In the colorful world of comics everything for the most part is black and white (good and evil). Superman comes swooping in to save the day. Batman stops the Joker from blowing up an orphanage. It is very simple for us to identify and to point out who's good and who's bad...but what about war? Is it as black and white as some people try to make it out to be? Who's the good guy and who's the bad guy? I shoot you and you shoot me. One of my favorite quotes that tackles the subject of war is from the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Neville Chamberlain: "In war, whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no winners, but all are losers."
This quote couldn't be more true. In my opinion, no matter who the "winner" is both sides have lost lives for one's greed. No matter how much the media portrays war to be the "fight for freedom." It is not and will never be that simple. The images I'm about to show you explore the interesting contrast between colorful vintage comic book characters and the gray shaded real world by designer Butcher Billy.
FYI: The pictures below are considered graphic and controversial
"Tank Man", Beijing, 1989 X The Incredible Hulk (Original photograph by Jeff Widener)
The Hulk is not the protector...
I've seen a few people saying that this mashup piece takes out all the courage and attitude of the unknown tank man by removing the "loner common man against the giants of war" feeling. Well, if you notice, The Incredible Hulk is wearing the same clothes as the man. The Hulk is not protecting the man - He IS the man. The piece evokes how the tank man felt by deciding to stand against all the oppression
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, 1945 X Spider-Man (Original photograph by Joe Rosentha)
"General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan Executing a Vietcong prisoner", 1968 X Plastic Man (Original photograph by Eddie Adams)
The battle of IWO JIMA. Minamata Bay. Fishermen., 1945 X Dr. Manhattan (Original photograph by W. Eugene Smith)
"Napalm Girl", Vietnam, 1972 X Superman (Original photograph by Nick Ut)
History has to be told...
This is another controversial piece. Of course it's not my intention to mock or poke fun at that situation whatsoever. For starters, the whole project is a commentary on the basic concept of War Photography. I'm sure a lot of war photographers get criticised for exploring moments like that to take award-winning shots instead of help people in that kind of situation. That was the first thing that came into my mind when I first saw that, and other war pictures in my life. But in the other hand this is now history that has to be told. And has to be learned, so it won't happen ever again (although it still does). Now to the meaning of the actual mashup: as much as I love Superman, we all know what he used to represent, especially at the time of that comic, the 40's/50's - and his presence there is a commentary on that. Enough said.
"Falling Soldier", Spanish Civil War, 1936 X Batman & Robin (Original photograph by Robert Capa)
Dr. Fritz Klein standing in a mass grave in Belsen, Germany, 1945 X Red Skull (Original photograph by Oakes, H (Sgt) No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit)
WW1 Unknown Soldiers X The Incredible Hulk
Omaha Beach, D-Day, 1944 X Aquaman (Original photograph by Robert Capa)
Vietnam War protest in Philadelphia, 1970's X Captain America
WWII Battalion Commander A. Yeremenko leading his soldiers to the assault X Flash (Jay Garrick) (Original photograph by Max Alpert)
WW2 Bombers X Wonder Woman
Adolf Hitler, Nazi German X Magneto
Isn't it ironic?
This is another piece that some people seem to not get, as it is meant to be highly ironic because I happen to find Magneto a quite paradoxical character. We all know the Malcolm X inspiration behind him, but despite all the Holocaust background Erik Lehnsher has, I can't help in finding quite interesting how he ended up dedicating his life to be a ruler and eliminate everyone who isn't the same race as him. As a villain he crossed the line a long time ago and turned into what he hated the most - kind of like a Hannibal Lecter backstory also.