Prolific cover artist and painter Earl Norem has passed away at age 91 as reported on Facebook by family members including his daughter:
As my son has so eloquently posted, it is true that my father, Earl Norem, a member of the greatest generation, has passed on. He was a true super hero to me and to all who knew him. A kind gentle, modest soul, his legacy will last a lifetime. We thank all of his fans far and wide who have meant so much to him throughout his career.
Norem’s work best known in comics circle for his work on Marvel’s magazine line of the 70s and 80s, including Dracula Lives, Tale of the Zombie, Savage Sword of Conan, Hulk, Amazing Spider-Man: The Big Top Mystery, The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Moon Knight, The Silver Surfer and many many more.
Norem attended HeroesCon a few years back, as shown in this photo by Denny Caswell, and definitely enjoyed meeting fans of his work. Although retired, he was said to be working on some new Mars Attacks paintings, a subject particularly suited to his style. While Norem was’t as well known as some of his fellow pulp cover artists, its hard to think of anyone who attacked the boomer obsessions—aliens, robots, monsters and scantily clad girls being menaced by the same—with such vigor.
If it was possible to be cheerful and lurid at the same time, Norem had the patent on it. His understanding of color theory may have lacked subtlety, but served to burn images into your brain, like this classic Planet of the Apes piece. While color grading today likes the relatively discrete aqua/tan contrasting color scheme, Norem went all the way with acid green on orange, which also worked on a bunch of Hulk covers. Here’s just a few examples of his work/
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.