Painter and comic book artist Phil Noto has already received plenty of praise for his current run on Marvel’s Black Widow series with Nathan Edmondson. But for the month of February, Noto’s work will be all over the Marvel universe, through 20 variant covers he drew for popular ongoing series including Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, Deadpool, and more. In addition to being gorgeous, the covers draw from pop culture references as varied as Spike Lee and young adult book covers.
Click to enlarge.
The idea for these variant covers actually began with an illustration series Noto posted on his Tumblr—retro “photographs” of various Marvel characters, taken by Hank Pym (coming soon to the big screen in Ant-Man). The Hank Pym Photo Series garnered so many likes and reblogs that Noto’s editor at the time wanted to somehow incorporate this style of art into the Marvel canon.
In designing these covers, Noto adjusted the conceit for some of the characters, moving away from the candid “photos” he’d drawn previously and more toward David Bailey-esque fashion portraits for certain characters. In other instances, he pulls from pop culture properties, like the Captain America cover evoking Radio Raheem from Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, or the Guardians of the Galaxy cover that looks like it could be a fun YA novel.
This project was also Noto’s first chance to draw many characters, including the Guardians and Deathlok. And even when he returned to the familiar figure of Black Widow, he had her share the cover with Hawkeye in the cutest way.
Artwork: Phil Noto