With every blockbuster movie there is inevitably the crush of cross-merchandising items and Watchmen is no different. Titan Books has released three lustrous coffee-table style books that cover the film in every way possible. The film is sure to be one of the biggest box-office draws of 2009 and Titan holds nothing back in these three magnificent tomes.
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Peter Aperlo. Softcover, 176 pages, $19.95. If you’re familiar with film companion books then you’ll know what to expect in this book. The companion examines the complete film-making process, from pre to post-production. The book introduces fans to the history and characters of the Watchmen including a timeline from the 1930s, to the 1980s where the majority of the story takes place. You’ll meet the characters from the Golden Age, known as the Minutemen to the present, as well as their arch-villains. You get an up close look at special effects, stunts, as well as the vigorous training that the actors endured. There’s a great section on the creation of Dr. Manhattan. It’s all told with hundreds of full color photos from the film as well as interviews with the cast and crew, including an exclusive set report from Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons
Peter Aperlo. Hardcover, 256 pages, $40.00. The art of the film is just that, a look at the enormous amount of art that went into making the films including storyboards, production designs, concept sketches, props, sculptures, and more. As you read through this book and look at the thousands of pieces of art, you get a sense for the incredibly huge scope of the film. Was it necessary to create sculpts of each of the characters? Probably not, but it goes to show just how meticulous Director Zack Snyder and the production team were. The largest section of the book is devoted to concept art. This is where all the gifted artists came together to create the action first on storyboards, or to create the costumes and props through concept sketches before turning over the designs to the wardrobe and prop people to make the final product. Well-known artists like David Finch, Adam Hughes. Dan Milligan and others provided many of the concept pieces, some very different than what was used in the end product. A simply gorgeous book. If you can only get one of the three, this would be my pick.
Clay Enos, 240 pages, $50.00. The last book is the biggest, and most expensive, and the most mercurial as there is no text outside of a one page introduction by Director Zack Snyder. Clay Enos was the official photographer ob the set of the film and this book is the result of his efforts. As the title suggests, this book is devoted to full page, black & white, photos of every character, and every extra in the film. These are high-resolution photos, sometimes of full figures, and sometimes just head-shots…extreme close-up head shots. Often times of people who are not done justice by extreme close-ups. There are no titles or any text on the pages to detract from the art. The back of the book does provide a photo index to give you the name of each character. The black & white makes the book special. It gives a sense of grittiness to the photos that you would not have with color. At $50, this is a book for the true, hardcore fans and collectors.