Book Review: Marvel Studios: The Infinity Saga – The Art of Iron Man by John Rhett Thomas

Marvel Studios: The Infinity Saga – The Art of Iron Man is the first release in the 24-book Marvel Studios: The Infinity Saga series, which is republishing previously released art books as a resized matching set. In his Foreword from 2008, director Jon Favreau writes, this book is for those like him who “enjoyed the movies so much that looking behind the curtain didn’t ruin them…[but instead] made me love and appreciate them that much more.”

Buy Marvel Studios: The Infinity Saga – The Art of Iron Man book

In the Introduction, a brief history of Tony Stark and his alter ego is provided. First appearing in Marvel Comics’ Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963), Stark fit a familiar trope of millionaire playboy/inventor, but he is brought down a peg when an exploding landmine shoots shrapnel near his heart. Due to his genius, Tony crafts the armor out of necessity as it keeps the embedded metal shards at bay. Over the years and through the hands of many artists, Tony Stark has had many highlights (joining the Avengers) and lowlights (battling alcoholism). Credit is given to the “Warren Ellis and Adi Grano’s ‘Extremis’ run, which helped inform the [film’s] visual look.”

The book reveals the evolution in creating Iron Man’s armors – “from concept design to sketches to 3D modeling to the final construction of the suit.” Both the initial gray armor and the classic red and gold. There are also drawings of alternate suits: stealth armor and underwater armor. The detail by the artists is amazing, especially the workings of the interior faceplate, which wouldn’t be seen by the audience. Some crew members, such as concept artist Ryan Meinerding and suit effects supervisor Shane Mahan, offer their insights about the processes.

Readers also get to see the work that brought to the screen the villain Iron Monger; Tony’s A.I. assistant Jarvis; how Tony suits up and the Heads Up Display inside it; the sets, such as the gala at Caesars Palace, the cave of Tora Bora, and Tony’s Point Dume ocean-side estate, which contains his workshop.

The book presents storyboards from eight sequences, from Tony showing off at the weapons test to the final battle; a look at the marketing materials; and a brief tribute to the legendary special effects/make-up wizard Stan Winston, who was not well enough to work on the film, but the team at his studio did, successfully so.

In my review of the Iron Man (Ultimate 2-Disc Edition) Blu-ray, I wrote “Iron Man is fantastic, filled with great action and special effects, particularly the outstanding CGI effects that seamlessly fit into the real world. You will believe an Iron Man can fly through the sky with planes.” The Art of Iron Man, written by John Rhett Thomas and designed by Maz, showcases how those effects came to be and shines a well-deserved spotlight on some of those behind the scenes who are responsible. It’s recommended for fans of the movie and more so for fans of making movies.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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