Sunday, April 10, 2016


This is the work of Glen Orbik, who died last year. His style is extremely reminiscent of Robert McGinnis, poster artist for a number of the Connery era Bond films.

I'm so fond of the image of the femme fatale, any number of eras, but especially from the noir tradition. Like any topic concerning sexuality, the femme fatale can easily be reduced in discussion to something entirely simplistic, much like reducing images of sex in advertising as simply being examples of the old adage "sex sells" without asking any additional questions about how and to whom and in what way. However, as is the case with sexual imagery in advertising, the femme fatale really should be approached, I believe, with more nuance.

I realize that the image above might seem fairly straightforward, but the level of brutality in the image is significantly greater than in most images of the femme fatale, which seems important to the image to me. It reminds me (in a way) of a Darwin Cooke alternate cover for Ed Brubaker's Fatale, which is completely different in style from that book's usual art style (an image from which I posted fairly recently, one drawn by that comic's regular artist Sean Phillips).

I realize that the image below, which is called The Long Way Home, by Orbik is not really a femme fatale (or at least not in so obvious a way), but notice how its composition is quite different from the earlier image and speaks to a very different idea altogether about hard boiled men and their relationship to women. Additionally, the juxtaposition in the one below between the real and the ideal, poverty and comfort, and masculinity and femininity is created in this really interesting way by matching but then inverting the body of the man and the body of the woman in their poses and then in how they occupy space.

It's smart, I think. Compelling to me.

I really need to write something on the history of the femme fatale in art at some point, maybe tied to video games, maybe something else entirely, but something. I'd want to go back to earlier stuff than just this more twentieth century approach, some classical, some nineteenth century, etc., but I feel like just pushing a bit at the simplicity of analysis often brought to this material.

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