no?

  8. Bobby January 13, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    @Craig – I’m definitely talking about Marvel and DC, they have like 50% or more of the market, so they’re the majority. But I still think there could be more work put into the design of these books. There’s so much effort put into every other aspect but I would say that 90% of the time title design looks like it was half ass. That’s just how I see it!

  9. Craig January 13, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    Understood, totally…. and in a sense I do agree with you that they could do MORE. Jean and Williams are proof.. but then again, Jean and Williams are such TALENTS and when you’re producing that much stuff, it may be an impossibility, especially when trying to coordinate so many elements at once and under a deadline (at this point just thinking out loud).

  10. Paul Anthony Webb January 13, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    This looks pretty amazing. I’ll be sure to get this on my next trip to Barne’s.

  11. Jeremiah January 13, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    Ok, since the graphic design/comic book gauntlet has been thrown down, I just thought I would recommend taking a look at Jonathan Hickman’s “Nightly News” and “Pax Romana”. The graphic style and illustration are both very non-traditional in the realm of comic books and that alone has drawn a line between those who love the books and those who absolutely hate them. It would be fair to say that I love them. I guess what I’m getting at is… check them out!

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