American artist Glen Orbik was a master of the ‘Pulp Noir’ genre, which combines the classic chiaroscuro feel of 1940s film noir with a brilliantly nuanced sense of comic book unreality. His dramatic narrative images, which brim with retro urban style, are strangely elegant tributes to a bygone age.
Glen grew up in Nevada and later moved to California. He attended the California Art Institute and studied under the school’s founder and renowned illustrator Fred Fixler. When Fixler eventually retired Orbik took over teaching figure drawing classes at the Institute, a post he held until his death in 2015.
As well as creating book covers for Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, George Axelrod and many more, Glen designed comic book art and movie posters. He worked with many of the giants of the day, including Marvel and DC Comics, Star Wars and Sony, recreating classic characters for a contemporary audience. He received many awards and accolades, amongst them the commission to design the 25th anniversary cover for Stephen King’s IT.
In comics, Glen worked in the late 1990s and early 2000s with a run of covers for Batman: Shadow of the Bat and Vertigo's American Century. He created covers for Superman: Lex 2000, The Life Story of the Flash and other books, many of which have been collected by book cover paintings were collected by Alex Ross, Ray Bradbury and Stephen King. He also painted poster work for the Spider-Man and Hulk movies, and has left a considerable legacy of memorable artworks in the much loved retro genre of pulp noir.
Pulp Noir is a subgenre of ‘Noir’, and refers to detective or crime fiction literature which is written for a popular audience. In the 20th century, these books were produced on cheap paper made from wood pulp as they were not expected to stand the test of time, but many of them became major classics and the term has come to refer to a whole genre of storytelling, both verbal and visual. His highly collectable works combine the classic chiaroscuro feel of 1940s film noir with a brilliantly nuanced sense of comic book unreality, making him the quintessential master of the genre.
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