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Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 08/ 5/2009

'Hello, Beautiful': How Long Till 'Obama the Joker' Posters Show Up Outside 1600 Penn?

By Michael Cavna

This morning, Comic Riffs wrote about Heath Ledger's final act of art -- which was not an Oscar-winning performance, but rather an animated short. Still, of course, his Joker creation in "The Dark Knight" will stand as one of the several things he's most remembered for. Just ask the drivers and pedestrians of L.A., where a Joker-faced poster reportedly took seed at street-level before spiraling viral onto sites and chatter shows galore.

The anonymously spawned poster that morphs images of Barack Obama and Ledger's Joker -- with the word "socialism" printed beneath -- is continuing to pop up around the Southland and now across the country. And how long, really, till the poster pops up within Joker-cackling proximity of 1600 Penn? (If anyone's spotted versions of the poster closer than George Washington University, feel free to do tell.)

If nothing else, this poster proves two things. First: Some poster artists (are Shepard Fairey's 15 minutes up yet?) still love to appropriate Obama's image for fun, politics and profit. And second: Not all "political cartoonists" need a newspaper or a Web site to get their visual point across -- though this mashup will surely become a Rosetta stone for whatever else viewers want to see in it, politically and culturally. (In that way, interpretations could become as divided as they were over Barry Blitt's satirical 2008 New Yorker of the Obamas titled "The Politics of Fear.")

You can view LA Weekly's image of the poster HERE. And the mashup image is being appropriated all over YouTube, natch:

Lastly: We'd be remiss if we didn't note that Joker/Obama mashup visuals are hardly a new thing -- graphic artists have been doing so since at least the inauguration, if not before.


THE DARK KNIGHT: Who's the better Joker: Heath or Jack?

SKETCHBOOK: Building a better Obama caricature.

By Michael Cavna  | August 5, 2009; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Superheroes, The Political Cartoon  
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The web link to the poster didn't work for Safari - it produced a really weird script error: "Zend Optimizer not installed". So I tried it using Firefox, and immediately regretted it. I've never seen such an intolerant wasteland of extremism as on Tammy Bruce's website.

Posted by: kilby | August 5, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

>> kilby:

thanks for mentioning. i've now swapped out the web link for an LA Weekly page.


Posted by: cavnam | August 5, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Ha! What is more comical than this poster is all those political pundits and those talking heads on television performing all these deep analyses of, "What does this mean?"

Experts are called in, psychologists, FBI profilers, Dr. Ruth, Judge Judy, Alan Greenspan, Bernie Madoff even Cardinal Mahony, all expressing their expert opinions on, "What does this mean?"

Shoot, all this means is a teenage boy was sitting around smoking dope, trying out his Photoshop software pirated off the web, sitting around with some boys from the hood, getting stoned, giggling and having a good time messing with Obama, "Oh wow, man, awesome, totally sick!"

"Dude! Let's make some posters!"

There you are, just a bunch of pothead boys out on the streets having a good time, a right good time.

Right now, those boys are probably eating pizza, drinking beer and laughing their butts off, "Check it out, dude, our posters are on TV!"

Meanwhile, all these hyper-head pseudo intellects are scratching their heads and wondering,"What does this mean?"

Now, that is comical!

Okpulot Taha
Choctaw Nation

Posted by: PurlGurl | August 6, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Here's link to the original artwork. A riff on an Obama TIME mag cover, the art was posted to flicker Jan 18 09. It seems it wasn't meant as political statement but was just part of bunch of other stuff the guy had done:

Image was appropriated by Socialism poster people, who took off the TIME cover, stretched the image and did painter photoshop stuff. Plus the border and "Socialism" added.

Of course, this still doesn't explain who Socialism poster people are or what their political message is.

My guess is Libertarian pranksters!

It's all so Meta.

Posted by: dadada | August 6, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

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