Now that Joss Whedon’s ‘The Avengers’ is dominating multiplexes from coast to coast, concept artists who helped the director shape his cosmic vision are sharing some of the concept art that led to the eventual blockbuster.

Illustrator Nathan Schroeder and concept designer Steve Jung posted various, in-depth designs pertaining to ‘The Avengers,’ which help us understand how Whedon brought this comic-book world to the big screen. Of course, teams of thousands worked to realize these visions, but it’s pretty stunning how close to “reality” these sketches are … as if Whedon simply lifted them off the page and dropped them on the screen.

Schroeder’s site has tons of ‘Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,’ ‘X-Men’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ images – to name just a few. You can get lost exploring these visual worlds. For now, here are some samplings of ‘Avengers’ concept art (you can click each image to make it larger). What do you think?