You probably have thought that a few times in your life but now it’s literal thanks to British artist Ben Turnbull and his project, “Supermen- An Exhibition of Heroes.”
“Supermen,” now showing through October at Eleven in London, was created by Turnbull for the recent anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks. Look closely at the images (click to view a bit larger) and you’ll notice that they are a collage made up of old comics books. Turnbull’s own comic books to be exact.
Comic heroes like Batman, Captain America, the Flash, Spider-Man and yes, tons of thought and speech bubbles were painstakingly placed onto wood to create images of firemen, a few logos and an American flag.
From Eleven’s website, “Turnbull celebrates the real heroic strength which exists outside the pages of comic books and examines who we look to for protection from an early age to adulthood. He comments, ‘the life changing events of 9/11 led us all to believe in the need for real life superheroes. Superman didn’t fly down to save the falling buildings, there was no Caped Crusader ready to do battle with the arch-enemy and Spidey didn’t spin his web. Without the need of a phone-booth or a revolving door these true patriots donned their iconic costumes and sacrificed life and limb for what they believed in. With every cut-comic hero and dialogue I hope to bring out the true merits of the Brave and the Bold in their fight for Truth, Justice and the American Way.’”
Turnbull has been collecting comics since age 11 they said and this series “is made from fragments of over 1000 pre-1990s comics, the ones that Turnbull read as a child, and created by his own heroes including Jack Kirby, Sal Buscema and Steve Ditko.”
The artist spoke with Yatzer about the art. “Inside all the works I do there is an undeniable truth which I feel has to be taught. I would hope that like me, when I was taken to museums/galleries as a kid, today’s generation of children will be able look at works and learn from them,” he said, “The biggest thrill I had recently was when a Brooklyn school came to see one of the Fireman pieces in a show in New York. It was a real buzz getting their reactions, their realization that hard work can produce results. They totally went for it! For me, that’s the reason I get up in the morning.”
In addition to the collages, Turnbull also has a few other superhero/real hero mashups in the exhibition.