P:R Approved: Henrik Sahlstrom’s Gotham Noir!

Note: Taking a page from a bygone era, Henrik Sahlstrom has taken the costumed characters of Gotham City squarely into the realm of noir. Some of the designs go a little bit to far afield of the characters’ inherent identifiers, all-and-all it’s a wonderful concept that I’d love to see expanded on. – Chris A.

22 comments to “P:R Approved: Henrik Sahlstrom’s Gotham Noir!”
  1. Those are really nice illustration, and do a great job in communicating which noirish archetypes each character falls under. Batman is definitely the weakest of the lot, unfortunately. I’m never completely sold on him carrying a gun, and don’t really get what the “ears” are supposed to be.

  2. Very cool style, but Batman with a gun weirds me out, and Catwoman just looks like a chick going to a party. Where’s her fighting outfit?

  3. To second Jim’s comments, these are really great but, the artist missed the mark on Batman. I’m not sure why he’s carrying a gun and the costume is too “spacey”. There’s not enough of a Bat influence on the costume.

  4. Truly beautiful design for – yeah – Blue Beetle or maybe a handful of Marvel characters, but it’s lacking in crucial battiness and, yes, no guns.

    That said – I love the idea of Bats using massive thick goggles like this. I think design was just an iteration or two away from something as special as that Nigma drawing.

    I can appreciate the challenge, though, of adding period-specific elements – in this case noir – to characters that were first created at the tail end of the era to begin with. The JSA: Liberty Files chacter design had the same challenge of reimagining batman in a WWII setting – odd because he was created in 1939. Their solution was to cover Bruce in straps and shoelaces. Not as elegant as what Henrick’s did here.

  5. While these are great, I’d have to agree that Batman is the weakest. He almost looks like Kamen Rider Faiz

  6. Great images, agreeing on the design aspects though. Riddler seems to be, well, The Riddler. Joker works well enough with a few of the usual tells that it’s him. Catwoman is a good illustration, but not much there to suggest daring cat burglar and more seems like a sexpot trope or possible damsel in distress. Bats doesn’t work much at all for me, and you could have called him anyone from Beetle to Lobster to even Mr Monster, and those would have all felt more fitting than Batman.

    Really really great artwork, but these are relying more on craft than design for their communication.

  7. Where’s Batman?

    The illustrations are really well done and I can immediately tell who I’m looking at with the Riddler and the Joker, but that’s because they’re virtually unaltered from the comics. Catwoman looks like she’s wearing a mask and going to a Gastby Theme party. Batman … doesn’t even look at all like Batman.

    I think the noir idea is really cool, but so much of Batman is already pretty noir really. I think you’d be better off by giving this a 1920s era look rather than trying to call it noir and let yourself be free to make lots of really sweeping changes to the characters while still holding onto the things that are more iconic (like the cowl.)

  8. I was going to invoke pulp, too. Riddler qualifies as noir, I think. Joker and Catwoman too, short of the lipstick and mask, respectively. Batman’s headgear is pure pulp, but they really are lovely illustrations and designs regardless.

    I think it’s fair play to give Batman a gun when you’re moving into a different genre. Guns are part of his history as it is.

  9. Beautiful paintings with great lighting. I think Riddler and Catwoman definitely take the cake here, but I agree with most of what’s already been said, especially concerning Batman’s gun.

  10. Sigh. Almost nobody that does cool stuff like this ever bothers with Robin. He’s more of a part of the whole mythos than any of the villains or support cast.

  11. To repeat some previous comments: GREAT execution.

    Why Gotham? The “Batman” design demonstrates that the artist can create an interesting character design out of whole cloth. Keep going. Drop the Gotham label and design a rogue’s gallery for the character in frame 1.

  12. Although I do like these, I don’t see Batman in this character at first glance. As for the gun, it is old school Batman at his best. A gun toting vigilante.

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