Heroes and Villains: Escaping Reality

Super Hero - Superman WW2 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”!

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Marvel-ous… My Disney-sense is tingling!

Disney Buys Marvel Comics By now I am sure that every geek most people have already heard the news. However, if you have not, it is quite unexpected. The Walt Disney Company is purchasing Marvel Entertainment.

Yes, that is right folks. Everybody’s favourite mouse will soon become the new granddaddy of some of the biggest and most well known Superheroes of all time (check out the illustration to the right, courtesy of Pseudonym via Kotaku)!

The deal will reportedly cost Disney $4 billion (R32 billion) and will be a cash and stock transaction that values each share of Marvel at $50. Disney said it will pay $30 in cash plus about three-quarters (0.745) of a Disney share for each share of Marvel. Seems like a bargain to me, considering that Disney paid $7 billion for Pixar Animation Studios.

However, I do think that the biggest concern at the moment, is whether or not the ‘PG’ loving Disney will adversely effect any of Marvel’s unique brands. Well, according to Joey Pangilinan, the acquisition has been likened to when Disney acquired Pixar, that “although they will own Marvel, the publisher is still very much its own entity” (Examiner.com, 2009)

That is certainly good news for fans of both camps. Personally, I think that the addition of Marvel into Disney’s fold can only mean good things for the future of both companies.

Robert Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, had the following to say regarding the acquisition:

“This transaction combines Marvel’s strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney’s creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories… Ike Perlmutter and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing these properties and have created significant value. We are pleased to bring this talent and these great assets to Disney”.

Also in the official press release is Marvels Chief Executive Officer Ike Perlmutter’s take on the ‘merger’:

“Disney is the perfect home for Marvel’s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses. This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney’s tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world”.

Mashup - Mickey Mouse & Wolverine (Cross Media Example) Can you imagine the kind of awesomely ‘legitimate’ mash-ups that could emerge from this union? Although I do not think that Disney would approve of say, for example, an adamantium infused Donald Duck with a supersonic quack, the coalition will undoubtedly open proverbial doors in terms of cross media relationships (for example, think of a Mickey Mouse figurine dressed in a Wolverine costume, given out at MacDonald’s, to promote a new Wolverine movie). Look out Warner Brothers (who own DC Comics), there is a new contender in town.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

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