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We’ve featured pop artist “Butcher Billy” Bily Mariano da Luz several times. His comic book-related mash-ups are sometimes designed just to entertain, but sometimes to raise debate. His latest series definitely belongs to the latter group: the “War Photography X Vintage Comics Project” skirts good taste in order to make the viewer ponder all kinds of questions.
Superhero comics, a genre born at a period of global chaos, have seldom shied away from apocalyptic levels of horror and violence. Consider 1941’s Human Torch #5A, wherein Namor drops a tidal wave upon New York City. My personal benchmark remains Alan Moore and John Totleben’s Miracleman #15 (as described by Tim Callahan as “a vile disgusting condemnation/celebration of superhero violence (take your pick)“), which managed to be genuinely hellish and affecting, with none of its punch lessened by being frequently ripped off and swiped from by multiple lesser talents over the years. However, things get more sensitive whenever fictional characters get superimposed into real events, such as the howls of protest over J. Michael Straczynski’s Amazing Spider-Man #36, with its crying Doctor Doom.
Billy inserts classic superhero imagery into some of the most shocking and iconic photography ever taken. Sometimes the results resonate, sometimes they offend, sometimes they amuse, and at least one falls so flat as to be utterly banal. He describes his project as:
Comics mash-ups are a dime a dozen nowadays — only this morning we updated the legal wranglings concerning This Charming Charlie — but few are stranger than this one dreamed up by the blog of Elite Fixtures, which appears to be an otherwise-normal company that sells lighting, bathroom faucets, doorknobs and the like.
“Popular Comic Books Get Mashed Up With Lamps” is just what it sounds like … if what it sounds like involves replacing key characters and elements from well-known comic-book covers with lamps. I’d call it a bizarre, but ingenious, bit of viral marketing, if there were something in the images that might send people flocking to Elite Fixtures. So I’ll just leave it at “bizarre.”
By way of explanation, the blog states, “At EliteFixtures.com, we think lamps are pretty super. Charged with the power of electricity, they can brighten a room with a single bulb and dispel shadows from the darkest corners. There is nowhere to hide from the Power of the Light! Which got us thinking … what would happen to our favorite comic heroes in a face-to-lamp showdown?”
See some of the covers below, and the rest at the company’s blog.
While something can be great on its own, the idea of mixing two things can lead to interesting combinations. Peanut butter and jelly, rock and roll, the Beatles and Jay-Z … and soon, The Simpsons and Akira. Cartoonist James Harvey is organizing a full-scale re-creation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s popular manga series with its characters replaced with members of The Simpsons.
“Milhouse is Kaneda. Lisa is Kei. Bart is Tetsuo,” Harvey posted on his blog. “Let’s do it.”