Marvel Movie Concept Art

Iron Man concept art by Adi Granov
If you're like me, you've watched the first full trailer for Man of Steel at least a dozen times and are now counting down to the June 14 release of Zack Snyder's epic. Yeah, Superman has stolen the spotlight from Marvel Studios, and I'm sure Tony Stark is not happy to be knocked out of the headlines, even by a flying extraterrestrial. Suddenly, it looks like Marvel has some competition in the superhero movie genre in the form of the Son of Krypton. It's going to be most interesting to see how 2013 plays out, as Warner Bros. and Disney/Marvel simultaneously roll out major cape movies. 

As I watched the Man of Steel trailer, I thought about how far the superhero movie genre has grown since 2008. That was the year Marvel launched Phase One of its Cinematic Universe, with Iron Man and then The Incredible Hulk. Of course, Thor, Iron Man 2, and Captain America: The First Avenger followed, and the rest, as they say, is history.  2012's Marvel's The Avengers accomplished the impossible by featuring all four of the studio's main heroes and breaking box office records in the process. 

Keep reading for more about what made Marvel's movies as great as they were (and will be). 

The Incredible Hulk (2008) concept art by Aaron Sims
Iron Man 2 (2010) concept art by Ryan Meinerding
One of the key reasons for Marvel's success in bringing its characters to the screen was the meticulous process of concept art and design, which kept the overall look of the  movies consistent. Without that long-term strategy, The Avengers certainly wouldn't have been as awesome as it was. Four artists in particular played key roles in designing much of what we saw on the screen in Marvel's movies - Adi Granov, Aaron Sims, Ryan Meinerding and Charlie Wen (some of their work is pictured here).

Thor (2011) concept art by Charlie Wen 
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) concept art by Ryan Meinerding
Marvel's The Avengers (2012) concept art by Ryan Meinerding - click to enlarge 
Charlie Jane Anders, on io9, has done a fantastic job of compiling some of the best examples of the concept art that went into creating the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the work of the artists is stunning. Charlie's article includes huge image galleries and quotes from the artists and designers - the guys tasked with the responsibility of adapting and updating the original character designs for 21st Century movie audiences. If you like learning how these movies were developed, the article is worth a look. 

It must have been extremely challenging for the artists to stay true to the basic look of the characters and at the same time give them a believable, modern interpretation. I've included a few examples of the concept art here, but check out io9 to learn more about how Marvel brought its comic book heroes to life. 

Whaddya think of this Marvel movie concept art? Is there anything in the movies that you think stood out as excellent design, or maybe was lacking something important?

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