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Ever wondered what M.O.D.O.K. looks like inside that floating chair of his? Curious how a Hulk can sustain a ton of damage and keep on coming? Did you ever look up at the stars and ponder the biological mechanics of Deadpool's regenerative abilities?
Well, Insight Editions have you covered with the upcoming Marvel Anatomy: A Scientific Study of the Superhuman which takes the House of Ideas to biology class with a Kirby-meets-da Vinci approach to fan favorite heroes and villains. Framed as a top-secret scientific dossier compiled by T'Challa/Black Panther, the book (on sale Oct. 25) was written by Mark Sumerak and Daniel Wallace and rocks a plethora of eye-popping dissection illustrations from Jonah Lobe.
"I relied on models, photos, and anatomy books to help me draw their insides," the artist tells SYFY WIRE. "I had to think very carefully about what people wanted to see from this boo since most folks are not especially interested in bowels and tendons and cartilage. The audience wants to see Hulk's muscle structure, the shape-changing cells of Mystique, the neurons in M.O.D.O.K.'s brain, or the techno-organic virus that's slowly consuming Cable's physiology. And thankfully, I wasn't confined to biology alone! I got the opportunity to design never-before-seen tech, like the nanites in Iron Man's armor, and the inner workings of Cyclops' visor. I even got to design cross-sections of the Invisible Woman's shields, and depict the Pym particle that allows Ant-Man and Wasp to grow and shrink on command."
For almost a decade, Lobe worked at Bethesda Softworks as a creature and character designer for hit video game franchises like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, making him the perfect candidate for this project. "I've been studying bones and muscles for quite a while now," he says. "As a result, I came to Marvel Anatomy equipped with a powerful understanding of what exactly is going on under our skin. Furthermore, creature design has helped me to better understand how to make designs both unique and impactful, so that, in depicting pre-existing characters with their own outfits, personalities, and agendas, I knew what to focus my efforts."
Head below for an exclusive first look at five exclusive spreads, complete with commentary from Lobe...
"One of my favorite illustrations — not because it's one of my best, but because it represents one of the biggest creative chances I took with this book. I figured shape-shifters needed to be malleable down to their core, so I gave the Skrull skeletons a partitioned look with solid islands of bones connected by a glue of cartilage. We even invented a word to describe this appearance: 'osteo-tectonics.' To my surprise, Marvel approved the idea... which made me love them even more."
"How does a Hulk take a hit and keep on ticking? With She-Hulk, I illustrated this idea by showing how the cytoplasm in her cells acts as crash-pads, becoming solid upon impact and then reverting to liquid just a second later."
"Such a difficult exercise, trying to imagine the insides of Mr. Fantastic, who can bend and flatten along any axis. Ultimately, I illustrated this concept by showing how his bones, organs, and cellular structures all contort on an atomic level."
Namor the Sub-Mariner
"This book was written by Black Panther, so I knew I had to highlight the disdainful personality of his arch-rival, Namor the Sub-Mariner."
"There's fun and then there's fun. Designing M.O.D.O.K.'s interior was a delightful challenge, considering he's just a head with arms and legs. I drew him with a couch-potato slouch — he sits in an La-Z-Boy, after all — and tried to show off the fatty growth that is his brain."
"Humor is an essential ingredient to every Deadpool illustration, and the process by which Wade Wilson regenerates is both horrifying and hilarious."
Lobe concludes: "To me, nothing is more fun than drawing nonhumans, so characters like Groot, Rocket, Man-Thing, Ghost-Rider, and Sandman presented me with unique opportunities to flex my creative muscles. The most challenging bits were when I needed to design the unique anatomy of someone who looked completely human like Jean Grey, Storm, Spider-Man or the Spider-people. And yet, these characters are all so colorful and unique, that I never really ran out of possibilities in illustrating them! Sure, Storm's skeleton might look normal, but have you ever seen that crawling with electricity? You have now..."
Marvel Anatomy: A Scientific Study of the Superhuman goes on sale Tuesday, Oct. 25.
Looking for more sci-fi content? Check out shows like Resident Alien, Brave New World, Project Blue Book, Eureka, Heroes, Intergalactic, and more streaming now on Peacock.