Review by C.J. Bunce
With this year’s hit blockbuster film Black Panther, Marvel Studios has offered superhero genre fans a truly original movie in its 18-film arsenal of live-action adaptations from the comic book world’s best-loved superheroes. A few new books on Black Panther that we’re reviewing here at borg.com delve into everything from the comic book history of T’Challa in Marvel Comics to a photographic review of the best scenes from the film. The concept artwork behind the film takes center stage in The Art of Black Panther from Marvel Publishing, compiled by Eleni Roussos, and featuring a foreword by director Ryan Coogler.
The Art of Black Panther reveals all the ways the hidden country of Wakanda might have looked, giving fans insight into the process taken by the production designers, set designers, and digital artists. The environmental designs for the hidden world of Wakanda, including several versions of concept art created for each set and location, make up roughly half of the book. The rest features multiple incarnations of costumes, jewelry and cultural props considered for both key cast and background characters. The book consists mostly of digitally created art, but plenty of painted work and pencil studies are included, too. As with previous books in Marvel’s film artbook series, don’t look for much explanatory text as this is primarily a visual compilation of the concept art without reference to the final as-photographed images from the film (if photos of actual sets and actors in costume are what you’re after, come back later to borg.com as we review another new book that features photos from the film).
Nicely designed with gorgeous concept art, The Art of Black Panther is a 240-page hardcover welcoming readers to Wakanda in a glossy binding, housed in a slipcase holder featuring artwork from the film. Readers can see how production designer Hannah Beachler and her team of artists went beyond the source material for the inspired designs that became Marvel’s newest fantasy world, incorporating Jack Kirby and decades of his artistic progeny from the comic books. Each of the key characters you’d expect get plenty of coverage. Readers will find hundreds of images of Ruth E. Carter’s costume designs for King T’Challa, Killmonger, Nakia, Okoye, Shuri, W’Kabi, Queen Ramonda, Zuri, T’Chaka, the Tribe Elders, and more.
New production designers and artists for the sequel to Black Panther will have a huge trove of imagery to work from with all the variations of ideas conceived for but not yet used in the first film. Cosplayers of Black Panther characters will find plenty of ideas and reference material in The Art of Black Panther.
A must for fantasy artists, and fans of the film that want to see even more of the depth of cultural forms that became the Wakanda of the film, The Art of Black Panther is available now here at Amazon.