Phil Noto

Back in the 60s my father used to have a subscription to Do It Yourself magazine; quite why is a mystery has he both loathed DIY and never used any of the ideas or information from the magazines. I clearly remember them in a pile in our dining room, and I used to leaf through them now and again they way kids will do. We also had a copy of Nicholas Monsarrat’s The Tribe That Lost it’s Head from the same vintage, a book which I never frankly felt remotely inclined to read but which had a somewhat intriguing title when I was young and as I got into my early teens I developed something which one might only call a crush on the woman illustrated on the cover: it was something about her very pretty nose..

This is back story, I will tie up some relevance in due course…honest.

Okay, cut to the present where, half a century later on I’ve got a renewed interest in comic books (which were also a passion in the Do It Yourself / Tribe That Lost it’s Head years). When the new run of Black Widow started I decided to give them a go, because hey how can you NOT love Black Widow. Issue No. 1 arrived…and I was blown away by the drawing, they were like nothing that was in any of the other ones I was reading, and actually were nothing like anything else I was seeing. I could work out what was going on, flat colours, very little outlining, etc…but there was something about them which was..well… I just didn’t know. So I googled for the artist Phil Noto and found an interview in which he said:

 “I was also very influenced by the guys who did all the book covers and advertising art in the 50’s and 60’s, like Robert McGinnis, Bob Peak, and Coby Whitmore.”

Bang, there it was. I was looking at a modern take on my dad’s old magazines and that copy of The Tribe That Lost it’s Head.

The comic book was very now, but it was also very then too,

So that led me off to looking at the art of the three people he mentioned, Coby Whitmore, Bob Peak, and Robert McGinnis  – which made me realise the other thing I was looking at from my younger days in the Noto drawings…those classic Bond movie posters!

So Phil Noto is, for me, both totally modern and totally retro at the same time.

By the way, it’s worth either nipping down to your local comic book store or logging on to your favourite online comic supplier…and even if you don’t like comics it’s worth doing this… as he’s doing special cover variants for some titles at the moment

Also, check out his website and twitter to see more of his stuff!


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