Superheroes In Art: Meet Tom Whalen

Tired of those same old movie posters? Check these out and hear from the artist behind them in my interview.

Interviews Opinion

If you are like me, I get tired of the same old movie poster getting thrown out for every big blockbuster. It usually comprises of some combination of orange/blue background along with a composition of head shots or a upshot of the main character(s). Now, to be fair, not all posters are that way but there is a large portion that are. Well, these are very different and in my opinion, outstanding. Tom Whalen is a professional illustrator and designer. He has come up with a unique spin on the movie poster format. I got the opportunity to contact him and learn a little about his style and thoughts. Not all of these are the movie poster style but are in a similar format.

Bryan Kritz: Tell me a little about yourself.

Tom Whalen: I fell in love with comics in my grandmother's candy store. I'd spend countless hours on Sunday afternoons reading them there. She'd put aside certain ones for me...GI Joe, Transformers, and especially The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. I used those as a bible of sorts, drawing all of the colorful heroes and villains of the Marvel U. that i was just being exposed to. I'd anxiously await each successive issue.

From there, my love of drawing led me to study illustration, typography and design at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. In the 13 years or so since I've graduated, I've tried my best to merge those three into one cohesive style.

BK: How did you get started doing the posters ?

TW: Like many comic fans, I started creating them as fan art. Once I started posting them online, I got a bit of notice and started to get some private commissions of some of my favorite characters; Iron Man, Gamera, Batman, Optimus Prime. I am truly thankful to have clients who love the same stuff that I do!

BK: What draws you to this particular style and how would you describe it?

TW: I guess I'd have to call it "modern vintage". At least that's what some of the blogs that post my work have coined it. Works for me.

BK: A lot of your work is inspired by pop culture, what draws you towards that?

TW: Like the readers of this site, I have a true passion for pop culture. I feel truly blessed to be able to express that passion through my illustrations.

BK: What is your technique?

TW: As far as my technique, i begin just about all of my projects with a fairly tight pencil sketch. from there, i scan the image out of my sketchbook and use it as a template as i work in Adobe Illustrator. All of my final work is vector based.

BK: Do you do any work for the comic book industry?

TW: I've not done any official work in the comics industry, but I recently did a custom illustration for WiReD Italy of the Mark VI armor from "Iron Man 2". Such an honor to work on that. I would relish the chance to do some work for a major publisher. (Anyone listening?)

I'd love to put up as many as possible but here are a few more non-CBM ones as well

You can see more of Tom's work at
You can also visit his deviantart page at

Many thanks to user Shazam171 for first showing Tom's work in the comments section and letting me know more about him.

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