Book Review: Marvel Studios: The Infinity Saga – The Art of Thor by Matthew K. Manning

Marvel Studios: The Infinity Saga – The Art of Thor is the third release in the 24-book Marvel Studios: The Infinity Saga series, which is republishing previously released art books as a resized matching set.

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In the Foreword, Thor comic artist/writer Walter Simonson tells of the character’s introduction in Journey into Mystery #83, raves about Jack Kirby’s work on the comic, and writes about “being lucky enough to visit the sets and seeing a little of the filming.” In his Introduction, author Matthew K. Manning talks about the thunder god of Norse mythology becoming a hero in the pages of the Marvel Universe thanks to Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Larry Lieber.

Concept artist Charlie Wen “arrived at his final design for Thor by mixing traditional Japanese samurai with the revolutionary artistic style of comic legend Jack Kirby, and even sprinkling in a bit of modern comic-book flair.” Costume Designer Alexandra Byrne’s department did so well bringing the those ideas to fruition that Chris Hemsworth says that it was the first time in his acting career “that I had put on the costume and really felt the character.” In addition to Thor’s outfit, readers get to see the various designs that were considered for Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir.

Because Thor is a hero from a different world, Byrne and Production Designer Bo Welch had more work to do than their Iron Man counterparts because they had to bring Asgard to the screen. Readers get to see concept art and production stills of Odin All-Father, Loki, Frigga, Heimdall, Warriors Three, and Sif. Welch’s designs for Asgard architecture “was both simple and decadent” as seen in various rooms within Odin’s Palace. He and his team also had to conceive of the Rainbow Bridge, which connects Asgard to Earth, and “the cold and barren frozen wasteland” Jotunheim and the Frost Giants who call it home.

Property Master Russell and his team are featured in the “Tools of the Trade” chapter, examining their work on the Casket of Ancient Winters, which was kept in Odin’s Vault alongside the Warlock Eye and an Infinity Gauntlet. The vault was protected by the Destroyer, a magical mechanical armor. “Although mostly a creation of CGI, a life-sized model was created for production.” The figure looks quite imposing on the page. This chapter also covers various characters’ weaponry.

“Closer to Home” focuses on Thor’s time on Earth in the movie, particularly the fictional town of Puente Antiguo, New Mexico where activity brought both Jane Foster and S.H.I.E.L.D. There are storyboards for the Jotun Beast sequence on Jotunheim, and the book concludes with marketing materials.

The Art of Thor showcases the work done in expanding the MCU, not just by way of a larger roster of characters but new worlds and locations those characters could appear. It was a task the crew handled well as this book makes clear.

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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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