New book digs into the creation of Marvel Studios’ 100 biggest heroes and villains

Review by C.J. Bunce

Following up on its successful look behind the entire Star Wars saga in The Moviemaking Magic of Star Wars: Creatures and Aliens (reviewed earlier here at borg), Abrams Books is bringing home the characters of Avengers: Endgame and the Marvel Studios long journey to get there in its new release The Moviemaking Magic of Marvel Studios: Heroes and Villains Incorporating its trademark interactive Cinemagic features, including booklets, interactive flaps, and accordion fold-out images of the concept art behind every major Marvel Studios superhero, Abrams has nicely timed this book for fans of the franchise who can’t get enough of the latest MCU film.  Full of color photographs and interviews with the producers, directors, art designers, costume and prop makers, and special effects magic makers behind the 21 films leading up to Avengers: Endgame, writer Eleni Roussos (The Art of Black Panther, The Art of Thor: Ragnarok) has pulled together behind the scenes insights that offer something new for even the most diehard fan.

Which characters wore practical, real-life costumes and armor, and which required motion capture and/or CGI effects?  What was the key element included in Marvel’s Avengers that Joss Whedon required to be added before he agreed to direct the film?  What do the contributors agree was the smartest strategic decision made for the Marvel films?  How did each artist convert the character from the comic book page to the finally constructed costume that appeared on the big screen?  What effects were the most challenging for each film?

Altogether The Moviemaking Magic of Marvel Studios: Heroes and Villains spotlights more than 100 individual superheroes, on-screen support crew, and the most colorful and memorable villains from the series, with significant creative and visionary contributions from Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, directors Anthony Russo, Joss Whedon, and Peyton Reed, visual development executive Ryan Meinerding and artist Andy Park, and costume designers Rebecca Gregg, Laura Jean Shannon, Mayes Rubeo, Alexandra Byrne, Anna B. Sheppard, Judianna Makovsky, Sheldon Differ, Louise Frogley, and Ruth Carter.

Take a look at this giant preview of The Moviemaking Magic of Marvel Studios: Heroes and Villains below, courtesy of Abrams Books:


Roussos incorporates interviews with Marvel Studios presidents Kevin Feige and Louis D’Esposito, directors Jon Favreau, Louis Leterrier, Joss Whedon, Alan Taylor, Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, James Gunn, Peyton Reed, and Scott Derrickson, producers Gale Anne Hurd, Jeremy Latcham, Craig Kyle, and Stephen Broussard, and artwork from concept and storyboard artists Phil Saunders, Phil Keller, Aaron Simms, Charlie Wen, Constantine Sekeris, Jonay Bacallado, Nathan Schroeder, Steve Jung, Josh Nizzi, Chris Rosewarne, Jack Dudman, Josh Herman, Karla Ortiz, Tully Summers, Jerad Marantz, and Ian Joyner, and illustrators Tully Summers, Vance Kovacs, Iain McCaig, Justin Sweet, Aaron McBride, Rodney Fuentebella, David Krentz, Jackson Sze, Anthony Francisco, Kan Muftic, Fernando Castro, Mariano A. Diaz, Ra Vincent, Nancy Campbell, Keith Christensen, and Stephen Schirle.

And just like the 15 minutes of credits at the end of Avengers: Endgame makes clear, thousands of contributors worked on all these films.  Of those, other contributors on this book include executives, effects wizards and other artists like Jack Kirby, Stan Winston, Industrial Light & Magic, SMUFX, John Nelson, Kent Seki, Ryan Meinerding, Adi Granov, Eric Carroll, David Grant, Jen Underahl, Chris Townsend, Jeffrey Ford, Victoria Alonso, Danielle Costa, Andy Park, James Chinlund, Shane Mahan, Greg Smith, Chris Swift, Dan Deleeuw, Graham Churchyard, David White, Stephane Ceretti, Barry Gibbs, Brad Winderbaum, Ivo Coveney, Diana Giorgiutti, Jake Morrison, Nate Moore, John Blake, Charlie Wood, Jonathan Schwartz, Trinh Tran, and Michael Grillo, and reflections from actors Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tom Hiddleston, and Letitia Wright.

Although The Moviemaking Magic of Marvel Studios: Heroes and Villains is targeted at the younger set, including an introduction to film production and table of key filmmaking terms, the contents are detailed and fascinating enough that any fan of any age will be drawn to this book.  It includes a foreword by Marvel Studios producer Stephen Broussard.  It does not include any material on Avengers: Endgame, and only an introduction for this year’s release Captain Marvel.

This book is the best overview and most comprehensive look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe available.  Recommended for fans of the films and anyone curious about the filmmaking process and available in a colorful and attractively designed hardcover edition, The Moviemaking Magic of Marvel Studios: Heroes and Villains is available now here at Amazon.

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