The Art of Alice: Madness Returns is a video game art book. A very good one.
The book's a 184 page hardcover published by Dark Horse. It's in a large vertical format. The paper is thick low glossy. Binding is superb. Production value is top notch.
The concept art and ideas are awesome. There are out-of-the-world background paintings, character designs, props, weapons and gruesome creations. Also included are discarded ideas that didn't make it - usually the too abstract.
When you mix a classic like Alice in Wonderland with pop culture, video game designers, concept artists and throw in a Victorian-gothic theme, you get very strange new world. A world so dangerous Alice has to be equipped with a kitchen knife at all times or sometimes a Bazooka firing hammer (yes, hammer) or a teapot cannon.
Every page brings a little element of surprise and twist. You can see crows with baby faces, Jack the Ripper with tentacles, Alice helping a mother giving birth to a load of kids (gruesome concept), an angler fish with human legs, cow birds, steampunk-like contraptions, a Chinese Humpty Dumpty, flying pig noses, embellished pieces of weaponry, etc. There are lots of mix and matches for things that shouldn't go together.
The environment and set designs are amazing. It looks like some gothic Victorian hell that Alice is treading through. The landscape is ever changing along the game. They are beautiful and detailed. They totally nailed the mood.
There's also plenty to read with the little captions that describe the designs, characters and stories. It gives a nice idea of how such a strange game came about. It's all very interesting to read.
Some of the artists involved in the book are Ken Wong, Sun Guoliang, Luis Melo, Hong Lei, Wu Yuehan, Ben Kerslake, Nako, Tyler Lockett, Fellipe Martins, Pu Jinsong, Wang Shenghua, Yuan Shaofeng, Jin Lei.
This is an outstanding art book. It should be one of the best for 2011.
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