Tag Archives: Noir Art

Noir Art | Francesco Francavilla

Noir Art Nightmare Town Dashiell Hammett Francesco Francavilla

“Nightmare Town” by Dashiell Hammett and Francesco Francavilla

Franceso Francavilla is an acclaimed noir artist known for his resurrected pulp style. Italian by birth, he’s most recognized for his own series “The Black Coat” as well as his work on “Zorro.” Most recently, he’s been doing beautiful work for “Detective Comics” with Scott Snyder. I first came into contact with his noir -ish style as I was reading the “Scalped” series by Jason Aaron, although he only did one issue his great skill was obvious. As I began to more fully research him, the first thing that became apparent was how prolific he is. He owns, runs, and operates several blogs where he frequently posts new work. The most inspiring aspect of his work ethic is the fact that each of the pieces he posts seem so well developed. He’s not churning out anything sub-par, it’s all excellent.

Currently, you can find him working on Marvel’s “Black Panther: The Man Without Fear” and “Captain America and Bucky” (the latter written by Ed Brubaker, *nerdgasm). Other noteworthy projects include: “Fear Agent” with Rick Remender, Dark Horse Presents “The Black Beetle,” and “Swamp Thing” also with Scott Snyder. My favorite thing that Mr. Francavilla has done is illustrating the short story “Nightmare Town” by Dashiell Hammett.

Here are his blogs and several blogs he participates in:







Follow him on Twitter: @f_francavilla

*All images are property of Francesco Francavilla.

Noir Art Scalped Tribute Francesco Francavilla

Scalped Cover Tribute

Noir Art Francesco Francavilla Scream of Fear

Scream of Fear

Noir Art Dark Shadows 04 Cover Francesco Francavilla

Dark Shadows #4

Noir Art Dark Shadows 08 Cover Francesco Francavilla

Dark Shadows #8

Noir Art Sarge Steel Francesco Francavilla

Sarge Steel

Noir Art Francesco Francavilla Thats All Folks

That’s All Folks

Noir Art Francesco Francavilla The Batman in Crimson Harvest

The Batman in Crimson Harvest

Noir Art The Batman 1935 Francesco Francavilla

The Batman 1935

Noir Art The Sandman Francesco Francavilla

The Sandman

Noir Art The Shadow 01 Cover Francesco Francavilla

The Shadow #1

Noir Art Silver Sable Francesco Francavilla

Silver Sable

Noir Art Francesco Francavilla Spencer Tracy in Riffraff with Jean Harlow

Spencer Tracy in Riffraff with Jean Harlow

Noir Art Francesco Francavila Kara Bocek Part 09

Kara Bocek Part 9

Noir Art Dizzy Francesco Francavilla


Noir Art Francesco Francavilla The Rocketeer

The Rocketeer

Noir Art Francesco Francavilla Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn

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Noir Art | Glen Orbik

The Colorado Kid Stephen King Glen Orbik

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King, Cover by Glen Orbik

Glen Orbik is a noir artist whose original intention was to draw superheros. He’s an American Illustrator who studied at the California Art Institute under the great Fred Fixler, eventually taking over several of the retiring master’s classes.

“Fred was a highly skilled illustrator best known for painting movie posters ( Comedy of Terrors, Pit and the Pendulum, Man with the X-ray Eyes, Burn Witch Burn, House of Usher, Hercules- Unchained, Where the Boys Are, etc…). and elegant pretty girls.”

Glen has had a major presence in the pulp art world for nearly twenty years, doing several covers for Hard Case Crime (currently) and famous authors like Stephen King and Ray Bradbury. Glen says,

“I’ve been lucky enough to work on everything from book covers to movie posters, collectable lithographs and plates, to video games and comic books.”

Mr. Orbik’s work has been compared to Alex Ross and Robert McGinnis. He currently resides in Van Nuys, California and teaches figure drawing. He’s a very popular teacher among fine art, comic book, and video game artists.

I first took note of Glen’s work while perusing books on Amazon. I noticed that his soft-edged style was perfectly suited to the foggy morality of noir and pulp capers. Since then, I’ve taken great interest in his work and consider myself a dedicated fan. His femme fatales hover on the dangerous brink of passion, the beautiful bait concealing the deadly hook. The difference between a good noir artist and a great noir artist is narrative. Those artists that can weave a story with acrylic are the masters; Glen Orbik is a master.

Batman Poison Ivy Commissioner Gordon Glen Orbik

Commissioner Gordon, Poison Ivy, and Batman

Noir Art Glen Orbik Branded Woman

Branded Woman

Noir Art Glen Orbik Fifty-to-One


Noir Art Glen Orbik American Century 11

American Century #11

Noir Art Glen Orbik Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris

Noir Art Glen Orbik Blackmailer


Noir Art Glen Orbik Choke Hold

Choke Hold

Noir Art Glen Orbik American Century 15

American Century #15

*All biographical details were obtained from:



*All images were obtained from:



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Noir Art | Coby Whitmore

Noir Art Coby Whitmore

Coby Whitmore June 11th 1913- October 12th 1988 (via fleetingfixations.tumblr.com)

The noir artist Coby Whitmore is a mainstay of American Illustration. Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1913, he spent the majority of his life and professional career in New York. He’s best known as a painter and magazine illustrator for such publications as Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and Saturday Evening Post. 

Although his work typically showcased the post-war, white, American family living a life of moderate luxury, a very strong noir theme seems to permeate his portfolio. Adultery, misogyny, and the seductive femme fatale all appear in his illustrations frequently. It seems that even if he wasn’t painting for the pulp rags of the day, as an artist he couldn’t escape the influence of the golden age of noir.

Some of his contemporaries and colleagues include:  Norman Rockwell, Stevan Dohanos, and Albert Dorne, who were all fellow members of what became known as the Westport School of American illustration. Whitmore died in Hilton Head, South Carolina, in 1988 at age 75.

Noir Art Coby Whitmore

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Noir Art Coby Whitmore

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Noir Art Coby Whitmore

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Noir Art Coby Whitmore

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Noir Art Coby Whitmore

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Noir Art Coby Whitmore

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Noir Art Coby Whitmore

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Noir Art Coby Whitmore

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Noir Art Coby Whitmore

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Noir Art Coby Whitmore

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Noir Art Coby Whitmore

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Coby Whitmore is an excellent addition to the growing list of noir artists on noirWhale.com

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Noir Art | Jim Steranko

Noir Art Jim Steranko Chandler Red Tide

Jim Steranko (Born November 5th 1938)

Jim Steranko is a legend in the comic book industry, and as a noir artist he is unparalleled. Born James F. Steranko in Reading, Pennsylvania on November 5th, 1938, his parents were Ukrainian immigrants that worked coal mines and tin. Jim began to draw while very young, opening and flattening envelopes for sketch paper. His ambition to become an architect garnered family support, who eventually began to provide the boy with comics and other media to work from.

In the Silver Age of Comics, he made several innovations in sequential art that have left a deep and lingering impression upon the comic genre. His most famous and memorable work being with Nick Fury, Agent of Shield, he nevertheless showed his noir prowess with the “Visual Novel” (precursor of the graphic novel) Chandler: Red Tide. Although it enjoyed a very limited printing, it still serves as one of the most wonderful collections of noir inspired images in the genre. A bulk of the captures you see here are from that single book.

 “Fans seem to think that the more lines that go into a drawing the better it is. Actually, the opposite is generally true. The fewer lines you can put into a drawing the quicker it reads, and the simpler it is.”

Noir Art Jim Steranko

Noir Art Jim Steranko

Noir Art Jim Steranko

Noir Art Jim Steranko Chandler Red Tide

Noir Art Jim Steranko

Noir Art Jim Steranko Noir Art Jim Steranko

Noir Art Jim Steranko

Noir Art Jim Steranko Chandler Red Tide

The influence Jim Steranko has upon modern noir comic artists is obvious. When you look at the panels above, it’s so easy to see the ripples that spawned Sean Phillips, Frank Miller, and many others. Bless you for your contribution Jim, bless you.

(Thanks to the following sources:)


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Noir Art | Sean Phillips

Noir Art Sean Phillips Dan Marlowe

(via surebeatsworking.blogspot.com)

Sean Phillips is a superb noir artist. I admit that I don’t know much about him, only what I’ve gleaned from his blogs and the back material of the many comics I’ve read. I know that he lives in England, and that he regularly attends a life-painting class (he always posts his work the following day). At Emerald City Comic-Con last year, I asked Ed Brubaker when he was going to get Sean to come out for an event. He said it was difficult because of the distance.

My lack of knowledge concerning this marvelous artist aside, he has created some truly magnificent noir art. He is adding to the noir genre on a frequent basis, and for that I am extremely grateful. I hope to meet him one day, to thank him. Head over and support his blog (its drowning in fine work): surebeatsworking.blogspot.com

Noir Art Sean Phillips

(via surebeatsworking.blogspot.com)

Noir Art Sean Phillips Fatale Cover

Fatale Cover (via surebeatsworking.blogspot.com)

Noir Art Sean Phillips The Last of The Innocent Cover

Criminal: The Last of The Innocent Cover (via surebeatsworking.blogspot.com)

Noir Art Sean Phillips Criminal Bad Night Cover

Criminal: Bad Night Cover (via surebeatsworking.blogspot.com)

Noir Art Sean Phillips Femme Fatale

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Noir Art Sean Phillips Black and White Panel

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Noir Art Sean Phillips Criminal The Last of the Innocent Cover

Criminal: The Last of The Innocent Cover (via surebeatsworking.blogspot.com)

Noir Art Sean Phillips Criminal Sinners Cover Issue 3

Inked Cover Criminal: The Sinners Issue 3 (via emptykingdom.com)

Noir Art Sean Phillips Snake Eyes

(via surebeatsworking.blogspot.com)

Noir Art Sean Phillips Teeg Lawless

Teeg Lawless, my favorite Sean Phillips painting (via emptykingdom.com)

I’m sure that Sean has many years of seductive noir art left for us.

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Noir Art | Ernest Chiriaka

Noir Art Ernest Chiriaka Jealous Paul Daniels

Pulp Cover from Ernest Chiriaka (via pulpart.tumblr.com)

Anastassios Kyriakakos was born to Greek immigrant parents in New York City May 11th, 1913. Adopting the more American name of Ernest Chiriaka, he was raised in the ghetto of the Lower East Side. One cannot conceivably imagine the hardships young Ernest must have faced as his father struggled to find work and his mother sacrificed to raise he and his five siblings. Out of humble beginnings and intense suffering came one of the most talented American noir artists of our time.

Liberty Magazine was the first to purchase cover art from Ernest (known as a “slick”) in July of 1950. Sadly, the magazine suddenly closed their doors before Ernest’s August cover hit newsstands. Said Ernest,

“I thought, ‘Hey, Holy Cow! I’m on the cover of Liberty! That’s great news.’ And they folded, right then and there, with my cover. It never came out! Gr-r-r! That was a dirty deal! My first slick, and it folds up!”

Chiriaka’s first real success didn’t arrive until 1952, when he was commissioned to paint two pin-ups for the Esquire calender. He apparently made waves with his work, because the following year he was asked to paint all twelve lovely ladies. He continued working for magazines and pulp publishers (doing book covers) for many years afterward.

Ernest Chiriaka died on April 27th, 2010 at the age of 96. His noir art stands as a pillar in the genre.

Noir Art Ernest Chiriaka

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Noir Art Ernest Chiriaka

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Noir Art Ernest Chiriaka

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Noir Art Ernest Chiriaka

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Noir Art Ernest Chiriaka

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Noir Art Ernest Chiriaka

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Noir Art Ernest Chiriaka

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Noir Art Ernest Chiriaka

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Noir Art Ernest Chiriaka

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Noir Art | Robert McGinnis

Noir Art Breakfast at Tiffany's Film Poster Robert McGinnis

His First Film Noir Poster

Robert McGinnis was born in 1926 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He’s left an indelible mark upon the noir crime fiction and film noir industries with his illustration skills; clocking in over 1200 paperback cover illustrations and over 40 movie poster illustrations. One of his most famous is his Breakfast at Tiffany’s movie poster which was (oddly enough) his first film poster assignment. I was so excited to learn that he is still alive, and since 2004 he has been doing paperback covers for the noir crime fiction group “Hard Case Crime.” Robert McGinnis is truly a noir art living legend.

Noir Art Robert McGinnis

(a femme fatale thrashing) via comicsalliance.com

Noir Art Robert McGinnis

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Noir Art Robert McGinnis

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Noir Art Robert McGinnis

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Noir Art Robert McGinnis

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Noir Art Robert McGinnis

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Noir Art Robert McGinnis

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Noir Art Robert McGinnis

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Noir Art Robert McGinnis

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Noir Art Robert McGinnis

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More noir art to come…


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Noir Art | Rene Gruau

Noir Art Rene Gruau

via bottledbohemia.tumblr.com

Over the course of my rummaging through the various back alleyways of the internet, I stumbled upon this wonderful artist: Rene Gruau (1909-2004) . He was an Italian Fashion Illustrator whose given name was Renato Zavagli Ricciardelli. Of course he may not have had the noir genre in mind while creating his works, but as a contemporary of the golden age of noir its influence is undoubtedly present in the brush strokes. Here are some cool details from wikipedia:

“He demonstrated talent for drawing throughout much of his early life and worked as an illustrator for fashion magazines such as FeminaMarie Claire and Vogue in Paris in his teens and early 20s. Gruau found it difficult to find work during World War II and ultimately found little work for small or unestablished designers such as Christian Dior before he became popular during this time. He worked as he could and contributed to the concealment of Jewish refugees.”

“In his lifetime, Gruau worked for numerous magazines including Marie-Claire, Femina, Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Flair, L’Officiel, and Madame Figaro, and L’Officiel de la Couture. Gruau was hired by major designers like Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior, Jacques Fath, Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, Rochas, Lanvin, Elizabeth Arden, and Hubert de Givenchy. Gruau gave life to their haute couture clothing and expanded their popularity with his captivating illustrations. Gruau’s illustrations reinvented many of the designs and gave them lambency and radiance that the fashion industry previously lacked. Gruau, whose posters often echoed both classical Japanese drawings and Toulouse-Lautrec’s sketches of fin de siècle Paris night life, was perhaps best known for creating the marketing images for Miss Dior perfume and for Rouge Baiser lipstick.”

Noir Art Rene Gruau

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Noir Art Rene Gruau

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Noir Art Rene Gruau

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Noir Art Rene Gruau

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Noir Art Rene Gruau

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Noir Art Rene Gruau

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Noir Art Rene Gruau

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Noir Art Rene Gruau

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Noir Art Rene Gruau

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Rene Gruau has contributed some of the most stunning noir art I’ve ever seen. What a champion.


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Noir Art | Niagara Detroit

Noir Art Lips Niagara Detroit

Lips by Niagara Detroit

Each week I spend a few hours cruising tumblr blogs and the various gritty reaches of the internet in search of images for the noirWHALE.tumblr.com site. This exercise has taught me quite a bit about film noir and the other noir genres, but ultimately it has taught me that I need to expand noirWHALE by adding a new category: “Noir Art“. For example: A week ago, I published a post about Noir T-Shirt Designs, and I put it in the Noir Comics category because I didn’t really have any idea where it should go; That post was the spiritual predecessor to this category, and now I expand upon it by adding the second “Noir Art” post titled: Niagara Detroit

Niagara was born August 23rd, 1956. I have no idea if that’s her real name (and neither does wikipedia). She was a lead singer of the punk rock bands Destroy All Monsters and Dark Carnival. Her bio says that she attended the University of Michigan in the 70’s, and that she has some art school experience which led her to design album covers for the various rock groups she was singing with. Eventually she started to do small galleries and displays in coffee shops in Detroit, and overnight she became a pop art sensation. Her local fame garnered her the title, “Queen of Detroit” and thus it has become her surname. Her noir art style seems to revolve entirely around the femme fatale archetype, with an especially brutal take on gender issues. Sharply contrasting colors and sarcastic/elegiac captions array these dames with venom aimed at misogyny. They simultaneously seduce and kill, with each image hanging on a potent moment in time. I’m no art critic, but it seems that the unseen narratives behind these paintings grant them life. Ultimately, I feel that Niagara Detroit’s work is some of the very best noir art I’ve ever seen. You be the judge:

Noir Art Baby Doll (Double Trouble) Niagara Detroit

Baby Doll (Double Trouble)

Noir Art Double In A Black Dress Niagara Detroit

Double In A Black Dress

Noir Art Got Guts Niagara Detroit

Got Guts?

Noir Art I'm Pretty When I'm Angry Niagara Detroit

I'm Pretty When I'm Angry

Noir Art I'm Waiting For My Man Niagara Detroit

I'm Waiting For My Man (Rita Hayworth Reference)

Noir Art I Lied Niagara Detroit

I Lied

Noir Art Kill Him Niagara Detroit

Kill Him

Noir Art Lipstick Traces Niagara Detroit

Lipstick Traces

Noir Art Or Are You Just Happy To See Me Niagara Detroit

Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Noir Art Run (Blonde) Niagara Detroit

Run (Blonde)

Noir Art Silencer (A Long Shot) Niagara Detroit

Silencer (A Long Shot)

There are literally DOZENS of prints that I didn’t list here, visit niagaradetroit.com for the full gallery.

Niagara has a clothing line for sale at pinkpump.com and prints for sale at niagaradetroit.com

Here is a picture of Niagara: (looks a bit like Lady Gaga no?)

Niagara Detroit Pop Art

Niagara Detroit

by Chad de Lisle

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