Hollywood isn’t always the most original place in the world. It’s not unusual to see suspiciously similar movies arrive within a few months of each other, whether it’s asteroid movies or White House invasion movies or “casual sex with one of the leads of Black Swan” movies. It’s even worse when it comes to poster art. There are maybe a dozen general templates for movie posters that get reused over and over. You’ve got the “giant cast heads lined up” poster. You’ve got the back-to-back shot. And you’ve got the “standing with back to camera” poster. This one got a lot of use on the science fiction front this year, from Oblivion to After Earth to Star Trek Into Darkness. But as overused a poster cliche as it may be, you can still make awesomeness happen within that design concept. At least if you’re a Macedonian artist named Marko Manev, that is.
Aside from having an alliterative name that practically demands he become a supervillain, Marko has got some serious artistic chops. Our favorite project of his is called, simply, “The Noir Series.” As you can see in the gorgeous artwork gathered on this page, Manev is taking the back-to-camera pose and making it awesome again thanks to a muted, noir-style color scheme that just bleeds atmosphere into his takes on science fiction classics such as Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, and more.
As with any piece of art such as these, one of the tricks is choosing just the right visual to reproduce from the film in question. 2001’s Monolith is an easy one, as is the unforgettable ending from the original Planet of the Apes.
Sometimes the less obvious choices work just as well. He could have gone with any number of other approaches for the Alien design below, from the facehuggers to the xenomorph eggs to the shocking moment where one of the creatures interrupts dinner by bursting out of Kane’s chest. Instead, he used a claustrophobic corridor shot with Ripley silhouetted at the end, an alien tail slithering through the foreground. It’s a clever choice that neatly evokes the feel of the movie, if not its most iconic sequences.
He also has fun with a few cosmic superhero sorts such as Superman, the Silver Surfer, and one of my favorites, Watchmen‘s Doctor Manhattan.
I could wallpaper a room with this stuff. You can see more of Makev’s artwork, including the non-SF noir posters for movies such as Psycho and Hellraiser, over on his webpage.