Hello, everyone! Today, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before: Review an art book. Now, I feel like doing a segmented review may be difficult, as mostly this book is just art with the occasional forward from one of the people who worked on the show. As such, this review will be more free-form than I usually do. I’ll still tell you whether or not the book is as sweet as syrup or not, but it just won’t be nearly as formal as my usual reviews. Still, I want to give you guys my honest opinions on something I picked up at a comic book convention.
What I wish to talk about today is the “ReBoot Forever” art-book! Now, as a child I loved this cartoon. It was something that is near and dear to my heart. When I was at the convention, I met one of the animators who worked on the show. He was selling this art-book that featured original concept art from the show itself, as well as new artwork from various other artists. The animator who sold it to me was Jim Su, who was a very nice gentleman.
He autographed the book for me, as well as selling it to me for 7 dollars off the cover price. I found a crack in the book later, but he was nice enough to exchange it for a new as well as re-autograph it! Now, for those of you reading this, you may have no idea what I’m talking about. ReBoot is a very old show after all, and there hasn’t been new content from this series since 2001. There’s a reboot of ReBoot on the way, called “ReBoot: Guardian Code”.
ReBoot is unique for being the first ever TV series to be done entirely in CGI. It told place inside a computer and focused on a sprite named Bob, who is a “Guardian” dedicated to protecting his system from viruses. Guardians are like policeman, dedicated to the prevention of viral infections. Bob teams up with the smart and talent Dot Matrix, her brother Enzo, and his dog Frisket. During the series they cross paths with the malicious Megabyte, the insane Hexadecimal, and the malevolent Daemon, as well as various other threats. Bob would also enter “Games”, which are basically video-games run on the computer that Bob and our heroes dwell in. If he doesn’t win, the system ends up damaged, making it more susceptible to harm.
I think it’s finally time I get into the actual review portion of this post! It’s time to discuss this ReBoot art-book. I’ll start by discussing what’s included in this book. The main bulk of the book is taken up by concept art, really good concept art! You see, a fair amount of the storyboards were drawn by Brendan McCarthy, best known for his work on Judge Dredd. So, despite being simple concept images, they are drawn extremely well! Great detail is put into the characters and you can tell that a lot of thought went into the core concepts that made up this series.
The book details early designs of the characters as well. I’ll be honest, I think I liked Hexadecimal’s prototype design better, mainly due to her emerald colorization. She’s also drawn in certain images to look a lot more menacing than she is in the show. I’m still happy with the design they went with, though it would’ve been cool to see a Green Hexadecimal. The book also details abandoned concepts, which is always fun!
Now, I feel I would be spoiling the best parts of this book if I went over all of the abandoned ideas featured inside, so I’ll mainly focus on my favorite in this collection. And this would be “WebWorld”. This concept was for a new show entirely, one that would center around Bob exploring the “WebWorld” and meeting strange and bizarre beings along the way. This series would essentially be a spinoff, and focus on Bob after the events of season 2. WebWorld was canned early on, but most of its concepts and ideas were used in season 3. So, if that arc where they go to the web feels out of place in terms of design and setting, it’s mostly because it was never meant for the main series.
On top of the concept art, there’s also forwards written by the animators on this show. They are well-written and do a good job of explaining concepts that didn’t make it on the show or were changed early. Although, there were times where unused concepts were shown but with no explanations as to why they removed. On certain pages, these forwards seem absent and I feel the book may have benefited from having more of these. Still, what we got is pretty good, and does a good job of showing us what the creators thought of these odd machinations they came up with 20 years ago.
As great as this book, there were some things about it that bothered me. For example, a large bulk of the book is taken up by tribute artwork. These are pictures done by other artists, usually featuring various art-styles and act as sort of fan-based tributes to the series. Now, I don’t have a problem with the artwork itself. In fact, almost every piece of fan-contributed artwork looks amazing! A lot of this stuff was drawn by professional artists, and it shows. Unfortunately, the problem is that this artwork takes up too much of the book, I find.
The tribute art gallery is fairly extensive and features quite a bit of original artwork, but it seems to distract from the main draw of the book: The concept artwork. I’m not saying you can’t have both, I just wish the tribute gallery wasn’t as extensive. Then again, the expanded gallery is touted as a special feature on the back of the book, so maybe I’m just grasping at straws for bad things to say about this book. In all honesty, I find little wrong with the package itself. My only other complaint is that the art on the cover (featured above) looks somewhat like the “Uncanny Valley” to me. Certain characters just look a little weird in 2D, especially Bob and Mouse. Bob’s face just looks a bit too realistic and serious, especially when compared to the cartoon-y duo Hack & Slash featured in the background.
Regardless of minor gripes, I feel that I got a satisfactory product for my money. I got it for a good price, from a fantastic artist, and at an event that ranks as one of the best conventions I’ve ever been to! I highly suggest buying this book, especially if you can get it cheap. Just be forewarned that despite being based off a kids show, it may feature content not suitable for children. There’s language in the book that parents may find offensive, as well as imagery that may frighten children. Also, this book was made in 2011, so it may be difficult to track down outside of conventions. Still, if you can find a copy, I suggest buying it! There’s also another ReBoot art-book called “Art of ReBoot”, that you may also be interested in tracking down. I hoped you all enjoyed my review! I plan on reviewing all seasons of ReBoot at some point, leading up to the eventual premiere of ReBoot: Guardian Code. Look for those in the coming months!