Exclusive: Gaze At 3 Gorgeous Pages Of Tim Sale Art, Colored By José Villarrubia

Billi 99 by Tim Sale

Way back in 1991, Tim Sale was a new-ish artist tackling his first full-length comic book work. No, it wasn’t one of his storied collaborations with Jeph Loeb that include seminal Batman stories, or any of the Marvel “colors” series. It was Billi 99, a four-part miniseries published by Dark Horse Comics, written by Sarah Byam. And now, we’re getting the first-ever hardcover edition of the book, featuring new, stunning colors by José Villarrubia. And Comic Book Club has your exclusive look at three of those colored pages.

Recently posted — and already funded — on Kickstarter by Clover Press, Billi 99 is being reprinted as a hardcover edition, stretching over 196 pages of Tim Sale art and font, colored by Villarrubia. The story focuses on a teen named Billi Chadam, who fights an oppressive government with her late father’s sword; and the book itself was nominated for three Eisner Awards.

“A few years before Tim passed, he, editor Patty Jeres, and I tried to finance a hardcover, color version of Billi 99 and were repeatedly frustrated, but the idea of printing a definitive version of the book remained steadfast,” said writer and co-creator Sarah Byam via press release provided to Comic Book Club. “Billi 99 was a favorite of Tim’s and it’s important to us to do it justice, as we introduce this early and important work to a whole new audience.”

Added Villarrubia, “Along with everyone else who knew him, worked with him or simply enjoyed his work, I was very saddened by the passing of Tim Sale. I had admired his work for years and had had the opportunity to work with him several times, including in Superman for All SeasonsSOLO, and Batman/Catwoman: The Wedding Album. I missed Billi 99 when it was first published in black and white. I am very thankful to Sarah for bringing me into this project. I think that readers are going to be very surprised by it. For me, this is a splendid opportunity to rend homage to a great comics artist.”

Villarrubia is well-known for his career that’s spanned three decades, including collaborations with Alan Moore, Richard Corben, Jae Lee, Jeff Lemire, and Paul Pope. Some notable credits include editing and coloring Infidel for Image Comics, restoring Absolute Swamp Thing by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson for DC Comics, and restoring and art directing The Richard Corben Library for Dark Horse. And on the Tim Sale front, he was the color artist for Superman for All Seasons (arguably the best comic book colors of all time), SOLO, and Batman/Catwoman: The Wedding Album.

In addition to the newly colored pages by Villarrubia, the hardcover edition of Billi 99 also included a portrait of Tim Sale by Bill Sienkiewicz, an essay by Sale’s widow Susan Bailey, and pin-ups by Matt Wagner, Rick Hoberg, Andy Kuhn, and Tomm Coker.

You can pledge the Kickstarter until Thursday, March 14 at 11:59 pm ET.

Billi 99 Exclusive Colored Pages By José Villarrubia

Check out the three exclusive pages from the book below; and click for a larger version.

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