After our classroom discussion this week revolving around artistic interpretation in regards to messages and mediums, I really started to question how different cultural icons could be used as teaching tools. It was interesting to contemplate whether or not a meme could ever generate such a cultural following that it would be able to be considered a way to learn about the cultures of today in years to come. In looking at the different art pieces that focused on images of the intimacy of motherhood and the isolation of death, I never realized how many social interactions people accept as universal law. It was remarkable that we all had similar definitions for how we internalize human contact that we were able to share and engage in based on one stimulus. I kept thinking what could society use as a teaching agent that has cultural weight and is presented through am innovative channel people are willing to pursue. While keeping this idea in my mind, I went rummaging through the Internet and I came across this little gem of an article.
When I first went through the series of original pieces, I was blown away by the creativity and dedication that must have went into connecting two different environments. Even if you did not read or follow comic book universes as a young child, the cultural relevance of those materials is undeniable. From books, clothing apparel, and costume concepts to movies, television series, to valued collector’s items, comic books have found a remarkable pulse in popular culture that still beats with vigor. The fact that many young people, boys and men in particular, have had such an emotional connection with these characters and stories for generations really underscores how much aesthetic arrest these plots must have. Those stories are were people figure out the difference between right and wrong and learn that life is a constant cosmic battle of identity, sacrifice, and the strength of the will. Likewise, the villains of these stories are equally as powerful as they serve as the character foil to the heroes and show how quickly good intentioned people can fall from grace into a dark, unmaintained, space.
In juxtaposing the “real” bad guys with the super-villains, this sends a powerful message that the sometimes the make believe characters have very real world counterparts who are, often times, even more sinister than the comic book men and women. It also details how events and occurrences that take places in comic books are not completely made up; it is often the case that many things in comic books mirror the social climates of our world. With stories that revolve around adoption, loss of family, corruption, and unadulterated destruction, this is how you can communicate with people in future generations; you allow them to address heavy issues in a way that compels them to stretch their horizons. This is a big reason why Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and the Harry Potter series are all such canonical pieces of masterworks! They teach without having to be in a classroom. There are lessons of genuine friends, different temperaments, and heartbreaking loss that sometimes feel more real to us than the world around us.
What makes this piece really spectacular is how devoted the writer and artist had to be to accurately match up the real life bad guy with the comic book evil dude! I’m not sure how much everyone knows about the comic book universe, but this guy sure knows his villains. The characteristics and personalities of the comic bad guys compliments and sometimes is an exact replica of the actual men who are featured in the piece. The mania and high level of theatrical violence that was associated with Charles Manson could only truly be compared with the sheer uncompromising madness that makes The Joker such a worthy arch-nemesis to The Batman; it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, then it’s The Joker’s playground. There are also different degrees and styles of evils that are listed too. Adolf Hitler as Galactus is pure genius because both the entities sought total domination through means of using constructed machines. Galactus must use his armor to maintain all of his internal energies and power and, likewise, Hitler used his social machine, the Nazi Party, to control and manipulate the lives of millions of people. It doesn’t hurt that they both have larger than life images too.