Have you ever wondered what life would have been like if Superheroes and Villains actually existed? For the most part, all we can do is ponder the infinite possibilities, often courtesy of video games, books, television, movies and, most importantly, our very own imagination.
Agan Harahap, a photographer and illustrator from Jakarta, Indonesia, has taken the concept of Superheroes and brought them into a pseudo-reality. By incorporating infamous characters into iconic World War II photographs, Harahap has managed to blur the lines between fiction and truth. In so doing, he has managed to merge the fantastically impossible with our past physical existence, in order to create a Superhero adorned alternate reality.
Harahap’s latest collection, aptly titled ‘Super Hero’, consists of memorable political and wartime scenes from the mid-20th century, but with one difference: the inclusion of notable Superheroes (or Villains?). This extraordinary combination is a true juxtaposition in effect.
With respect to the current global economic crisis, Harahap’s work could not come at a more fortuitous time. Coincidentally, the advent of the Superhero, according to Douglas Hyde (2009), was largely spurred on by the Great Depression and the start of World War II. As a result, comic books and superheroes were said to offer an ‘escapist form of entertainment’, where people could “go into a fantasy world where all the ills of the world were righted by these larger-than-life heroes” (Erin Clancy, 2009).
Subsequently, audiences at large are once again returning to the warm embrace of costumed Superheroes, with movies based on comic books generally becoming box office leaders. This trend, the resurgence of the popularity of Superheroes, may be a reflection of the current global economic crises. Clancy would agree citing “the comic book superhero came out of a context in which the political, social and economic realties were a little tough and we can certainly relate to those realities now in our own day” (2009).
Superheroes are back people and they are stronger than ever!
Until the next time “Milieunairs”!