By Daniel Wallace with photographs by Clay Enos (Insight Studios/Titan Books)
Always foremost amongst the fascinating publishing add-ons to accompany major fantasy motion picture releases are the “Art of…” compendiums, and the terrific oversized (286 x 240 x 22mm) hardcover tome which supports the new Man of Steel film is both gloriously enticing and genuinely informative.
Author Daniel Wallace has compiled an eye-popping mix of production art, panoramic stills, pre-production designs and concept paintings gleaned from the various art departments and combined them with behind-the-scenes interviews, commentary and colour to produce a celebratory coffee-table art-book that is absolutely breathtaking.
After a Foreword by producer Christopher Nolan and Introduction from director Zack Snyder, ‘Modern Day Mythmaking’ reveals how the project came about with ‘Making it Happen’ and ‘Making it Real’, further disclosing the secrets of ‘The Suit’ before closing with the film’s philosophical mission statement in ‘Superman Vérité’.
The all-important ‘Casting Man of Steel’ explores and examines the actors, roles and thinking of the vast and stellar cast over nearly thirty electrifying pages, paying great attention to the costumes and designs of a scenario and society such as Superman fans have never seen before.
That imagination overload continues into ‘Welcome to Krypton’, highlighting ‘Kandor’ and ‘The Kryptonian Chamber’ before digressing onto a page dedicated to ‘Speaking Kryptonian’ (in my day it was “Kryptonese” but that’s my own personal digression-lite), after which the visual secrets of ‘The Ruling Council’, ‘Crafted Technology’ and ‘Automated Helpmates’ bring the planet’s robotic excesses to astounding life.
Now a ravaged, worn-torn world, Krypton’s martial advances are spotlighted in ‘Armed for Battle’ whilst ‘The House of El’, ‘Flora and Fauna’ and ‘The Genesis Chamber’ readily inform and expand on the unworldly realities of the lost planet and Superman’s history.
Further visualisations and revelations depict ‘Last Hope’, the awesomely appalling ‘Black Zero’, ‘The Dead Colonies’ long-abandoned by Krypton, and explain how the film designers attempted ‘Communicating with Contours’ before concluding with views of the pivotal ‘Scout Ship’ that changed Clark Kent’s life forever…
Locations and sets star in ‘Welcome to Earth’, with specific attention paid to the hero-in-waiting’s ‘Northern Journeys’, ‘Smallville’, Earth’s military bastion ‘U.S. Northcom’ and of course, ‘Metropolis’ before the epic exploration ends with a heartfelt appreciation of ‘The Heart of the Legend’…
Admittedly Inside the Legendary World of Superman was released to cash-in on the long-awaited movie, but this utterly engrossing picture-treat is such a superb slice of sheer imaginative indulgence no fan of film or funnybooks will want to miss out on such a marvellously magical experience.
© 2013 DC Comics. MAN OF STEEL, SUPERMAN and all related characters and elements ™ and © DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.