Captain Marvel (Pinar Toprak)

Released in 2019, "Captain Marvel" was the 21st film in the MCU. Marvel wanted a female-led superhero flick, and the character of Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers had been a massive comics fan favorite in recent years, under the new direction from writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. In the end, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck were selected as directors, and the script went through several revisions to land on the final vision, one which introduced the Skrull to the cinematic universe, and played heavily with the CG de-aging technology that Marvel had been exploring for several films now, used here to give us a younger Nick Fury, as this story is essentially a prequel, set in 1995, showing the early days of S.H.I.E.L.D. The plot breaks the chronological setup of a typical origin story, here we begin with 'Vers', an amnesiac Kree warrior, who only comes to learn later in the story that she is actually Carol Danvers, a former fighter pilot from Earth, who obtained super-human powers that make her the most powerful woman in the universe. In the end, audience and critical reaction was mixed, though the film did extremely well financially. Though there are plenty of entertaining elements, personally, I found the story structure a bit convoluted, which robbed me of the ability to fully invest emotionally into Carol's journey. 

Joining the adventure was Turkish-American composer Pinar Toprak. After graduating from Berklee, she interned at Paramount, and then worked for Zimmer's Remote Control Studios, before branching off on her own, working on video games, television, and establishing cred as a dramatic film composer. She was the first woman to compose a score for the MCU, a very high-pressure assignment for the up-and-coming composer, but she rose to the occasion admirably. Toprak anchors her score around a powerful theme for Carol, with the composer wanting the tune to be immediately recognizable, even from just hearing the first two notes. There is supporting material for the Kree and Skrull, though these themes aren't particularly distinct. Ultimately, where the score shines is in the captivating action music, which packs a real punch, and Toprak even musically tips the hat to the 90's setting by including electric guitar in an homage to similar action scores of the era, like Michael Kamen's "Lethal Weapon" series, to complement the robust orchestral writing.

I'd started this project earlier in the year (to go along with my set for "The Marvels"), then set it aside for a while. Sometimes you just run out of steam, and need to come back later with fresh eyes. I ended up largely keeping the same text treatment as I'd done for the sequel score (as I didn't particularly like the font used on the actual album cover for this), but tweaked it a little bit to be less horizontally stretched. The score album was released digitally by Marvel Music, containing the majority of the score. I was never a huge fan of the cover art, nor the top red banner, so it was fun to play around with all the colorful artwork produced for the film. I present a total of fourteen new covers.

Covers 1-5 are my selections from the official theatrical posters. Cover 1 required a bit of patch work, as I could only find the poster which included the Kree warrior group at the bottom. I toyed with keeping them in the composition, but it just felt too crammed, and didn't leave good space for the title. So in the end, I had to scrap together some alternate versions that I found online to try to remove them entirely and clean up that bottom portion of the image. Covers 2-4 were all relatively simple, no major edits needed to the art, just clean-up, the occasional color tweak. The main issue was figuring out composition and spacing, and experimenting with different font stylings. There's also issues you run across, that one would probably never think about unless you're doing this work--when you have a full body pose of a hero stance, placing the title can be tricky. If you go below the wait, you have way too much dead space, if you go higher up, the arms get blocked out. Anyways, finding the proper spacing and placement for everything was tricky.

Covers 6 and 7 are for the special film presentations--IMAX and Dolby. I made some tweaks for the IMAX image, to expand the sides out a bit more, and move up some of the jets at the bottom for better framing. Ultimately, again the issue with a full-body, diagonal pose, is figuring out spacing and balance. 

Covers 8-10 use artwork used for various film magazine publications--Total-Film, Entertainment Weekly, and Empire Magazine. All of these needed a bit of touch-up, but I think they're a fun addition.

Covers 11 and 12 were taken from the "Art of..." book, with pieces painted by Andy Park, the director of Visual Development at Marvel Studios. For Cover 11, I shifted the image down a bit, and cloned material to add a bit more spacing for the text credit, and did some minor color tweaks. Cover 12 was tricky, as the overall composition is unusual. The actual book cover had the title in the top right corner, which I didn't care for. I tried shrinking the title and putting it in the small gap by Carol's feet, but again, this didn't feel right, and then created way too much dead space at the top of the image, with all the weight at the bottom. In the end, I used various techniques to expand both the bottom (just a bit, to fit the composer credit), as well as the top, which was a bit more detailed, to make all the text removal and expanded area blending feel clean and smooth, without glaring cloning give-aways. I then had to over-lay the characters that I wanted to be above the title, and which elements would keep their glow above or below that element. In the end, it's a bit of an odd one, I normally wouldn't have the main film logo so obscured, but I feel this placement makes the image a bit more dynamic and maintains a smoother balance of weight than any other versions I could think of.

Finally, Covers 13 and 14 use two pieces of commissioned fan art. Cover 13 uses a piece by Tracie Ching, created for the Poster Posse collection, which just required a few tweaks to better fit the tighter crop. Finally, Cover 14 uses artwork by Matt Ferguson, who is the master of these kinds of bold, iconic,  minimalist posters. He had an alternate version with several exploding space-ships above the planet, but in the end, they were a bit too distracting, as they would have cluttered the space under the title, so I mostly worked off of a version that didn't feature them. I moved the whole planet up, had to do some cloning to remove text, and then echoed Matt's more minimal take on the title logo. Another one that required lots of small edits and a lot of shifting things around, trying to get the right spacing and balance, but in the end, I'm happy with the result. 

Hope you enjoy the collection, and let me know your favorites!

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