Book Review: Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Art of the Movie

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Marvelous artbook

When I took the book out of the slipcase, I was surprised at how thick it is. At 336 pages, this is the thickest of all the Marvel movie artbooks so far. It still comes with a slipcase, a sturdy one.

The artbook comes with a nice hardcover. I noticed that the book's printed in USA, which probably explains why the paper quality seems slightly better than some of the earlier Marvel artbooks.

Director James Gunn's foreword starts off the book. He talks how he came to direct the film, and the art direction planned. The next few pages covers about the inspiration of the film, the comics books themselves. After that, the next 300 plus pages are all filled with concept art. I'm impressed that the book is filled with so much art with no white space at all.

Artworks are presented in the order as they appeared in the film. There are designs for characters, spaceships, interiors and environment, and also some storyboards.

The characters included are of course the Guardians of the Galaxy, the main and minor characters, alien soldiers, Ronan, Thanos, Nova Corps, The Collector, dwellers from space cities and a whole lot more. Main characters have several iterations included and it's really quite cool to see the alternate designs, costumes and facial expressions. I thought Star-Lord's helmets look like they could be from the video game Killzone. There are several pieces looking at The Collector. There are just too many to talk about individually.

In terms of quality of work, majority are quite detailed and look great. There are few speed-painting-like pieces, usually the environments and scenes, but those look to me like exercises in getting mood and lighting. That's not to say that they look bad because they still look good but would look better with more detail. Most artworks have accompanying text about the designs by the artists.

I've some quibbles about the book also. A few artworks are ruined because they fall inside the gutter with the main subject obscured. You get that it's a sign of things to come starting with the page 2 and 3 book title splash art cutting Star-Lord's face into half. That's not the way to present art. And quite a significant portion is devoted to character designs, to the extent I felt that more environment art could be included.

Overall, this is a marvelous addition to the Marvel movie artbooks.

Highly recommended to the fans.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Art of the Movie is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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