George W. Bush may have had his "axis of evil," but this week Bily Mariano da Luz ("Butcher Billy") unveiled his own entourage of global evildoers -- one that included the former American president himself. Da Luz, a Brazilian artist, mashed up comic bad guys with real-life villains (an eclectic bunch that includes Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and John Lennon assassin Mark Chapman) to create a hybrid "Legion of Doom." The depressing part of the exercise, da Luz wrote, was realizing that "if the comic book supervillains were actually the ones threatening real life, the world wouldn't be such a bad place."
Here are the surreal Frankensteins da Luz created, with commentary from the artist about what inspired him to make the provocative pairings that he did.
Mao Zedong / Darkseid
Da Luz: "One of my first inspirations for the concept of this series was the artist and creator Jack Kirby, who once said, back in the 70s, that he modeled the alien dictator Darkseid on Hitler, and his planet Apokolips on Nazi Germany. But since the very beginning I had a different idea for Adolf. So I thought about Mao because Darkseid has a face that appears to be made of stone -- he almost never changes it. As the chairman also appeared to be a man of only one expression, I chose him."
Osama bin Laden / Green Goblin
Da Luz: "The archnemesis of Spider-Man flies around in a glider throwing bombs, so I saw a connection there."
Muammar al-Qaddafi / Bizarro
Da Luz: "The twisted version of Superman from the parallel universe known as the Bizarro World has a creepy, square-shaped face, and I couldn't think of another man that matches him more than the truly 'bizarre' former ruler of Libya."
Adolf Hitler / Galactus
Da Luz: "Galactus is a cosmic entity from Marvel Comics known as the World-Eater, or the World-Devourer. Hitler wanted to establish a New Order in continental Europe, but I bet if he was not stopped he would sure try to make that a New World Order. And with all the heavy propaganda, charismatic oratory, and firepower, he was the only dictator that actually could 'eat the world.' Plus I needed someone that could be easily recognizable inside the Galactus helmet. It's interesting how you can see it's him just by his eyes and moustache. But the real appeal for this one was the detail in the Galactus helmet -- a simple reshape of the original and it turned into a swastika."
Charles Manson / The Joker
Da Luz: "This one was another inspiration for the original concept of the series. I was watching an interview with Manson in the 70s and I was completely amazed at how he reminded me of the Joker as played by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. Not just physically -- but the expressions, the way he moves, the way he talks, the voice tone, everything. I bet that is why this result is so brilliant and realistically terrifying."
Mark Chapman / Doctor Octopus
Da Luz: "They look alike because they're both obese and wear glasses, but there's something a bit deeper about both of them. Just as Chapman had an obsession with John Lennon to the point of killing him, Doctor Octopus is so obsessed with Spider-Man that he even found a way of swapping bodies with the hero in a new series called The Superior Spider-Man."
George W. Bush / Two-Face
Da Luz: "I've been getting a lot of criticism because of this choice, but let's not forget that when you mash up real people with comic-book characters from the 60s, it's supposed to be silly and humorous. I'm not trying to be political by choosing sides or parties here, and I am not the first one to portray Bush as a villain -- that comes from even before 9/11. My first choice for him would be Lex Luthor, because the character actually became president of the United States. But the choice was so obvious that it wasn't very interesting, not even visually. So Two-Face fit better, both physically and contextually.
Joseph Stalin / Kraven the Hunter
Da Luz: "This mash-up was so perfect that it is probably the funniest of
them all. They look so alike that it is hard to believe the character was not based on the
dictator. I don't know if he was, but when you learn that Kraven
is supposed to be Russian, there's only one thing to say: case closed."
Mark Zuckerberg / Loki, the God of Mischief
Da Luz: "This one is probably the most controversial of them all. Some people get the joke right away and find the irony, while others are annoyed to see Zuckerberg portrayed as a villain among people like Hitler and bin Laden. But what they seem to forget is that a true gang needs all kinds of criminals, not just the bullying type. How great would it be if in the midst of all these wackos there's an unsuspecting tech geek who never killed anyone but does the hacker work by gathering personal information from people all over the world through a network? That would be the quintessential evil-genius plan."