warhammer 40k

All posts tagged warhammer 40k

Whether or not you’re into tabletop gaming, it’s hard to deny that Warhammer 40k features some of the most beautifully grim art to grace the world of military sci-fi. To Games Workshop‘s credit, they know exactly how critical it is to nurture an instantly recognizable image for their product. For the most part, nearly every licensed w40k product features excellent artwork. I’ve always been drawn to the world of w40k, first as a fan of the game, and more recently as a fan of the novels. W40k might be my favorite extended universe ever. The scale is immense, the back-story is interesting, and the human inhabitants are a refreshing departure from the typical USA in space (which I griped about last post). W40k is a perfect blend of military sci-fi and horror, so expect to see a lot more coverage of it on this site.

Being a casual fan of the w40k universe, I’ve always loved the artwork, but never delved into the artists who brought the 40k world to life. Hence, The Emperor’s Might, a recently released w40k artbook, seemed like a perfect way to journey further into the fiction.

Warhammer 40k The Emperor's Might Art Book -- Cover

The cover art is somewhat unimpressive

The Emperor’s Might
Author: John Blanche
Country: United Kingdom
Featured Edition: Black Library, October 2012

Warhammer 40k The Emperor's Might Art Book 17

The Grey Knights looking cool, as always.

The Emperor’s Might was compiled by John Blanche, Games Workshop‘s resident art director. John Blanche is an amazing fantasy artist, and landed his current gig with GW way back in 1986. As well as contributing his own art to the 40k universe, Blanche also oversees all the contributions by other artists and sculptors, and ensures that they match the required tone and quality. It’s largely thanks to Blanche that w40k looks the way it does. I’d be willing to bet that the 40k brand wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it is if it didn’t have such cohesive imagery.

Warhammer 40k The Emperor's Might Art Book 10

I love this sheer size of the Ultramarine in this image. Dat gauntlet.

The Emperor’s Might focuses on the exploits of the space marines. This isn’t the definitive 40k art book, but it is readily available, which can’t be said of books like The Art of Warhammer 40, 000, which are more all-encompassing, but are sadly out-of-print. Every space marine chapter gets its due in over 140 pages of high quality color prints. The quality of the images in this book can’t be understated. The colors are vivid and crisp. The hardcover binding feels solid, and fortunately survived the abuse I subjected it to in an effort to produce the scans for this post.

Warhammer 40k The Emperor's Might Art Book 18

My favorite image. Reminds me of Simon Bisley.

I can’t fault the quality of the package, but the price of the book seems somewhat steep considering the amount of content within. Then again, this is Games Workshop, so I can’t pretend to be surprised by a company that routinely gouges its customers’ wallets. For the same price of this artbook, you could probably buy a couple of plastic terminator units.

My biggest annoyance with this book is that it’s an artbook that barely credits the artists within! There is literally no way of knowing who produced each work without consulting the internet, or searching futilely for a scribbled autograph. When I open an artbook, I expect at the very least to be told the names of the featured artists. It would also be nice to see the title of each piece, and a date. The Emperor’s Might provides none of these details. The only mention of the artists is in a small piece of text at the back of the book, in small font along with the copyright information… I understand that the limited space was devoted to art instead of text, but it would have been relatively easy to include a proper index of the artists responsible for each piece.

Warhammer 40k The Emperor's Might Art Book 3

Possibly the most detailed w40k piece ever.

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This was the cover of one of the Space Marine codexes.

I purchased The Emperor’s Might because I wanted to acquaint myself with the artists of the 40k universe, but I found it difficult to do so considering the lack of proper credits. I’m sure that die-hard 40k fans are already familiar with the artists of their favorite expanded universe, and thus don’t need a set of credits, but this is still unfair to casual fans like myself. Irregardless, the artwork is still superb, so I wouldn’t discourage anyone from purchasing the book based on this sore point, but it is disappointing.

Warhammer 40k The Emperor's Might Art Book 19

Dark Angels.

The artwork ranges from the early beginnings of the w40k brand to the present-day. Had the dates of the pieces been provided, it would have been interesting to see the evolution of the 40k world in concrete terms. About half the paintings feature portraits of individual Astartes, many of which are primarchs or individuals of high rank. Anyone who plays as space marines will instantly recognize many of the paintings from various codexes or rule books.

My favorite pieces of art are the large 2-page spreads that feature massive battle scenes. They epitomize what I love about w40k: massive bloody space conflicts performed on an epic scale. I recognize one of these pieces as the cover art for the UK Death Metal band Bolt Thrower‘s 1989 album Realm of Chaos, so I would assume that several of the other 2-page spreads date back to this era. I still remember being transfixed by issues of White Dwarf as a kid in the mid 90’s; apparently my tastes haven’t changed with age…

Warhammer 40k The Emperor's Might Art Book 2

This was the cover of Bolt Thrower’s Realm of Chaos

As well as the color portraits and battle scenes, there are also a number of black and white images. Although the quality of these meet the standard of the rest of the book, I’ve always preferred w40k’s color paintings. There are even a few pages of landscapes, which seem almost out-of-place without at least one space marine in sight. The book apparently features never-before-seen artwork, but without any index I can’t begin to guess which images these are.

Overall, I would still recommend this book, but don’t make the same mistake I did and expect to learn more about the artists of the 40k world. My ideal book would not only list the artist credits (as a bare minimum), but would even include some back story about each piece, or each artist. Oh well, knowing GW, they may one day release this fantasy book of mine, and subsequently charge $200 for it… As always, please join the xenomorphosis facebook page, it could always use some more love. I plan to do more artbook reviews, so stay tuned.

Clicking this link will bring you to this product’s Amazon page. Should you choose to purchase it, I will get a small commission, which will then be reinvested into the site. Although I’m including this link, my review’s and opinions will never be influenced by the opportunity to make a commission. This site is a labor of love, but costs money to maintain, so think of any commissions as a donation to the site.

Clicking any of the following thumbnails will open a gallery of my favorite pieces from The Emperor’s Might

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Welcome to Xenomorphosis, a blog for those of us who crave the dark side of science fiction. Right about now you’re probably thinking: “the dark side of science fiction? He must mean sci-fi horror”. Well… You’re mostly right. This blog will certainly cover everything sci-fi horror, and more. This isn’t a pure sci-fi horror blog; we cover the dim, dank, twisted side of science fiction, in all its incarnations. The distinction is that we aren’t limiting ourselves to pure horror. Instead, we’ll explore any science fiction that’s thematically dark, but isn’t necessarily considered horror. For example, Blade Runner is a dark science fiction movie, but definitely not horror. Because it’s dark, we can still cover it. In the end, we all win, because Blade Runner is pretty damn awesome.

As you may have guessed, I’m kind of a big Aliens fan…

What can you expect from Xenomorphosis? Expect a lot of feature-rich content. The bread and butter of this blog will be an ever-growing selection of ongoing series that will cover all aspects of dark science fiction. Ever wondered about H.R. Giger’s influence on video games, chestbursting scenes in movies other than Alien, xenomorph variations in Aliens spinoffs, and underwater horror movies inspired by Alien? Well, for the 0.1% of the population who finds these topics as fascinating as I do, we have you covered. As much as possible, I’d like to cover topics that have never been extensively explored. Look at this blog as a journey into the deepest recesses of the genre. In addition, we’ll post the typical opinions and reviews that should be expected from a blog of this nature.

Exploding into Body Horror.

Which mediums will we cover? The short answer is: all of them. Movies and video games will be our primary focus, but we’re more than happy to explore books, comics, toys board games, etc… When dealing with a relatively niche subgenre like sci-fi horror, there’s no point in being picky with how you take your poison. Furthermore, this blog won’t be relegated to any one region. I’m a fairly big fan of Japan’s finer exports, namely video games, anime, and manga, so expect to see your fair share of content from the land of the rising sun.

Tabletop games? Sure why not.

What can we promise you? We promise that the writing quality will be fairly strong, and that our contributors will be at least decently knowledgeable. Furthermore, there will be a strong focus on aesthetics. Images and videos will be woven into the posts whenever possible. I’m a visually oriented guy, so one of my main goals is to capture the look of dark science fiction.

Who am I? I’m a twenty-something-year-old guy who’s been into science fiction since, well, forever. Science fiction is in my blood. My grandpa collected hundreds of sci-fi books, which he then passed on to my mom. In turn, she introduced me to movies like Star Wars, Alien, and Terminator at a young (probably too young) age. At five-years-old she bought me a Kenner xenomorph action figure. Science fiction books are what got me into reading in a big way. My memory of the classics is fairly fuzzy, mostly because I read them all before the age of fourteen. My love of horror started a little later – around the age of sixteen I became interested in zombie movies and slashers. Soon afterwards I was introduced to hardcore punk, and then metal. I now collect death metal albums, which are a great catalyst for my love of dark twisted imagery. I try to capture this look in another one of my hobbies: artwork. For those of you who are interested, you can see why more recent works here. Finally, my other love is video games, which I also collect. Basically, this blog is a culmination of years of ideas that have been brewing in my head as a result of my various hobbies.

So, what can you contribute to this blog? Please, send me your ideas for interesting topics or series! We’re all in this hobby together, so we may as well engage as much as possible! If you’re a decent writer, and you’d like to contribute content, please contact me at xenomorphosis@gmail.com. The more the merrier. Most importantly, please leave comments and suggestions as often as possible. I’d like this blog to evolve based on your feedback. Happy reading!

Ripley, is that you?