Artist: Phil Noto

Pin-ups have been around forever. A remedy to the tortured libidos of engine monkeys on land or at sea. And comic illustrator, Phil Noto does it as well as anyone. His soft-wash aesthetic and delicate minimal body features revive the sultry allure of the old mechanic's calendars, but by introducing the repressed sexuality of contemporary comics, his work manages to find a small window into high art big enough for himself alone.

While the overall technique may tinge on the appeal of Tim Sale, his work doesn't dip so eagerly into the pulp noir Sale steeped from Frank Miller and others. Noto's work maintains a vibrant sensuality, enough so to sell titles he's illustrated on his name alone. Though his subjects remain the trophies of idealized bodywork, they seem to give off a softness of character that despite playing coy draws the audience a step forward even without being caught in the stare of the figures -- this made even more effective by the absence of environment in his work.

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