I have discovered some cool shit.
Artist JSalvador has hit a home run with his Super “Emo” Friends series of limited prints. They’re precious little chibi-style superheroes given extraordinarily glum expressions with captions that perfectly capture a major internal conflict and/or regret of each character. Green Lantern’s is just funny, highlighting the absurdity of the character’s situation, but the rest of them touch on much deeper issues of each character. I think the one that is most prone to making the viewer think is Captain America (aka “Cappin”), though Wolvie here runs a close second.
(By the way, the image and text links here used to point to a page at jsalvadordesign.com that showed the whole set of emo chibi superheroes and villains. Unfortunately, he appears to have decided to delete the page, so now the only way to see them is to click through the damned things one at a time at the Etsy store. I apologize for the crappy interface. I downloaded a copy of the image showing the whole set so I could crop out a single character and show it under fair use provisions, since this is basically a review, sorta — but I’m not about to upload the whole damned set and expose myself to potential lawsuits over some fucking asinine draconian copyright fascism just because JSalvador decided to make life more difficult for us. Sorry ’bout that.)
Some of them draw on the very unique conditions of the characters, such as the isolation from affection that Rogue suffers as a result of her mutant power and (of course) Green Lantern’s vulnerability to the color yellow. Others hit the very mundane problems of life that affect “normal” people like you and me (well, maybe you, anyway), such as Harley Quinn’s unrequited love and Batman’s grief over parents lost at a young age. Then, of course, there’s the hint of the real traumas beneath Joker’s and Green Goblin’s lunacy. I’m particularly fond of the ambiguity in Joker’s case.
Then, of course, there’s always the Muppets.
A friend and I, when we lived in the same state, used to sit around in front of the television as election season approached and basically heckle the trite stupidities wheeled out by candidates for political office, asinine and meaningless comments made with great gravitas by featherheaded reporters, and whatever other nonsense traipsed across the screen on what passes for mainstream “news” in this country. We were a pair of real curmudgeons, enjoying our cynical sniping from the sidelines. This friend — I’ll call him “Larry” — one day compared us to Statler and Waldorf, of the Muppets. Those were the two old geezers who sat in the balcony in the theater that was the set of The Muppet Show and heckled the performers, and were a couple of my favorite characters as a kid.
Now, we’ve both moved out of the state where we once lived near each other, to separate new states, but we still keep in touch. One year, he gave me a small Waldorf plush toy representing Larry as a gift, and he has a matching Statler representing me. I keep Waldorf sitting on the shelf of a desk, between some books and the center channel speaker for a computer, looking out over the entire living room.
Anyway . . . I loved The Muppet Show as a kid, and still love the occasional clip of it that I see these days. Sesame Street was cool, I guess, but I never liked it as much, and it went far downhill at some point (I knew it had jumped the shark when the opening credits included tots hip-hop dancing), and the movies have their high points reminiscent of The Muppet Show but they also have bits that are just not up to par. Don’t even get me started on the Muppet Babies. I really miss the genius of The Muppet Show.
There was a flash of that brilliance in my life again yesterday, when I watched this with my SigO:
It’s a little slow to get going. Animal’s “Mama?” routine isn’t really terribly exciting, but it gets going pretty quickly after that. It’s difficult to pick out a favorite part, because there are so many moments of sheer awesome in it — including Statler and Waldorf telling Fozzie they don’t like his jokes while he implores them to let him joke, Beaker’s brilliant meeping, and Kermit’s excellent summation of the problem of the entire exercise. If I had to pick a favorite part, I think I’d have to go with the Swedish Chef’s jazz hands. It was only for a split second, but it was epic.
Seriously. Swedish Chef did jazz hands. My life is complete.