Are cool! Classic superheroes are historic literary characters, but they are also visual icons. The distinctive shapes and attributes of the great superheroes can serve as powerful shortcuts to thoughts and feelings about the ideals they represent. I found these posters by Macedonian artist Marko Manev today on Gizmodo. Both the artist and Gizmodo blogger Andrew Tarantola identify the images as noir, and Tarantola describes them as images of social isolation. But what intrigues me about the best of these posters is their minimalism. How far can you simplify the image of a superhero while ensuring that the character is not just recognizable, but retains his full symbolic power? The answer is, a whole lot.Superman is almost too easy.But Iron Man is a bit more subtle. I would love to see this image without the border and caption.
The quality of these posters is obviously a result of Marvec’s skill as an artist and designer, but they’re also a tribute to all the great Golden Age artists who did the original character and costume designs for the iconic heroes. These are designs that have survived the test of time and come out stronger at the other end. Not only are these characters still making lots of money for the companies that own them, but they actually mean something to people. They’ve gotten into our collective soul to the point where even highly simplified icons of them still hit us right in the spiritual gut.
See the rest of the posters (The Silver Surfer, Wolverine, Dr. Manhattan and more) on Marvec’s Behance page here. They are all interesting, and some are strikingly beautiful. (All images © Marko Marvec.)