Sideshow Collectibles is a company that exists in a very unique space at the intersection of fine art, pop culture, and the world of collectibles. For the past two decades, Sideshow has worked to give fans little pieces of the films and properties that they love in the form of statues, figures, and busts in various formats and materials. From Star Wars and Lord of the Rings characters, to heroes and villains from the DC Comics and Marvel Comics universes, Sideshow has built a reputation as the go-to place for accurate likenesses and high-quality works of art.
To celebrate their 20th anniversary this year, Sideshow and the Insight Editions publishing company created a hardcover photo book entitled Capturing Archetypes: Twenty Years of Sideshow Collectibles Art, and we got our hands on a copy to review for you, our fine readers.
Capturing Archetypes is a 216-page gallery-style book with a foreword by filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro (Pacific Rim), and an introduction by Sideshow Collectibles creative director Tom Gilliland. Gilliland writes that, "the book you hold in your hands represents the result of an authentic process: the artistic culmination of our ambition to capture the essence of a subject." He adds that, "this book is also about the images and is equally a celebration of our photography," which is something that everyone who flips through its pages will agree with, even if they are not a fan of the collectibles or the properties that they represent.
Principal photography for Capturing Archetypes is credited to Ginny Guzman and Jeannette Villarreal, with "image graphics" credited to another team at Sideshow. The majority of the pages in the book are black and feature close-up shots of figures that span two pages (with a special pull-out of Jessica Rabbit in the middle). Lighting plays such an important role. Shadows on the biceps and across the faces of the dynamically posed statues make them feel incredibly real, and the attention to detail that Sideshow has put into every piece shows on the glossy pages.
There are a few pieces that we wish had been photographed from different angles because some of the details are hidden or cropped out of the frame, but the book does include a generous amount of statues, which is preferable over having more views of less figures.
There are various quotes throughout Capturing Archetypes from comics and films that relate to specific figures. We would have liked to see stats next to each of the pieces instead (name, year, format, etc.), but that information is included on the "Credits" page in the back of the book. Some information about the painters, sculptors, and designers who worked on the sculptures would have been cool too, but as a whole, the book is impressive and provides for hours upon hours of staring in amazement.
Those familiar with Sideshow Collectibles work will appreciate the work that went into making this book, and those who are seeing what the company is capable of for the first time with this book will want to start collecting their art immediately. Capturing Archetypes: Twenty Years of Sideshow Collectibles Art is available now via the SideshowToys website.