Book Review: Capturing Archetypes Volume 2

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Compiling Sideshow Collectibles‘ broad spectrum of busts, figures, and statues, Capturing Archetypes Volume 2 is a premium art book that celebrates the too often forgotten art of sculpture, its 192 pages overflowing with glossy, hi-res images of figures hailing from comics, movies, video games, and other pop culture precincts.

Star Wars icons and superheroes/villains of the DC and Marvel universes feature most prominently. You’ll find plenty of figure pics of Darth Vader, Yoda, Boba Fett, Han Solo, General Grievous, R2-D2, Batman (including Christian Bale and Michael Keaton’s portrayals, as well as other comic variations), The Joker, Superman, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Deadpool, Punisher, and various members of the Avengers crew. Video game characters don’t have a huge presence, but stars like Master Chief and Nathan Drake, as well as Blizzard favorites Kerrigan, Raynor, and Deathwing, are sprinkled throughout. Other characters run the gamut: Hellboy, Vampirella, Predator, Alien, Saruman, Godzilla, Conan the Barbarian, Pinhead, Snake Plissken, and Terminator, just to tick off some recognizable names.

What you won’t find so much of in Capturing Archetypes is behind-the-scenes materials showing or describing the creative process that went into the figures’ creation, which is something sculpture artists looking to gain deeper insight from masters of their craft may lament. Each featured figure appears in a two-page spread, some posed against plain black pages, some on scenic backdrops of clouds or bright blue skies, and some in staged action or reenactment scenes with props and other figures. Some of the figures are accompanied by famous quotes, and even fewer get a second spread containing minimal commentary about the character and some additional close-up shots further highlighting the intricate detail of a figure’s accessories, costume, and facial features. Surprisingly (or maybe not so much), Poison Ivy is given top billing in a sexy Playboy-style vertical centerfold spanning four pages.

The format and presentation overall is just stunning. Yes, quite a few pages have barely anything on them or, in some cases, are left completely blank, but in context with the way the scenes are composed, the negative space makes sense and is, at least in my opinion, effective at setting an artsy mood to show off the impeccable quality of the sculpted figures–not to mention the larger than life stature of the characters they represent.

The cover is also quite spectacular in person, Batman’s imposing figure embossed with a smooth, glossy finish over a matte black surrounding surface. Running your fingers over the cover, you can feel the contours and folds in the Dark Knight’s cape, cowl, chest emblem, and utility belt. Much like the artwork inside, the cover itself has no text or labeling. Instead of a full dust jacket the book comes with a removable transparent obi printed with the title and other requisite text.

If you were hoping for in-depth commentary and documentation about how Sideshow goes about building its collectible sculptures, unfortunately Capturing Archetypes Volume 2 is not that type of book. However, for many fans Sideshow’s extravagant figures and statues are well beyond budget and will never be financially attainable. Having such highly detailed images of so many iconic characters in one book is a much more affordable way to admire these works of art and, at least in spirit, have these incredible figures as part of your collection.

Buy From: Capturing Archetypes Volume 2 is available now for MSRP $50 from Amazon.com and Insight Editions.

Disclosure: A copy of Capturing Archetypes Volume 2 was provided to VGBlogger.com for review by Insight Editions.

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About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!