- Hardcover: 184 pages
- Publisher: Insight Comics; 1St Edition edition (June 18, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1608871819
- ISBN-13: 978-1608871810
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.8 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman Hardcover – June 18, 2013
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About the Author
Daniel Wallace is the author or coauthor of more than two dozen books, including The Joker, The Jedi Path, Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman, DC Comics Year by Year, The Marvel Encyclopedia, and the New York Times best-selling Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Characters.
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Top Customer Reviews
There aren't many character designs. Strangely, Zod's the only character with art featuring various designs. The rest of the characters, including Superman, are just shown with one or two illustrations or photos. The designs are the finalised ones. There's nothing on Superman's new suit besides the brief mention by director Zack Synder that underwear outside is no longer cool nowadays. The cover does have a nice embossed S with repeating patterns from the fabric of Superman's suit.
The concept art are generally nice but there aren't any mind blowing pieces in particular. There are some beautiful detailed pieces but also pretty rough ones. The overall tone is quite dark with a sense of grim throughout. There's a preference for the strong use of shadows, either to obscure detail or to suggest I'm not too sure, but I feel it's for the former because the detail I want to see usually fades into the shadow.
The art feels quite static. Environment art are meant to be static but I mean those scene paintings with characters. There are many pieces with characters just standing on location. Superman usually stands alone staring into space. Comics usually have their characters in dynamic poses. Not so here. And there aren't any storyboards. You won't get the idea that this is an action film from the art.
There aren't any set photography on the props and locations. Most of the photos included are film stills, mostly portraits, but they look great.
The commentary is quite insightful and focuses on the design and direction of the film. It talks mainly about the interpretation of the characters and stories for the audience that are so used to superhero movies nowadays. There's not much on the actual production shoot and stories behind the scenes.
Those who have watched the film would probably enjoy this book more but that would also depend on what you're expecting.
I recommend flipping through the book before you buy.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
It's worth noting that around 75% of the book is designated to all things Krypton (even though only 20-30 min of the movie are spent there). To be fair, the Krypton portion of the film is perhaps the most creative and certainly worthy of inclusion here. The book goes in-depth on Krypton environments, technology, costumes, and creatures. Many of the concept art is really great (and printed full-page). Also included are samples of the written language and symbols used on Krypton - it's fascinating to see how much detail went into portraying a realistic civilization.
But this leaves only 25% of the book focused on the rest of the movie and Earth. Overall, the book does leave something to be desired. In particular, I would have liked to have more insight into the design and creation of the Superman costume (it only gets about 2-3 pages).
It's definitely worth buying this book if you can find it for a reasonable price.
Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman tries its best to strike a balance between "art of" and "making of," but at a scant 184 pages (and it honestly doesn't even seem that long), it doesn't really have room to be either of those things to a satisfying degree. As a "making of," it does touch on some really interesting points in the text--especially when it comes to the filmmakers' collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense to create an accurate portrayal of the military in the film, as well as many of the thoughts that went into the design of Krypton--and there is a positively fascinating page on the development of the Kryptonian language developed for the film. But much of what is delivered in the book in that regard just leaves me hungry for more. If anything, it's an intriguing tease.
As an "art of," though, the book is an all-around disappointment. There are so many elements of the text that could have been given so much more weight with the right images: the discussion of the design of the S-emblem comes to mind, as well as the design of the suit as a whole. But alas, we don't get a single solitary image of any of the iterations that the S-glyph must have certainly gone through. And any paintings of the Big Blue suit pretty much mirror the final design in the film to a tee.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman, though, is that if you're a fan of the film hungry for a deeper look, the book is kind of essential. Not very satisfying, mind you, but there are several really neat tidbits and insights here that I'll admit make it worth owning. If, and only if, you're a hardcore fan. (Although, let's face it: if you're a hardcore fan you probably pre-ordered the book long before I ever thought about writing this review.)
It's just a shame that there isn't a proper Art of Man of Steel book in the works, nor a truly in-depth Making of. Because I would happily pay good money for both of those books (preferably the former). The only real hope at this point for those of us who geek out on pre-production artwork is that the Blu-ray release might include so many of the early and unused concepts that this book unfortunately, for the most part, ignores