Tag Archives: Noir Art

Noir as Religion: Steranko’s Chandler

Chandler: Red Tide by Jim Steranko

my lil’ copy, published 1976

An Illustrated Novel: CHANDLER… a tough, new detective in a new kind of mystery thriller that explodes with the fury of a lightning bolt!

When Chandler by Jim Steranko was published in 1976, it was cresting the neo-noir wave in which many of the great artists & storytellers of the decade were paying homage to the hard-boiled past. Released just 2 years after Roman Polanski’s Chinatown, even the title (and protagonist’s namesake) is a wink at one of the “big three” noir crime fiction authors, the Holy Trinity of noir to which we offer humble obeisance: The Dashiell Hammett, the James Cain, and the Holy Raymond Chandler.

The book is a sermon. Steranko pounds the pulpit with all the good stuff we’d expect from the gutter genre we’ve come to worship. How’s this for a hook: A dead man named Bramson Todd comes to Chandler looking for revenge. He’s been poisoned and doctors have given him 72 hours to live – 3 days for Chandler to find whodunnit. Chandler’s plot doesn’t disappoint. The hook is a promise that’s delivered like a haymaker; it’s a head-spinning, ears ringing, nose breaking race from one revelation to another.

Chandler Red Tide by Jim Steranko 1

“I’ve got 72 hours to live, Mr. Chandler. I want you to find my murderer.”

Steranko certainly flexes his storytelling muscles, but it’s his art that makes you stop and stare. 2 vertical panels per page, with all the quality of an ad you’d see on an easel at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. These images have a limited color palette & limited space, but there is nothing limiting about their impact. Sexy silhouettes, mean mugs, fisticuffs, wet city streets, & deadly docks are framed with a director’s eye. Steranko is a master stained glass artisan in the Cathedral of the Night.

The Femme Fatale

Our goddess, Ann Crane, is worthy of our devotion. She’s full of lies we want to believe, and she’s got her hooks so deep into Chandler that he believes every one of them. Her shadow looms large over his past and sends us all spinning into the darkest abyss of his pain (the pain of what could have been). I want to tell you that in the end, she doesn’t win. I want to tell you that, but I can’t. She’s femme fatale incarnate; a truly deadly woman.

Chandler Red Tide by Jim Steranko 2

“Stay out of it Ann,” I said. “Promise me. There’s a red tide coming that’ll drown all of us.”

The Anti-Hero

Chandler is the priest of these cold streets. He’s intimate with the prayers of the hard-boiled and more than familiar with the scars of the flagellants. His god insists he work alone; outside of the system, apart from the herd – a shepherd of the sinful hiding their sins. “I’m not a hired gun.” He tells a client, “I don’t like to be shot at.” But his profession often makes him a target anyway, because he gets paid for doing “what other men couldn’t do— or wouldn’t do.”

My Advice: Get you some religion. Read Chandler.

Chandler Red Tide by Jim Steranko 3

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Noir Art | Robert Maguire

Robert Maguire Noir Art

(via littlebunnysunshine.tumblr.com)

Robert Maguire is an easy addition to noirwhale.com’s noir artist gallery— the guy created over 600 amazing covers for pulps since 1950.

He was born in 1921, and only died recently in 2005. He studied at Duke University until he joined the war effort in WWII, and when he returned he quickly joined the Art Students League. During that time, He was the pupil of the relatively famous Frank Reilly. His career was immensely successful, and he produced art for dozens of publishing firms.

He’s known for his mastery of the female form, particularly his emphasis on the femme fatale archetype (the beautiful yet deadly siren of the noir genre). A softness exists in his work which renders it alluring and atmospheric, a window into the colorful pages of the novel beyond. I find his art to be extremely seductive, an ode to the manipulative women who spur the plotlines and control our anti-heroes. Looking at his covers, it’s easy to see why he has become a prized piece of any collectors’ library.

Cover for "Dame in Danger" by Robert Maguire

Cover for “Dame in Danger” by Robert Maguire (via bookpalace.com)

Here are a couple of great anecdotes from Robert that I found in the American Art Archives:

“My first wife was a model, but for the most part, I didn’t go near models. They were too fast living. I used one model quite a bit and she invited my wife and I down to see her dancing around ’53, ’54, and she was dancing in a mafia club. The Copacabana, in fact.

“The models were very ‘active.’ They weren’t real. A lot of them were on drugs. I had one girl posing against a backdrop. She put her arms over her head and slowly slumped to the floor. I had to go over and shake her awake in order to finish the shoot. We had deadlines.”

Unfortunately, the first marriage didn’t last, though his second did, thanks to an introduction to a lovely woman by his friend, Leone. “I was divorced and John introduced me to an available lady whose husband died. That was over 20 years ago when I met Janice.” They’ve been happily married ever since.

“My friends and I were mostly in paperback books. The magazines were dying, mostly due to the advent of television. But we couldn’t wait to get the magazine copies and see what guys like Coby Whitmore were doing. All these great artists, Whitcomb, Al Parker, Bob Peak, Joe DeMers. We weren’t allowed to be that sophisticated. They could do this intricate design work. We tried to do use some sophisticated design and the paperback guys would say, ‘Why don’t you just show the girls with the big boobs.’ I used to work with a very crude individual — he shall be nameless — he was an art director — but one painting he wanted the gown lowered on the woman, ‘show more cleavage.’ So I’d lower it and he’d want it lowered some more. Well, another quarter of an inch and I’d be showing the nipples. That’s anatomy! But still, ‘Well, make it a little lower.’ Any lower and her breasts were down around her stomach. And then he wondered why the girl didn’t look quite right. But you couldn’t argue with some of these people (though of course, I did).”

Slice of Hell by Mike Roscoe Cover by Robert Maguire

Slice of Hell by Mike Roscoe, Cover by Robert Maguire(via pulpcovers.com)

The Last Kill by Charlie Wells Cover by Robert Maguire

The Last Kill by Charlie Wells, Cover by Robert Maguire (via pulpcovers.com)

Hell's Angels by Hank Janson Cover by Robert Maguire

Hell’s Angels by Hank Janson, Cover by Robert Maguire(via pulpcovers.com)

Morals Squad by Samuel A. Krasney Cover by Robert Maguire

Morals Squad by Samuel A. Krasney, Cover by Robert Maguire(via pulpcovers.com)

The Brass Halo by Jack Webb Cover by Robert Maguire

The Brass Halo by Jack Webb, Cover by Robert Maguire(via thatgirlupstairs.tumblr .com)

Dead Man Dead by David Alexander Cover by Robert Maguire

Dead, Man, Dead by David Alexander, Cover by Robert Maguire(via thatgirlupstairs.tumblr.com)

The Night is for Screaming by Robert Turner Cover by Robert Maguire

The Night is for Screaming by Robert Turner, Cover by Robert Maguire (via pulpcovers.com)

Wild to Possess by Gil Brewer Cover by Robert Maguire

Wild to Possess by Gil Brewer, Cover by Robert Maguire(via brudesworld.tumblr.com)

Stone Cold Blonde by Adam Knight Cover by Robert Maguire

Stone Cold Blonde by Adam Knight, Cover by Robert Maguire(via illustrationgallery.com)

Kiss Me Quick by Karl Kramer Cover by Robert Maguire

Kiss Me Quick by Karl Kramer, Cover by Robert Maguire(via killercoversoftheweek.blogspot.com)

Pulp Art Robert Maguire

Cover art by Robert Maguire (via littlebunnysunshine.tumblr.com)

Prelude to Murder by Sterling Noel Cover by Robert Maguire

Prelude to Murder by Sterling Noel, Cover by Robert Maguire (via mudwerks.tumblr.com)

(His most famous book cover is ‘Black Opium’-– I’ve only provided a link to it because it does feature mild nudity)

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Noir Art | Joe Webb

Noir Art Joe Webb Antares and Love VI

Antares & Love VI

British collage artist Joe Webb (1976-Present) has been making waves with his bizarre visual juxtapositions and eye for mixed media harmony. I first discovered his work on Tumblr (where he’s quite fashionable), and was struck by his stunning use of vintage photography. The inclusion of femme fatales and glamorous dames of yesteryear I found particularly charming, making him the first mixed media noir artist to be included on noirWhale.com–

I tracked down Joe on Facebook, and asked him if he would be gracious enough to answer a few questions about his art, and his affable and easy manner was refreshing. Thus, for the first time ever, we have a noirWhale.com artist interview: (Thanks Joe!)

1) Why so many vintage/noir images?

“I just love the look and style of that era. And as it was so long ago now, the ideas I explore in my work; of ghosts and missing people, mirror the fact that these people are mostly gone now. I like the fading fuzzy quality of vintage prints too.”

2) Is there underlying significance to the series of famous film noir femmes with leading men cut out?

“I like the idea of the leading man missing, becoming mysterious and revealing alternative realities in the layers underneath. It gives the work an enigmatic feel which draws you in.”

3) Which artists/directors/photographers are you biggest influences?

“Rene Magritte every time!”

Joe’s art is wonderfully eclectic, and boasts a variety and complexity not captured here. For our purposes, I’m focusing specifically on his most ‘noir’ themed efforts, and will refer you to his various online galleries for a full perusal of his work. (Also, you can purchase dazzling prints here.) Pertaining to his artistic process, he obtains his unique medium in second-hand book and thrift stores. He’s said of this routine,  “I like to accidentally stumble across things that can then become a piece of art. There’s an element of serendipity to it.”

Noir Art Joe Webb Mono


Artist Joe Webb Mono II

Mono II

Art by Joe Webb Kissing Magritte

Kissing Magritte

Joe Webb Art Reunion II

Reunion II

Collage Art Joe Webb Daydream IV

Daydream IV

Joe Webb Collage Absent Minded

Absent Minded

Collage Joe Webb Absent Minded II

Absent Minded II

Noir Art Joe Webb Absent Minded IV

Absent Minded IV

Art Noir Joe Webb Absent Minded V

Absent Minded V

Joe Webb Antares and Love I

Antares & Love I

Artist Joe Webb Antares and Love II

Antares & Love II

Joe Webb Collage Artist Antares and Love III

Antares & Love III

Noir Joe Webb Antares and Love VII

Antares & Love VII

Noir Art Joe Webb Antares and Love VIII

Antares & Love VIII

 Please support Joe! Like his Facebook Page! Buy his Prints!


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Noir Crime Fiction | Horse Two by Anita Dime

Noir Crime Fiction Horse Two by Anita Dime

Horse Two by Anita Dime

Horse Two by Anita Dime is a noir crime fiction short. Currently available only as an e-book, this nine-chapter gallop explodes out of the gates, Anita’s first stab at noir. She’s a gifted writer, fitting in the genre with enough imitation to be recognizable without regurgitation–her voice and style completely her own. I was grateful for her confident prose; it’s unapologetic and real, and never winks at the audience in an amateur sort of way. We’re never reminded that we’re reading noir, and the story is devoid of dross ‘filler’ garbage that clutters so many failed attempts from others.

“The Number Two horse. You bet the Number Two. That’s the one you bet, right?” I stammered. This isn’t happening. My temples were pressing the veins to burst.

“Anita Dime” is actually a sexy pseudonym employed by Julia Huff– an equally talented artist. Horse Two is accompanied by seven original linocuts from Ms. Huff, that lend a concrete visual to an already cinematic tale.

“They’ll kill me to make it even.”

Horse Two is really a story about Carl, a downtrodden gambler, and the worst week of his life at the horse track in the 1930s. Here is the noir definition scorecard:

1) The Seedy Underworld

The setting for Horse Two is most often the track– the visceral tension of the contest clouding the grandstand, while crowds of hopeful dopes throw money at their problems. The power and beauty of the animals is perverted by the depravity of their spectators, all loveliness destroyed by desperation.

2) The Anti-Hero

Carl is the anti-hero of the noir short– he’s filled with hope, but it only serves to increase his torment as his situation worsens. He seems to desire a life away from the track, a life with Lillian perhaps (his on-again, off-again), but he’s waiting for the ‘big-win.’ He’s plunged into the noir filth when he decides to force luck’s hand.

3) The Femme Fatale

Lillian is a strong-willed femme fatale– she’s left Carl before, and she won’t hesitate to do it again if he can’t get his life together. Carl has hidden much of his life from her due to shame, and it’s his lust for a future with her that drives him to desperate ends. In this way she’s fatal; she’s his deadly incentive.

She put the bag down, reached over, and took a long drag from my cigarette. “That’s the closest you’ll ever come to kissing me again.” She flicked it and walked on.

4) Misogyny

The only misogyny in the tale stems from Carl’s dishonesty with Lillian. He keeps her uninformed, and even when he’s in danger (and he’s endangered her), he still treats her like a child; he believes her incapable of helping him or protecting herself. This ‘damsel-in-distress’ theme is further insulting to Lily because she’s unaware of the danger.

“Whatever. It’s done. You better move, and now. Lose your name. Don’t forget the Missus; I’ve seen that blonde. They’ll take her out too.” He smiled.

Horse Two Linocuts by Julia Huff

Linocuts by Julia Huff

5) Redemption

The redemption theme is heavily employed in Horse Two— We meet Lily in the second brief chapter, and it’s apparent that Carl is almost out of chances. His entire motivation stems from his desire to redeem himself in her eyes.

6) Eroticism

Eroticism never makes an appearance. Their sexuality is implied but never addressed; the audience kept aloof save for quick kisses the morning after.

7) Loss of Innocence

I won’t spoil the sick punchline of Horse Two, but Carl becomes desperate enough to do something for which the reader hates him. In this way, we lose our innocence with him, and perhaps more than we’re comfortable acknowledging.

My life’s love–I’d killed it. I would never again watch a race with joy in my heart.

8 ) Smoke

The obligatory homage to smoke is paid in full– beautifully rendered by Ms. Anita Dime.

9) Emasculation

All nine chapters are descending steps of masculinity and Carl plummets down them. As a failure, Carl can never be with Lily– he is constantly trying to define himself but can never attain his ideal (or hers). Horse Two is the story of his emasculation.

“Just, please, I can’t explain.” I didn’t want to tell her that I was not the man she thought she was seeing– certainly not the one she met.

I was only disappointed in the ending– it was good, but I wanted a more brutal conclusion to Carl’s journey. I felt that the consequences should have been more severe. Perhaps I’m wrong– read it for yourself and shoot me an email. Anita Dime AKA Julia Huff gave us a wonderful piece of noir crime fiction; drop a couple of bucks and download it for your collection.


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Noir Art | Jean-Gabriel Domergue

The “Noir Art” segment on NoirWhale.com is intended to showcase the artistic abilities and contributions of significant individuals in the noir genre. These men and women create the vibrant backdrops our beloved anti-heroes and dames inhabit, and lend character to the settings that have come to define noir.

Noir Art Jean-Gabriel Domergue

(via linse-rose.tumblr.com)

Jean-Gabriel Domerge was born in the city Bordeaux, which may be found in Southwestern France, on March 4th, 1889. As a young man, he studied art at the world renown École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (National School of Fine Arts) in Paris, which was founded in 1648. The school’s central instruction program was based upon a series of anonymous tests and competitions which culminate in the Prix de Rome. The winner of which would receive a bursary (a grant) and be sent to the French Academy in Rome for a season to practice their art. Jean-Gabriel, in 1911, won for the painting category. Thus he was given a rare opportunity to practice and enhance his art at an earlier stage of his career.

“Domergue invented a new type of woman : thin, airy, elegant, with a swanlike neck and wide seductive eyes which gaze upon the world with longing.”

From 1920 onward, his work revolved almost exclusive around the female portrait. He even famously claimed to be the inventor of the ‘pin-up’– an art-form very closely tied to much of the noir genre, as the covers of ‘pulps’ perpetuated it into the main stream. Late in his life he was the curator of the public museum, Musée Jacquemart-André, and he organized several high profile exhibitions (Van Gogh, Goya, Toulouse-Lautrec, among others). He died on November 16th, 1962 on a sidewalk in Paris.

Domergue’s strokes are as delicate as the women he paints, their skin warm, flawless, and inviting. Their men serve as props only, each an incomplete cardboard cutout or piece of dark/bland scenery behind an intoxicating palette of soft color. As convicting as their lips may appear, it’s their eyes that draw the viewer into the canvas; squinting softly, Domergue paints them as windows into the empowered female– she lives in a world of certainties, and the viewer is barely worthy of her gaze. These women are femme fatales, dames of luxury, worshiped for their beauty and fragility– when in reality their perceived weakness is as fake as their crimson pout.

Jean-Gabriel Domergue

(via diabolique-mon-ange.tumblr.com)

Jean-Gabriel Domergue Portraits

(via inspirationasunder.tumblr.com)

Jean-Gabriel Domergue Woman

(via worldpaintings.tumblr.com)

Jean-Gabriel Domergue Women

(via worldpaintings.tumblr.com)

Painter Jean-Gabriel Domergue

(via noonesnemesis.tumblr.com)


French Painting Jean-Gabriel Domergue

(via noonesnemesis.tumblr.com)

French Painter Jean-Gabriel Domergue

(via anichta.tumblr.com)

Walk to the Folies Bergeres Jean-Gabriel Domergue

Walk to the Folies Bergeres (date unknown) (via artaddictsanonymous.tumblr.com)

Noir Art Jean-Gabriel Domergue

(via worldpaintings.tumblr.com)

Portrait of Madame O-Deril 1930 Jean-Gabriel Domergue

Portrait of Madame O’Deril, 1930 (via tender-isthe-night.tumblr.com)

Noir Artist Jean-Gabriel Domergue

(via pollysonne.tumblr.com)

Woman with Greyhounds 1930 Jean-Gabriel Domergue

Woman with Greyhounds, 1930 (via agence-kilt.tumblr.com)

Noir Art Jean-Gabriel Domergue

(via floodedgus.tumblr.com)

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Noir Comics | Girl & Boy by Andrew Tunney

Girl and Boy by Andrew Tunney

Girl & Boy by Andrew Tunney

I love reading new noir comics from new noir creators! Girl & Boy by UK artist Andrew Tunney is beautifully elegiac; a fresh riff on an archaic theme. His art is wonderfully fresh, and his use of light and shadow (unlike many noir artists) seems to illuminate the work rather than obscure. At 36 pages in entirety, the comic reads like swift hip hop or beatnik poetry– rhythmically haunting and emotionally charged.

Noir Comic Girl and Boy

Manchester, England


Girl and Boy are essentially the only characters in the story. I had the impression that Manchester had melted around them, a vacant playground for their exploits. Their relationship is the focal point of the comic, and is composed of a broad spectrum of emotions; lust, love, fear, depression, and anger among them.

Noir Artist Andrew Tunney

But only so we don’t get old.


“The crime was love and you made me the victim.”

Girl’s central crisis is in embracing solitude; learning to not only accept herself but to become empowered in the accepting. Thematically, trust and redemption move the plot into intellectually stimulating territory, and beg questions of the text. Tunney’s work is daring, because casting a woman as the lead invites a plethora of complications for the male author. Notoriously, the noir genre has a habit of defining females by male expectation, which reduces them to rote regurgitations of sexually stimulating yet emotionally shallow puppets. Initially, I was afraid that the author was making the same mistakes, (which however noir they may be, don’t coincide with the newest movements in the genre which rejects these notions) but he develops Girl nicely, in a way that I feel many women will find both relate-able and empowering.

Girl and Boy by Andrew Tunney

Boy in the stairwell (Such a great panel)

Girl & Boy is a brief noir comic with layers; in the way even a small onion may leave your eyes wet. You can purchase or preview Girl & Boy here.

Noir Comics Girl and Boy

Now some are only mine and some I’ve lost forever.

Girl and Boy by Andrew Tunney

I did this to myself. I have no one to blame. No.


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Noir Art | Victor Kalin

Noir Art Victor Kalin

Victor Kalin (this reminds me so much of Parker) (via mudwerks.tumblr.com)

Victor Kalin is a remarkably obscure noir artist. Although he has garnered an impressive amount of acclaim in recent years, there is relatively little data about his life available. He was born in Belleville in 1919 and died in 1991. He attended the University of Kansas during the ’40s. Throughout his professional career, he was an illustrator, a painter, and a teacher. Walt Reed (Illustrator in America) said of Victor:

“[Kalin’s] first illustrations were done for The American Weekly but for many years the majority of his pictures were painted for paperback book covers.Unlike many artists who develop a strong, easily identifiable technique, he was so interested in experimentation that his work looked continually new.”

Victor was extremely skilled at composing a cover, each element dramatically sized and spaced to create continually fascinating results. His strength appears to be his fluidity– easily transitioning from realism to abstract stylings when a fresh approach serves the piece. Kalin doesn’t seem to have a definable style, as his strokes, textures, and contrasts vary continually; affording his work a freshness that sets him apart from his contemporaries. In the competitive world that was pulp cover illustration, Victor’s flexibility granted him innumerable victories and contracts. I love his work– it has always struck me as brilliantly wrought, a narrative style of illustration that begs the viewer to look deeper.

Victor Kalin Pulp

Deadly Beloved by Willaim Ard, Cover by Victor Kalin (via flickr.com)

Pulp Covers Victor Kalin

The Great Mistake by Mary Roberts Rinehart, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)

Noir Artist Victor Kalin

The Lineup by Frank Kane, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)

Illustration Victor Kalin

Assignment: Murder by Donald Hamilton, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)

Victor Kalin Illustrator

Suddenly A Corpse by Hal Masur, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)

Victor Kalin Paintings

Hang by Your Neck by Henry Kane, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)

Victor Kalin Noir Art

The Five Pennies by Grady Johnson, Cover by Victor Kalin

Victor Kalin Noir Artist

Murder on Broadway by Hal Masur, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)

Noir Fiction Victor Kalin

Green Light for Death by Frank Kane, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)

Noir Crime Fiction Victor Kalin

Grave Danger by Frank Kane, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)

Noir Artist Victor Kalin

The Murder Room by Paul E. Walsh, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)

Victor Kalin Pinup

Have Nude, Will Travel by Clyde Allison, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)

Pin-up Victor Kalin

Blackmail, Inc. by Robert Kyle, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)

Femme Fatale Victor Kalin

Trigger Mortis by Frank Kane, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)

Victor Kalin Femme Fatales

Slay Ride by Frank Kane, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)

Noir Art Victor Kalin

A Real Gone Guy by Frank Kane, Cover by Victor Kalin (via pulpcovers.com)


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Noir Art | Edwin Georgi

Noir Art Edwin Georgi

Redbook, “Old Miguel’s Girl” (1956)

I’m shocked by how little information I was able to obtain about this incredible noir artist (honestly, I forgot what life was like before wikipedia). The info I did find was fascinating.

Edwin Georgi was born in 1896 and died in 1964 at the age of 68. He was a pilot in WWI– though I was unable to gather details about his specific tour of duty. Upon returning from the war, he attended Princeton. Eventually he abandoned his education to pursue writing as a full time profession. He was very ambitious, but a turn of fate pushed him another way. He was hired on to write copy for an ad agency, but was persuaded by his employer that he would make a better painter than a writer. Thus his career in illustration began.

Remarkably, he was largely self-taught. He worked his way up the artistic food chain with experience at various ad groups and agencies. His work is known in several national publications; Cosmo, Esquire, Redbook, Ladies’ Home Journal, and The Saturday Evening Post.

Edwin’s style is striking. Very few artists exude the dynamic movement of color as he does. His paintings have a texture that is entirely unique– his staccato strokes seem akin to pointillism, and weave a mesh of breathtaking pallets. Most noir art is obsessed with light and shadow, but Edwin Georgi’s art oscillates betwixt hue and contrast. He’s one of my absolute favorite pulp/pin-up style artists, and I’m grateful to add him to NoirWhale.

Pulp Art Edwin Georgi

Saturday Evening Post, “The Flashy Type” (1958)

Edwin Georgi Noir Art

Saturday Evening Post, Story Art (1957)

Edwin Georgi

“Elizabeth Dayton was entranced with this beautiful place–but she was sure that she was being watched.”

Edwin Georgi Illustration

“Please,” she said. “Don’t start it all over. Please go away now.”

Pulp Art Edwin Georgi

Love the colors in this one

Edwin Georgi

“She stepped quickly out of her dress. She was pitifully young–and frightened to death.”

Femme Fatale Edwin Georgi

“At first her steps were hesitant and uncertain, but her confidence increased as she grew absorbed.”

Illustrator Edwin Georgi

I stared across the room. Who had chosen “Murder Will Out” for Stella?

Edwin Georgi

“Boat Fire” (19??)

Noir Artist Edwin Georgi

Redbook, “Fiesta of Love” (1957)

Edwin Georgi

Story Art (1955)

Edwin Georgi

Saturday Evening Post, “Double Jeopardy” (1958)

*Facts and Images borrowed from :




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Noir Art | Mike Ludlow

Noir Art Mike Ludlow

Mike Ludlow (via babypinkeyeshadow.tumblr.com)

Mike Ludlow is an American illustrator of no small talent. Although his artistic skills are varied (he spent much of his career crafting wonderfully clean and detailed advertisements) his deft hand with the ‘pin-up girl’ is where his great gift becomes apparent. For many years he painted the widely popular Esquire pin-up girls– completing the entire 12 month calender in 1957 by himself. Biographical details on this American Icon are very difficult to find, though I located tributes to Mr. Ludlow on various specialty blogs like my own (see bottom of post).

Here is what I borrowed: (Thanks KillerCoversofTheWeek!)

According to a brief biography from The Great American Pin-Up (1996), by Charles G. Martignette and Louis K. Meisel:

Ludlow was a glamour illustrator who did much pin-up work in the late 1950s for Esquire. He painted the entire twelve-page calendar for 1957–the last published by the magazine. His pin-ups also appeared in the series of three-page centerfolds known as Esquire’s Lady Fair. For these works, Ludlow often called on actresses like Virginia Mayo and popular personalities like Betsy Von Furstenberg in addition to professional models.

Besides painting his Esquire pin-ups, Ludlow had another entire career as an illustrator of romance articles, providing pictures of beautiful women to mainstream magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping, Collier’s, and Family Circle. From 1950 to 1960, he also painted many front covers for paperback novels, including among his clients Pocket Books, Dell Books, and Bantam Books. All his paperback covers had a strong air of sensuality and featured sexy pin-up girls as the main figures.

Ludlow was born in 1921 and grew up in Buffalo, New York. He attended the Art Students League, where he studied with William McNulty. His first commercial art assignment, for the Sunday supplement of the [New York] Journal American, came in 1948. From the beginning, Ludlow has specialized in glamorous subjects and made beautiful women his trademark.

The title image for this article was the very first that I’d seen of Ludlow’s work, and I was instantly captured. Whenever I look at it, I always want to know what she’s saying, but I simultaneously feel that somehow it won’t matter–it’s too late anyway. He’s one of my favorite noir artists, and it’s a shame that he isn’t more widely known.

Mike Ludlow Artist

(via earntotal.blogspot.com)

Mike Ludlow illustrator

(via mudwerks.tumblr.com)

Mike Ludlow Art

(via matthewedwards.tumblr.com)

Mike Ludlow Femme Fatale

(via hollyhocksandtulips.tumblr.com)

Mike Ludlow Women

(via withnailrules.tumblr.com)

Mike Ludlow Magazines

(via littlebunnysunshine.tumblr.com)

Mike Ludlow Pinup

(via pestaitrappen.tumblr.com)

Mike Ludlow Book Covers

Border Town by Carroll Graham, Cover Art by Mike Ludlow (via pulpcovers.com)

Mike Ludlow Pulp Cover

See You at the Morgue by Lawrence G. Blochman, Cover Art by Mike Ludlow (via micdel.tumblr.com)

Mike Ludlow Pulps

Brother Death by John Lodwick, Cover Art by Mike Ludlow (via pulpcovers.com)





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Noir Art | Frank Miller

Noir Art Frank Miller Batman

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (via ramonton.tumblr.com)

“The noir hero is a knight in blood caked armor. He’s dirty and he does his best to deny the fact that he’s a hero the whole time.”

Frank Miller has a very polarized fan-base. Some worship him as the incredible artist, writer, and contributor that gave us some of the most recognizable comics of the last 30 years, while others feel that he’s devolved into a sloppy, jaded old man who’s well has run dry. I don’t know where I stand personally. Instead of doing the norm by providing an in depth biographical overview of his life and accomplishments, I’d rather explain my own experience with Mr. Miller’s work. As for biography, let this suffice: He was born January 27th, 1957, raised in Montpelier, Vermont, the fifth of seven children. He’s bounced coast-to-coast, living first in Hell’s Kitchen then Los Angeles, then back again.

I remember when I first saw Frank Miller’s work, I was a seventeen year old wasting an afternoon at Border’s with a friend. Invariably, I found myself thumbing the crisp pages of the latest science fiction, then fantasy novels– but, as was my habit, I stopped at the comics aisle, their glossy pages and appealing art too pretty to resist. I recall hefting a thick book from the bottom shelf,  a black and white bound hardcover called “The Art of Sin City.”

I was perplexed. As I turned the pages, I was surprised to not find anything remotely  Las Vegas–the only reference I had for ‘Sin City’ at the time– save the seductively inked woman in the cowboy chaps and tangled in a lasso. The art was beautiful, and the style intoxicating, but the content quickly overwhelmed me. My cheeks reddened, and as my friend approached I quickly returned the book to the shelf. I didn’t mention it to him, but it was the most interesting book that I saw that day– and the only one I can remember presently. Ten years have passed between then and now, and I can still remember the feeling I had when I held that book, like it was going to suck me in. That’s impact. That’s Frank Miller.

Fast forward to Emerald City Comic Con, 2010. I had begun to dabble in comics for the first time, collecting various floppies and trades– mostly in search of lasting appeal. Super heroes bored me for the most part, and I had latched on to Conan The Cimmerian as a possible obsession, but it wasn’t full blown yet. I expressed interest in “Criminal” by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, but I was yet to read any of it, my interest more in following the buzz of the crowd than in staking out any real corner of the con for myself. Enter Matt P., whom I had met only hours before, asking me, “What books do you read?”– In a moment of pure embarrassment, I honestly didn’t have an answer for him. But as the con wore on, and I my tasting more widespread, I found a genre I had seldom looked at before; “noir.”

I couldn’t get enough ‘noir,’ even if I couldn’t exactly define it, much less describe it to anyone. Matt asked me again about the books I liked, and after throwing him a few titles he immediately prescribed “Sin City.” Returning from the Con, I hopped online and bought “The Hard Goodbye” on faith and recommendation. The rest is history.

When I received the title in the mail, I didn’t even realize it was the same stuff that had held me captive ten years gone until I cracked the cover. As I fanned the pages, the result was the same– the feeling of exuberance came rushing back.

Since then, I’ve read far more of his work– Dining on his Batman contributions, Daredevil, Ronin, and 300; but his masterpiece will forever be Sin City (at least to me). As his style has evolved, I’ve found that I like him less– his later work feels more rushed and less concerned with the clean and stark contrasts of his earlier days. Perhaps he’s evolved this way to escape the crisp lines and defined boundaries of his youth. Maybe he’s testing us, seeing how loyal we’ll remain to him– I don’t truly know. But I do know that there was pure blissful magic flowing from his pen at various periods of his life, and for that the noir genre and myself are forever indebted.

Batman The Dark Knight Returns Frank Miller

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (via comicbookpanels.tumblr.com)

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (via mrhypnotic.tumblr.com)

Batman Frank Miller

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (via nonsensemisa.tumblr.com)

Sin City: The Babe Wore Red

Sin City: The Babe Wore Red (via mk-goldenmoon.com)

Sin City: That Yellow Bastard

Sin City: That Yellow Bastard (via mk-goldenmoon.com)

Sin City: The Hard Goodbye

Sin City: The Hard Goodbye (via mk-goldenmoon.com)

Noir Art Frank Miller

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (via beam2k.tumblr.com)

Noir Art Frank Miller

Sin City: The Hard Goodbye (via mk-goldenmoon.com)

Sin City Frank Miller

Sin City: The Hard Goodbye (via gamesmusicandyoutube.tumblr.com)

Noir Art Frank Miller

Sin City: Silent Night (via mk-goldenmoon.com)

Frank Miller Sin City

Sin City: The Babe Wore Red (via mk-goldemoon.com)


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