Freddie Mercury Reimagined as Comic Book Heroes

Pop cul­ture thrives on super­heroes, both fic­tion­al and real. This isn’t unique in human his­to­ry. Read most any col­lec­tion of ancient myth and lit­er­a­ture and you’ll find the same. The demigods and chief­tains beat­ing their chests and talk­ing trash in the Ili­ad, for exam­ple, remind me of macho pro­fes­sion­al wrestlers or char­ac­ters in the Mar­vel and DC uni­vers­es, cul­tur­al arti­facts indebt­ed in their var­i­ous ways to clas­si­cal leg­ends. One thread runs through all of the epic tales of heroes and hero­ines: a seem­ing need to immor­tal­ize peo­ple who embody the qual­i­ties we most desire. Heroes may suf­fer for their trag­ic flaws, but that’s the price they pay for uni­ver­sal acclaim or an iron throne.

The traits ascribed to late modernity’s fic­tion­al heroes haven’t changed over­much from the dis­tant past—power, wit, agili­ty, per­sis­tence, anger issues, spicy, com­pli­cat­ed love lives…. But when it comes to the real peo­ple we admire—the celebri­ties who get the super­hero treatment—creativity, style, and musi­cal tal­ent top the list. Why not?

David Bowie’s larg­er-than-life per­sonas sure­ly deserve to live on, trans­mit­ted not only via his music but by way of his posthu­mous trans­for­ma­tion into a series of pulp and com­ic heroes as imag­ined by screen­writer and design­er Todd Alcott, who has giv­en the same treat­ment to beloved musi­cal char­ac­ters like Prince and Bob Dylan.

Per­form­ing a sim­i­lar ser­vice for Fred­die Mer­cury, Brazil­ian artist Butch­er Bil­ly sat­is­fies the cul­tur­al crav­ing for demigods in his immor­tal­iza­tion of Fred­die Mer­cury as var­i­ous heroes like The Hulk, Super­man, and Shaz­am (or “Flash”); a con­tender for the Iron Throne; and him­self: rid­ing on Darth Vader’s shoul­ders, break­ing free in house­wife drag, and sport­ing Bowie’s Aladdin Sane light­ning bolt. What are the super­pow­ers of these super-Fred­dies? The usu­al smash­ing, punch­ing, and fly­ing, it seems, but also the essen­tials of his real-life power—an impos­si­bly big per­son­al­i­ty, huge stage pres­ence, per­son­al mag­net­ism, and a god­like force of a voice.

Add to these char­ac­ter­is­tics a unique tal­ent for writ­ing  lyrics punchi­er than your favorite Twit­ter feed, and we have the mak­ings of a mod­ern epic giant with abil­i­ties that seemed to sur­pass those of mere mor­tals, with the swag­ger and ego to match. This trib­ute to Mer­cury is unabashed hero wor­ship, turn­ing the singer into an arche­type. In the sim­ple, bold, col­or­ful lines of com­ic cov­er art we might just see that there’s a Fred­die Mer­cury in all of us, want­i­ng to break free, pump a fist in the air, and belt out our biggest feel­ings in cap­i­tal let­ters and giant excla­ma­tion marks.

See more “Plan­et Mer­cury Comics” below and at Butch­er Bil­ly’s Behance site.

via Laugh­ing Squid

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Bowie Songs Reimag­ined as Pulp Fic­tion Book Cov­ers: Space Odd­i­ty, Heroes, Life on Mars & More

Clas­sic Songs by Bob Dylan Re-Imag­ined as Pulp Fic­tion Book Cov­ers: “Like a Rolling Stone,” “A Hard Rain’s A‑Gonna Fall” & More

Scenes from Bohemi­an Rhap­sody Com­pared to Real Life: A 21-Minute Com­pi­la­tion

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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