Ranking movies or TV shows is easy compared to more traditional art. There are a finite amount of scifi TV shows and movies you can watch, but pop culture art is damn near infinite. Every sliver of the internet is chock-full of it, not to mention the professional galleries, poster companies, on and on.
With the caveat that we surely missed a ton of great stuff, here are just a few pieces of the undeniably coolest pop culture art released in 2016, in no particular order.
A Clockwork Orange by Rory Kurtz
This image is shocking and that’s precisely the point. What better way to immortalise the Stanley Kubrick classic than to challenge the viewer like this piece does?
Ramona by Craig Drake
No one is cooler than Ramona and with this piece, you get her in all her glory, through a clean, video game inspired aesthetic.
“Hope Is Not Lost Today, It Is Found” Variant by Mark Englert
Though there’s another, also beautiful version, of this piece, the variant captures a moment that’s not in The Force Awakens, which gives it a slight edge. It’s a moment we can imagine. The moment where Luke realises someone has finally found him.
Galaxy Quest by Andrew Kolb
Galaxy Quest is a movie that always, always needs more love, and I can’t think of a better way to pay tribute than with this poster that views it than as an imaginary set of toys.
Alien by Jay Shaw
From a straight visual standpoint, this is a good-looking image. Beyond that, the fact it’s printed on a paper that makes it look and feel like an x-ray just pushes things over the top. Any art that can double as a medical record is ok in our book.
Stranger Things by Matt Ferguson
Almost everything you want to say about this year’s hottest new show show is captured here in vibrant simplicity. There are kids, there’s an upside down, it’s rural, timeless, and awesome.
Finding Nemo by Ape Meets Girl (Kevin Wilson)
At first glance, this is a relatively straightforward image. You’ve got great characters in a fantastic movie, all together in a recognisable scene. But now think about what it looks like in a frame. Yup, your very own fish tank. Perfect.
Under the Skin by Ghostco (Matthew Woodson)
Much like the eerie sci-fi movie it’s based on, this poster is something you can’t take your eyes off of. It’s also tricky in its simplicity.
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Tyler Stout
When a movie is as colourful and full of great characters as this Wes Anderson film, throwing all of them and the kitchen skin onto a single poster just works.
Wall-E by Tom Whalen
Whalen’s bright, geometric style lends itself so well to Disney’s films and in particular, the way this poster pops with life and character makes it stand out.
Unbreakable by Brad Hill
This is a bit of a cheat, as it’s a one of a kind sculpture, but I just find it — and Hill’s work — so incredibly unique, I had to include it. Plus, you never see Unbreakable stuff.
Johnny Rico by Cuyler Smith
This works on so many levels. You’ve got a two-sided, reflected baseball card of a character in Starship Troopers who only plays the sport in question for a few minutes. Either you get this and love it and don’t, and don’t. We’re in the former.
The Witch by Aaron Horkey
Pop culture artists made a bunch of gorgeous art based on The Witch this year, but Horkey’s stands out. It’s not instantly recognisable as being from the film, but as you look at it more, the detail continues to pop out. Just like the film itself.
The Jungle Book by Daniel Danger
One reason why Jon Favreau’s live-action Jungle Book worked so well is that it wasn’t afraid to go dark. Same can be said for this poster, which captures the tone of the movie in a wonderful way.
Into the Garbage Chute, Flyboy Variant by Jock
Each and every one of us has seen hundreds of posters for Star Wars. But have you ever seen one of this scene? Or a better representation of this scene? I doubt it.
Spaceballs by 100% Soft
Like Galaxy Quest, I can’t get enough Spaceballs art and what’s great about this one is that it’s an exact copy of A New Hope piece, by the same artist, from the year before. Which makes it even better.
Guardians of the Galaxy by Florey
When you think of Guardians, you think of over the top fun and big bright visuals, right? Well, that’s exactly what this poster nails and more.
The Military Forces of the Galactic Empire by Kevin Tong
Aesthetically pleasing? Check. Packed full of geeky information? Check. Subtly a really great poster for one of your favourite movies of all time? Triple check.
Jaws by Phantom City Creative
There are lots of great Jaws posters out there, and here is another one to add to the pile. It’s one of those posters that has a lot going on in a very simple concept that it’s simply a joy to look at.
Deadpool by Rob Liefeld
If you’ve got to have a Deadpool poster, who better to make it definitive than the man who co-created him?
The Blair Witch Project by Matt Ryan Tobin
Digital images don’t do this poster justice. Different inks add several creepy layers and winks back to the iconic film, making it a poster for a scary movie that’s also kind of creepy itself.
Extraction Plan by Anthony Petrie
As a Predator poster, this strong central image combines with tons of little nods to the film in a very cool way. But, what makes it even better, is it was printed with heat sensitive inks, so it changes colour when you touch it.
Scream by Gary Pullin
Roy Lichtenstein would be proud of this homage to a movie that itself an homage to the great horror films that came before it. Meta and wonderful.
Big Trouble in Little China by Drew Struzan
OK, this poster has been out in the world for almost 30 years, but this was the first year you could get it as a limited edition screenprint. Which gives us a chance to once again bask in all its glory.
And again, that’s just a taste. Post some of your favourites in the comments below.