In case you happen to be one of the unfortunate versions of yourself to have never experienced it, Rick and Morty is an animated TV series hilarious and cynical in equal parts, chronicling the interstellar and cross-dimensional adventures of a misanthropic and sociopathic mad scientist and his long-suffering grandson sidekick.
Written by James Siciliano, a writers’ assistant on the show and scripter of season three episode Morty’s Mind Blowers, this collection showcases the myriad characters, aliens, settings and technology that make up the high-concept sci-fi rigmarole.
Many entries include the sketches of a character’s original concept (or show creator Justin Roiland’s hasty scrawls on the writers’ room whiteboard), often along with handwritten notes to further realise them (Morty: “Fingers small, like hands of an 8-year-old girl”; testicle monsters: “We need to shift away from penisy”). Cross-referencing makes dipping in and out of the book straightforward, and the descriptions of characters’ geneses highlight minutiae of their design you never even noticed.
The unofficial motto of the show’s art team is “Make It Weird” and the hundreds of featured images showcase a vast creative variance that reinforces just how endlessly inventive the series is, also revealing just how much each creation is thought out, from the general look and feel of the dozens of alien races, to tiny details like the precise shape of Rick’s nose or the exact length of Morty’s hair. The wealth of trivia included relates some specific inspirations such as the armoured suits used on Purge Planet being an amalgamation of Iron Man and Mega Man, Birdperson being modelled after Hawk from Buck Rodgers, Squanchy being based on Snarf from Thundercats, and Gearhead being inspired by Roboto from Masters of the Universe.
The large pages (slightly longer and wider than A4) give plenty of space to property recreate the artwork, the paper is of a glossy, high-quality thickness that can easily withstand repeated flicking back and forth, and the cover is a hefty (glow in the dark!) hardback that gives the book enough weight to be used as an impromptu weapon to ward off any advancing Zigerions.
As well as a beautiful artwork collection and a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most acclaimed shows of recent years, The Art of Rick and Morty is also a fascinating glimpse at the process of animation itself, explaining the meticulous attention to detail with which it’s designed and just how much thought and consideration goes into every frame.
THE ART OF RICK AND MORTY / AUTHOR: JAMES SICILIANO / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW