Posts tagged Titan Books

Andy McVittie – The Art of Watch Dogs

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watchdogsAuthor: Andy McVittie
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Art, Video Game
ISBN: 9781781169001

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: One of the most hotly anticipated games from E3 2012, Watch Dogsreceived over 80 official nominations and awards including IGN’s Best New Franchise Award, Gamespot’s Editor’s Choice Award and Eurogamer’s Game of the Show Award.

The Art of Watch Dogs is an in-depth review of Ubisoft’s amazing new game with extensive concept and development art and detailed creator commentary. The first of its kind for a franchise that is certain to be a future classic, the book will explore the technology-controlled world ofWatch Dogs, taking readers on a visual guide through Aiden Pearce’s quest to turn Chicago’s Central Operating System (CtOS) against its corrupt owners.

Review: Let’s be honest – as a Chicago girl, I spent a longer than usual time on this book because the game is set in Chicago. The game focuses on Chicago’s Central Operating System, which controls nearly everything in the city. Our hero and hacker, Aiden Pearce, is the one who is going to try to bring down the evil behind CtOS. In the game, you are Aiden Pearce, with access to his smartphone to control just about any type of technology, weapons galore, some amazing vehicles, and of course, Chicago itself.

The book contains sections focusing on character, the city, the hacker group Aiden forms and the city. Yes, I mention it twice because there are many beautiful drawings and inspirations here.

The 3D renderings of characters, particularly Aiden himself, were fascinating and I would have loved to see more. For most of the characters, we get just a quick view and short bio.

For the city aspect, there is a haunting quality to many of the drawings, particularly those of the Mag Mile and Hancock building. Awesome.

This is a welcome addition for fans of the game, as well as fans of Chicago.

Matt Hurwitz – The Art of the Films – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Rise of the Planet of the Apes

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apesAuthor: Matt Hurwitz
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Art, Movie
ISBN: 9781783291977

Rating: ★★★★¼ 

Summary: The perfect companion for Planets of the Apes fans tying in in with the release of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, revealing the production photography and concept art behind Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Review: Guilty pleasure – cheesy 70s movies, including, yes, The Planet of the Apes. When the remake came around, there was no way I was going to go see it. No way. Nope.

So after seeing the movie (I know, I know), not only went to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes but was excited for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The idea is still cheesy but the special effects have come so far from those 70s Roddy McDowall talking ape styles. This hardcover coffee-table art book focuses on the latter two movies, basically sectioned into one movie and then the next.

This is an interesting contrast of illustrations and the “green screen” live action moments. While the illustrations were true to what you expect to see, the green screen was incredibly interesting for me.

There are a few deleted scenes shown in the book, such as a touching moment between Cornelia and Caesar. There are a myriad of scenes and explanations but nothing that seemed spoilerish, for those who have yet to see either movie. There are humans in the book as well, Gary Oldman and Keri Russell as part of the human survivors.

The best part of the book for me was how well it portrayed the complex work that goes into a movie with such limited “human” screen time. Comparisons of the green screened human face with the ape face were particularly worth a study. This is definitely a plus for fans of the movies.

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Fred Gambino – Dark Shepherd: The Art of Fred Gambino

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darkAuthor: Fred Gambino
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Art
ISBN: 9781781168431

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: The Art of Fred Gambino collects the out-of-this-world concept art, illustrations, paintings and sketches of the immensely talented Fred Gambino. Featuring excerpts from Fred’s varied career, as well as his personal multimedia project ‘Dark Shepherd’, this monograph is a must-have for science fiction art fans and budding 3D concept artists.

Review: Fred Gambino is an illustrator and artist with an eye to science fiction and fantasy. He also worked on movies such as Jimmy Neutron and The Ant Bully, which as a teacher I’ve seen multiple times each. Those, alas, are not featured in Dark Shepherd.

Dark Shepherd focuses on the sci fi and fantasy art of Fred Gambino, including Dark Shepherd, and it’s something wonderful to see. The book begins with the screenplay for Dark Shepherd with environment and characters interspersed among it. Following this are the concepts, Breel, The Mech and the ship. There is an introduction to the graphic novel, which was an interesting comparison of the artwork between the graphic novel and this book – there is a different “look” to this section, at least I thought so.

By far my favorite was the dragon illustrations, including the Robo Dragon. I also liked the Escape from Planet Earth section, again, a movie I’ve seen more than once.

This is more of a book for movie art fans or Gambino fans than a specific movie.

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Peter Aperlo – 300 Rise of the Empire The Art of the Film

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300Author: Peter Aperlo
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Art, Movie
ISBN:

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: follow-up to the 2007 international blockbuster 300.

Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel Xerxes, 300: Rise of an Empire is produced by Gianni Nunnari, Mark Canton, Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder and Bernie Goldmann, and directed by Noam Murro from a screenplay by Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad. Told in the breathtaking visual style of 300 this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield—on the sea—as Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. 300: Rise of an Empire pits Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemisia (Eva Green), vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

300: Rise of an Empire also stars Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, and David Wenham, and will be released in theaters on 7 March, 2014.

This lavish, oversized hardback companion book to the new movie features stunning production art, photography from the acclaimed Clay Enos (Watchmen Portraits) and input from Zack Snyder and Noam Murro.

Review: The commentary in this book is minimal but the photography tells the story itself. Fans of 300 as well as movie fans in general will enjoy this interesting behind the scenes look. The model of Themistokles’ horse sitting in a bathroom was a vivid scene, including the green screen shot on the same page showing Themistokles riding the mechanical green.

Xeres holding up his father and then being at his father’s deathbed combine the character’s feeling at the battlefield with the lush extravagant bed chamber and provide an interesting contrast of the young, almost innocent looking Xerxes of this movie and the “golden god-king” of 300. It’s difficult to see the bereaved son in the pierced and golden King.

The manipulative Artemisia, however, comes across beautiful, powerful and evil, just as she is. The portraits section of the book provides a lighter feel to the overall dark atmosphere.

I admit, there are a few disconcerting pages that I had to look at a few times to realize what was being depicted. The “corpses” used for the dead at Thermopylae mannequins, laid out with computer generated arrows protruding from their bodies. At a quick scan, however, the silvery show of the computer arrows looked just like puppet strings and I had to backtrack. Add in the photo of the naked mannequins, hanging from a clothes mover and wrapped in plastic, and well, yes, I had to slow down a little and look again.

Excellent companion to the 300 movie and an interesting look of movie art.

Andy McVittie – The Art of Titanfall

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titanfallAuthor: Andy McVittie
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Publishing
Genre: Art, Video Game
ISBN:

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Summary: The Art of Titanfall will take readers on an in-depth, no-holds barred look at Respawn Entertainment’s hugely anticipated multiplayer shooter, featuring exclusive concept and development art, as well as detailed creator insights and commentary throughout, showcasing the all-out warfare between the agile pilots and lethal Titans of the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation and the Frontier militia, as well as the war-torn science fiction battlefields found within the game.

Review: While a visually compelling book, the main audience for this video game art book will be fans of Titanfall. At 192 pages, the book is heavy on the glossy illustrations depicting the characters, weapons, locations and technology of the game but has less commentary for those unfamiliar with it.

That being said, the artwork is detailed and interesting. While the highly detailed locations are eye-catching, it was actually the vehicles and technology that caught my eye the most. Perhaps because this is a place where imagination can be wildly implemented, I found the characters also worth spending time on.

Altogether, a nice addition to a collection for Titanfall fans, if a little less a draw for art fans.

 

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Paul Davies – The Art of Thief

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thiefAuthor: Paul Davies
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Publishing
Genre: Art (Video Game)
ISBN 13: 9781783290970

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: With the exceptional heritage, critical acclaim and tremendous sales of the Thief franchise, fans of the series will be delighted to add this book to their collection in anticipation of the new Thief game.The Art of Thief demonstrates the stunning concept and development art from the eagerly anticipated next-gen console game, Thief.The Art of Thief will be released day and date to coincide with the launch of the long awaited Thief game. The Art of Thief is the perfect companion for fans of the Thief franchise. The Thief videogame series has achieved tremendous sales and been praised by numerous respected media sources, such as The Washington Post, The LA Times, and The New York Times. The Thief games have often been praised for innovating the stealth genre and have accumulated a dedicated and loyal fanbase consisting of millions of people worldwide.The new Thief game will be heavily promoted as it will feature on the Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles, which have both received international media and online attention.

Review: This book, a dark, beautifully illustrated with descriptions, scenes and important points of the video game Thief, is a keeper for collectors and superfans of the game. I am not a fan of the game (I haven’t even every played it) but I read this book as strictly an art book and I loved it. The design and planning that go into making the game are incredible and the documentation in this volume outstanding.

The “Evolution of a Thief” covers the main character, Garrett. Garrett’s main weapon is his intelligence but he has many others to choose from, faithfully documented here. The detailed description of Garrett’s costume is only two pages but also interesting.

There is commentary by the artists throughout the book much of which is probably more appreciated by fans of the game. As I read it strictly for the artwork, the commentary was interesting but didn’t make a huge difference for me. The characters are depicted with descriptions and have a definite dark feel to them, as do the scene and setting depictions.

My favorite, however, are the illustrations of the city. Dark, burning, gloomy and forboding, I loved the detail. The clock tower, in particular, is an intriguing piece.

A nice addition to a collection for fans of video games but also a decent read for those looking for the art.

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Martin Robinson – The Art of Castlevania – Lords of Shadow

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art ofAuthor: Martin Robinson
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Video game art
ISBN 13: 9781781168950

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Castlevania is a multi-generational video game series developed and published by Konami. The franchise was first released in 1986, but has evolved from a side-scrolling platformer into a full-scale adventure series – and has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. The series is a fan-favourite, and has influenced generation after generation of games since first being released.

Review: Encompassing three Castlevania titles, the book is a showcase of the art of the game. Debuted in 1986, Castlevania has been around a long time. An adventure game, Castlevania art tends towards the dark and gothic. As the 25th anniversary of Castlevania approached, it was reinvented by MercurySteam, a process that is explained in the Introduction to this book. Kudos on a complete redirection of the game without losing the integrity of it.

In this book, much of the space is dedicated to depictions of characters, weapons and environments (my favorite part) with some commentary. It is very interesting to see the evolution in areas. Carmilla, for example, begins as an almost humanoid character. With the advent of MercurySteam, she undergoes a transformation to a much more human incarnation (and in fact reminds me of Kate Beckinsdale for some reason).

The depiction of the full map from Mirror of Fate act 2 (Trevor; page 167) is beautiful and haunting enough that I could easily see something similar hanging on my wall.

Just a warning – there are game spoilers included within the book, so be aware! I loved the dust cover art, Gabriel at his finest.

Purchase Link: titanbooks.com/the-art-of-castlevania-lords-of-shadow-7204/‎

David A. Goodman – Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years

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star trek

Author: David A. Goodman
Reviewed by: Will
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: TV and Movie
ISBN 13:   9781781169155

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Summary:  For the first time, an ‘in universe’ history of Star Trek, complete with excerpts from Starfleet records and intergalactic intelligence, including James T. Kirk’s official biography and newly translated Klingon reports.

Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of the United Federation of Planets.

This unprecedented illustrated volume chronicles the pivotal era leading up to Humankind’s First Contact with Vulcan in 2063, the Romulan War in 2156, the creation of the Federation in 2161, and the first 150 years of the intergalactic democracy up until the year 2311. Meticulously researched, this account covers a multitude of alien species, decisive battles, and the technology that made the Age of Exploration possible. It includes field sketches, illustrations, and reproductions of historic pieces of art from across the Galaxy, along with over fifty excerpts from key Federation documents and correspondence, Starfleet records, and intergalactic intelligence.

Review: Reading as a history lesson at times, this book depicts the first 150 years of the Federation.  Encompassing official documents such as the articles of federation, biographies of key historical figures and explanations of important moments, the book is an interesting font of Trekkie knowledge.

There are copies of the Captain’s log, which were probably the most familiar to me.  For a true Trekkie, this may not be perfect but as a casual Trek watcher (and no, I haven’t ever read the books) it was mostly new to me information.  It should be noted that I have just the book, not the book and the stand, which speaks in Sulu’s voice.

It was a little disconcerting because it truly seems like an actual history book, not a fiction piece.  Probably my favorite quote in the entire book is by Matthew Decker, Starfleet Commander, stardate 4197.3,  “I’m starting to realize that ‘we come in peace’ only means something if they are clear on the fact that we can also kick their ass”.  Remarkable how much that pertains to current day situations.

Recommended for Star Trek fans who like a lot of background on their favorite series.

 

Roman Dirge – Lenore Purple Nurples

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lenore

Author: Roman Dirge
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Graphic Novel
ISBN 13:   9781848563919

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Summary:  Everyone’s favorite cute little dead girl is showcased in all her morbid glory in this new collection of the timeless comic strip from Roman Dirge.

Return once against to the dark, surreal world of Lenore, the girl with a knack for unintentional mayhem and occasional wanton destruction in this fifth volume. Contains Lenore (Vol. 2) #4-7.

Review: Let’s be honest – I was a little embarrassed by how much I loved Lenore.  She’s cute, adorable and oh, yeah, she’s also dead.  Therein lies the allure of it – she’s so macabre and at times so gross that you can’t help but giggle, even if it’s a horrified one.  When she thinks she is a “poop chop”, seriously I didn’t want to laugh.  But I did.  As Lenore herself says, “Let us never speak of this.”

With titles such as “Here lies King Douche Nozzle”, you are taken on a sinister ride through un-life Lenore style.  My favorite chapter, “The Dweller in the Fridge”, contains pink cake and dead clowns in the basement.  I don’t even know what to say to describe it.  It’s very cringe-worthy and funny at the same time.   She faces down the Crepig Creeping with aplomb, blood and a lot of gore.

In the bonus features, there is a drawing of a baby rabbit, innocent and fluffy, standing over a deadly carrot with a bite mauled out of it.  It’s awesome.  There is also a copy of the first drawing of Lenore, who has evolved from looking dead to looking cute-dead, if that’s possible.  This was my first foray into the world of Lenore and I’m both scared and excited to try her again, gore and grossness and all.

 

Mark Salisbury – Elysium >> The Art of the Film

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16099206

Author: Mark Salisbury
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Publishing
Genre: Art
ISBN 13:   9781781162477

Rating: ★★★★½ 

 

 

Summary:  From Neill Blomkamp, the director of the acclaimed District 9, comes Elysium, an eagerly awaited sci-fi blockbuster starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.

All will be revealed in Elysium: The Art of the Film, which will feature a Foreword by Blomkamp, and wealth of stunning production art and photos, including the input of legendary designer Syd Mead (Blade Runner, Tron). 

 

Review: The odd thing for me about this beautiful book was that I hadn’t seen the movie at the time I read the book.  I kept it sitting on my desk, waiting until I got a chance to see it because I knew there would most likely be spoilers in it.  Finally I couldn’t stand it anymore and had to open the book.  Then the desire to see the movie was stronger than ever, even though yes, there are spoilers! 

 

First off, the mansions of Elysium, amazing.  There is a depiction on page 126 of this beautiful atrium with glass walls, a waterfall with a gorgeous rainbow running through it and two people sitting looking out on greenery with the city in the distance.  Contrasting against this is an illegal, with a gun, standing in the atrium with a trail of blood behind him.  

 

It was eerie at times how much the art actually looked just like the photographs.  A pic of Max  crawling from a vehicle compares with the drawing of Max dragging someone out of a vehicle and the talent in the art is obvious. 

 

Visually, the section depicting the Surgery, the implantation of the data port and the attachment of the Exo-Suit, oh my.  Bloody brains, peeled faces and just wow.  That whole section, gory as it is, is my favorite.  

 

The weapons, the vehicles, scenes and ideas are all here, alone with forward about the movie’s director and stars (Matt Damon, Jodie Foster , William Fichtner, etc) and the story arc make a great introduction to the art of the film.

 

 

 

 

 

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