Robot 6

2000AD/Rebellion announces ‘The Complete Zenith’

969116_10151413450736366_388786608_nRather coyly, the folks at 2000AD posted this image on their Facebook timeline a few days ago. It could be seen as the culmination in a series of dropped hints that began with assorted editorial staff turning up at recent conventions in T-shirts adorned with the Zenith logo. Today they have announced that, for the first time, they’ll be reprinting a complete collected edition of Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell’s lost superhero masterpiece Zenith.

Morrison had a lengthy period in comics before Zenith, working for assorted undergrounds and indies, DC Thomson and Marvel UK, but I think it’s fair to say that this was his breakthrough work in the 1980s for 2000AD, the strip were he really found his voice, and led directly to him being scooped up by DC Comic for Animal Man. The rest, as they say, is history.

2000AD PR droid Michael Molcher states: “Thanks to legal complications the whole of the series has never been reprinted before. So this is the first complete Zenith in a hardback £100 (about $151 U.S.) limited and never-to-be-repeated edition. It will be exclusively available for pre-order through our online shop on 1 July and we’re expecting insanely high demand (copies of the individual Phases got for over £100 a time on eBay!).”

The full official press release reads:

zenith2000 AD is to publish a complete collection of Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell’s ground-breaking superhero series Zenith for the first time. The limited edition hardback book will only be available from the 2000 AD online shop. Restricted in 1,000 copies, it will be available for pre-order from 1 July and will be published on 1 December.

Never collected in its entirety before, this is a unique opportunity to own the whole of Morrison’s first superhero series in a never-to-be-repeated format.Zenith is the world’s first “Superbrat” – a vain, self-obsessed, egotistical pop singer whose only interests are girls, partying, and where he is in the charts. Yet he does not realise that there are mighty forces at work which seek to enslave the Earth – and use him to do it!

Starting in 1987, Zenith heralded the arrival of a talent who has since gone on to become one of the biggest names in comic books. A very cynical British take on superheroes, Zenith showcases themes and ideas found throughout Morrison’s later work for Marvel and DC, and demonstrates his remarkable depth and maturity as a writer. Yeowell’s striking black and white artwork gave the strip a vitality and rawness that still shines through today.

The collection will feature all four series, or ‘phases’, the latter two of which have never been reprinted. It will also include later stories by Morrison and Mark Millar.

Both Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell have been informed of the exciting plans for The Complete Zenith, and this new edition is being handled with the same respect and close attention to detail that 2000 AD gives all its much-praised archive reproductions. The Complete Zenith is one of more than 30 graphic novels that 2000 AD will release in 2013.

2000AD/Rebellion’s press release for the book rather fudges how the legendary conflict over the matter of Zenith‘s ownership rights has been resolved to a point where this book can now be announced. (“Both Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell have been informed of the exciting plans for The Complete Zenith” doesn’t really make anything clearer.) Due to the strip debuting at a time of relative editorial instability at 2000AD, Morrison has always asserted that no paperwork exists supporting any claims by the anthology’s then-publishers of ownership, or that it was created as work-for-hire; there are no copyright notices displayed anywhere on the two page press release. Some compromise has clearly been reached, the details of which will doubtless come to light later: As such, there’s a certain “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” quality to this news. Another classic, once presumed lost forever,  lurches out of limbo and back into print. Rejoice!

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Comments

21 Comments

How much in US $$ ?

I’ve got most but not all of the individual issues. Have waited years for this and never thought it would actually happen.

What legal issues have held it up ?

No compromise has been reached, Rebellion believe they own it, Morrison believes he owns it, Rebellion are distributing directly and avoiding Diamond’s reticence to distribute when there are legal challenges, like last time – http://www.bleedingcool.com/?p=250747

Roland_Gunner

May 29, 2013 at 4:41 am

“How much in US $$ ?”

Rebellion is selling this directly so you’ll have to pay in pounds. Given the current conversion rate that’s $150.68. I imagine shipping will be pretty pricey too. I’m thinking about coughing up the money since it’ll probably become a collector’s item but want to make see what the creators have to say,

“Zenith is being reprinted” Yay!
“It’s going to be £100″ 0_0

“Restricted in 1,000 copies”

It’s like saying someone’s discovered the missing footage to The Magnificent Ambersons but will screen it in only one theater, for a limited time, and never show it again.

Yeah, I’ll be there clicking away when the clock strikes midnight, but I can’t believe they’re going to screw over that 1,001st guy who’s been searching for this story as long as I have. I just don’t get it.

thesnappysneezer

May 29, 2013 at 5:34 am

How much content is in this book? About how many pages should it be? Aside from the scarcity of it, is this a fair price?

Would love to own this, but I’d be just as happy to buy it digitally at a sub-£100-plus-transatlantic-shipping price point. Help us out, Rebellion?

This appears to be, overall, a pretty skeezy release. I expected better of 2000AD.

Now this is something I never expected to see, but wasn’t there also serious issues with royalties for all the characters that had cameos in the series??

i would like to read this, but would not like to be shafted for the opportunity to do so. it’s like record companies putting out overpriced limited edition vinyl. boo to them….

I think the legal issues came down to who owned the characters?

Part of me wishes sites like CBR wouldn’t report news like this.

“They’re finally collecting ZENITH!
Buuuuut only 1,000 copies and it’s going to cost more than all of your utility bills together for this month!”

It’s depressing.

BUT…

…the other part of me hopes that whomever it is that can afford this book enjoys it immensely because it’s a great series.

So there are 1,000 copies and they’ll be about $175-$200 each shipped to the U.S. I can afford that, but I won’t pay it. All this type of release does is (1) satisfy a small percentage of the potential audience and (2) encourage piracy.

Shame on 2000 AD for not making this accessible to the general audience.

Ooh, I can finally read Zenith, I had always wan-
LIMITED EDITION’D!
TOO EXPENSIV’D!!

Nope nevermind, looks like I won’t be reading this comic after all.

“thesnappysneezer
May 29, 2013 at 5:34 am

How much content is in this book? About how many pages should it be? Aside from the scarcity of it, is this a fair price?”

Rough guess, around 450 pages of story plus another couple of dozen pages of covers if they include those in a gallery.

Rebellion’s press release lists the page count as 480.

Mikey Wood, I’ll gladly swap utility bills with you if you’re paying under $158 a month for power, water, and gas…

Wow pricey. I have always wanted the last phase in a collected edition but for 100 quids I can just live with my 2000ad copies.
I got all the other collected editions from a bargain book shop in Ealing. 75p for the last two and 1.50 for the rest.

£100 are you kidding me. I really wanted this and as has been said above i’ll just have to live with my original comics for this.

Really rebellion Really!?! I have thousand page hardback omnibuses that cost half of this. So disappointed :(

hopefully in 2-3 years we’ll get the TP versions anyway

I’m imagining a possible compromise was that the creators said Rebellion could print 1000 editions, after which rights would revert to Morrison and Yeowell. Completely uninformed speculation, I’m just trying to imagine reasonable circumstances which could result in this publication – after a much earlier print run had to be pulped following a legal challenge, sure no-one would take a risk with an expensive hardback run. And no-one would talk on either side because both have commercial interests to be protected – Rebellion with 1 chance to make money on this book, and the creators could be under a NDA to not reveal that rights will go to them later (when most people would then assume they could presumably publish their own versions for a more reasonable price). As I say, complete speculation but is this a potential scenario which could explain this news?

I was realy wondering. I got one copy of the zenith hardcover, but it´s mostly in Black and white. I still rember reading it in 2000 AD but ist was in Colour. How is that possible?

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