May 7, 2012 - Comments Off on Marvel to Mesopotamia

Marvel to Mesopotamia

In honor of the Avengers coming out this past weekend, I thought it was time we celebrate the inspirational power of the super-human, so idolized and adored by pop culture. Superheroes are nothing new. In fact one could say they're some of the oldest detritus of human culture. The idea of an übermensch can be seen going back to one of the most ancient of epics: Gilgamesh. His power? Super strength. His weakness? Friends. Gilgamesh (not the most stunning of reads I must confess) could easily be spun as a modern paperback lark where Gilagmesh and his sidekick Enkidu go on a series of harrowing adventures. When we read these stories of super powered men and women, whether now in modern metropolises or cities of old, they teach us valuable lessons showing how even heroes can falter. Mechman

But another part of the magic of superheroes is that they just don't seem to die. I don't mean the characters themselves but what they stand for. As with Gilgamesh, it's easy to draw comparisons from many of our favorite modern heroes to their ancient counterparts (Superman and Hercules, Flash and Ares, etc). This fact hints at the underlying truth that these fictional heroes strike at something core to our cultural identity as human beings and it's artists like Kris Anka who help enable this perpetual cycle of mythology.

Avengers FilmHellboy Colablo

I've never been a huge capes and cowls fan. Instead I often reach for the more independent or atypical graphic novel. A large part of that is I find the stories, and more so the art, of those classic Marvel/DC series to be somewhat trite. But Anka breathes a fresh modern style into his tributes while maintaining their characters' essence making me yearn to read...though he doesn't seem to have done any actual books, just fan art. Yet his animation skills leave little question as to his ability.

Of course part of what makes superheroes so interesting is simply the fact that they are indeed super, or in the words of one German philosopher: über. Über Content seems to understand this power as embodied in their striking website. Fellow Youtube junkies may recognize team member Charlie Todd as founder of Improv Everywhere here in our very own NYC.

Uber Content

Beyond the crisp tight design of the site, Über Content does its umlaut proud with some wonderful hover states and some amazing screen adaptability which, at a glance, looks like a customized Get Skeleton layout (the new hotness around the office). I especially like how the site keeps the team member images at the top in an even grid with filler blue circles when necessary.

Yet for all the truly amazing heroes, there are also the ones that just can't quite live up to the name. Most heroes overcome this adversity to become truly super, something about great power, great responsibility yadda yadda etc etc. However, as this cute French short shows, sometimes even such happy endings might not be all their cracked up to be.

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin during our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in The Sketching Mechanism
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