Mini-Review: Mega Man: Official Complete Works
January 14, 2010
Anyone who has read through the Robot Masters On Parade series of PTB entries has to know by now that I love official Mega Man classic Robot Master artwork. There's just something about those larger-than-life characters that strike a chord with me, so when Capcom and UDON Entertainment teamed up to bring the Japanese tome full of classic artwork to North America in English as Mega Man: Official Complete Works, I knew I had to snap the book up. I'm glad that I did, as it's loaded with all sorts of character artwork, box art, conceptual sketches (for instance, Bubble Man with a faucet for a head), promotional material, and — best of all — extensive comments from Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune and several other artists who have worked on the franchise in which they explain why certain characters look like they do. Nearly every game in the series gets a few pages in the spotlight including the more obscure titles such as The Wily Wars, Battle & Chase, Mega Man Soccer, and even a little Super Adventure Rockman. It's a fascinating window into the Mega Man creative process and especially interesting to see the art style develop over the years, but it is lacking in a few places.
As the book was originally published in Japanese, the box art sections focus almost exclusively on the Japanese versions of the various Mega Man games. Don't expect to see the legendary horrible artwork from the North American version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System game, for example. There is a four-page spread towards the end of the book that looks at international artwork, but omits many images from the catalog of artwork created for places outside of Japan (but don't worry; that mind-melting picture of someone's creepy uncle at silver suit fetish fantasy camp that served as the cover for the European version Mega Man 2 is included). Moreover, some of the more interesting artwork is scaled down to the size of a postage stamp, making it extremely difficult to make out just what is going on in the scene. The biggest sin, however, is the complete exclusion of artwork created for Mega Man 9.
Fans of Capcom's blue bomber owe it to themselves to leaf through Mega Man: Official Complete Works. It's a little more than two hundred pages filled with artwork and commentary, and since that artwork is so detailed and expressive, it's impossible not to recommend. Publisher UDON has a few sample pages for review over at their website, and I'll leave you now with examples of some of my favorite artwork from the book via The Mega Man Network's extensive archive.
Dr. Wily tinkers with a robot
Rough sketch of Time Man (Mega Man: Powered Up)
Dr. Wily's machine (Mega Man 2)
Promotional image (Mega Man 2)
Dr. Cossack and his Cossack Catcher (Mega Man 4)
Elec Man (Mega Man: Powered Up)
Promotional Image (Mega Man: The Wily Wars)
Mega Man and Rush