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The Art Of Iron Man by John Rhett Thomas

01/08/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy The Art Of Iron Man in the USA - or Buy The Art Of Iron Man in the UK

author pic

pub: Marvel. 208 page horizontal hardback. Price: $49.99 (US), $52.50 (CAN) if you can find it. I actually pulled my copy from A1 for 30 (UK) but that might not be possible now. ISBN: 978-0-7851-3330-8.

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It was an odd state of affairs with the 'Iron Man' film in that the book about its production design didn't get a British release and on the secondary market suddenly went up in price astronomically. I like the challenge of getting a book I want to read at a reasonable price and really thought in this instance, it was a missed opportunity if I couldn't achieve that objective.

Film tie-in books, by and large, are actually limited editions. They are there for those with an interest in picking up anything related to a film when it's released with the knowledge that it could be remainder stock within a few months. Consequently, such books are lucky to get a single printing and probably a print run estimated as a small percentage of those who go to see it. 'Course, when you have such a successful film such as 'Iron Man', estimates are likely to be way off.

'The Art Of Iron Man' was released solely as a hardback when it also deserved a softcover version to ensure the younger generations could afford a copy. Instead, we now have a situation where the price of this book is hitting the roof in the secondary market leaving only a few who could possibly afford this iron chalice.

The real problem is this is actually a great book and considering this is the first time I can recall Marvel doing a film book behind-the-scenes tie-in, shows promise that they will do more of the same as they move ever further into producing their own films. Certainly, they need to do larger print runs.

This book covers Iron Man's comicbook origins before moving on to his film interpretation looking at the designs of Stark's three versions of his famous armour as well as that of the Iron Monger. There's also a couple showing some of the work done towards that of the Crimson Dynamo that was only hinted at in the 'Iron Man Special Edition DVD'. If you're planning to scratch-build models. any of these designs then this book is essential. About the only comment not made in the book is that originally the light source on the armour wasn't actually a repulsor beam but a chest torch but we'll let that pass.

I'd always considered it should have been used for repulsor usage even if it would put some strain on Stark's heart considering where it was. About the only other detail not really covered as much as I wish it could be shown is the components that Stark stripped down to make his first battlesuit. Yes, the complete armaments, like the Jericho missile system, are shown just not what he stripped from it for parts. From the looks of things, I would think he went for he missile casing than the launcher though.

Added to all of this is a look at Stark's factory, home and workshop and how they were designed as well as paintings and various storyboards of the planning stage. If you thought it was a simple matter of painting shellhead's armour red and gold then there are several pages showing the various tints that were tried out to get the right colour balance. Makes changing the colour of your car simple in comparison. There's even a look at a selection of poster designs that weren't and were used for the publicity campaign.

If you're looking for this book purely to get stills from the film then this would be a poor choice but if your mind is focused on how they did it then this book is a joy to own and only hope common-sense prevails and a softcover edition is released.

GF Willmetts

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This book has 54 votes in the sci-fi charts

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