The continuing situation in Ukraine brought to mind a number of themes on which the above cartoon was designed to comment. Some of them are familiar territory for me: This cartoon, for example, already focused on how the unmitigated disaster of Operation Iraqi “Freedom” has flushed away any (cred)ability the United States still had to intervene in foreign conflicts–no matter how legitimate such intervention might be–by sacrificing money, effort, material, and lives to a joint poorly-disguised money-laundering operation/cave-mannish, personal vendetta.
But this recent event also seemed like a good opportunity to illustrate the bigger picture of smaller, less-powerful countries, like Iraq and Ukraine, being used as the venues for gaudy, muscle-flexing sideshows where international superpowers, like the US and Russia, express the “superiority” of their respective cultures, economies, or systems of government.
The metaphor was natural enough, given Vladimir Putin’s tendency to stage shirtless, homoerotic photo-ops more befitting a lesser Master of the Universe than a serious geo-political leader. I thought he had the pasty complexion and somewhat pudgy physique of an old-timey, bare-knuckle boxer, slightly gone to seed–all he’s missing is the curly mustache–so getting from that to pro wrestling was a simple matter of answering the question, “What’s similar, but way more ridiculous, goofy, and fake (and therefore funnier)?”
I was sold on the concept once I developed the wrestler names for the figures representing the US and Russia, though my personal lack of interest in the “sport” resulted in a false-start where I accidentally drew them wearing boxer-shorts, instead of the ball-hugging spandex typical of the wrestling arena.
The two characters here are hilarious enough to me that I’m thinking about making a design with them, to sell on t-shirts, or posters, or something. What do you think? Maybe I could replace Uncle Slam’s missing limbs with a robot arm and leg, outfitted with missiles and stuff? Maybe the Kremlinator could be using an actual hammer and sickle as weapons? Would people (including those as uninterested in wrestling as me) buy that?