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Book Review

Book Cover

Man of Steel
Inside the Legendary World of Superman (Hardback)


Author: Daniel Wallace
Publisher: Titan Books
RRP: £29.99, US $45.00
ISBN: 978 1 78116 817 2
Publication Date: 18 June 2013

Since 1938, when Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1, he has taken on many aspects; at times he has represented American idealism, so much so that he has become a cultural icon and rarely has he fallen out of favour. Created by Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, the character has endured and been reinterpreted by the passing generations. With the advent of Man of Steel, Superman once again is on our screens and with a new film comes a new companion book...

Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman, written by Daniel Wallace, is an impressive companion to the film. It is not a script book, rather preferring to display mostly the production art from the film. The book measure nine and a half inches by eleven and a quarter with one hundred and eighty-four pages.

Externally, the hardback book has an embossed cover with the raise Sigel of Superman. Inside, after a few moody paintings of Supes, there is a one page forward by Christopher Nolan.Tthe text throughout the book is silver lettering against a dark background. The Forward is the sort of upbeat thing you would expect and is followed by a one page introduction by Zack Snyder.

The book is split, unevenly, into four chapter headings, Modern-day Mythmaking, Casting Man of Steel, Welcome to Krypton and Welcome to Earth, which does not follow the finished film in chronological order. Each chapter is text rich and contains both single and double page spreads, for the art.

Modern Day Mythmaking works as an introduction, covering the genesis of the project as well as some of the more important decisions which were made including changing the suit and an emphasis of grounding, the almost god like, Superman in the real world.

Casting Man of Steel and we take a tour through the actors which play the major characters, including Henry Cavill (Superman), Michael Shannon (Zod), Amy Adams (Lois Lane) and Russell Crowe (Joe-El). Each character gets between two and three pages apiece, consisting of text, production art and stills from the film.

The lessor characters are also represented. Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Ayelet Zurer (Lara Lor-Van) and Antje Yraue (Faora), but for the most part they get slightly less page space with the remaining six actors covered in four pages.

The two main locations used in the film are Earth and Krypton and the books remaining pages are devoted to these two planets. Through these chapters the text becomes a little less to make way for some wonderful art panels, it is here that most of the two page spreads reside.

Although it does not title itself as an ‘art of’ book this is what it essentially is and probably all the better for it. Books of films which predominantly feature stills from the movie always feels a little like a cheat as the book is only showing you what you have already seen. By concentrating on the production art Man of Steel offers up a more value added product.

Collectors of Superman paraphernalia and fans of the film will both delight in this well thought out book.


Charles Packer

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