Ben Chen’s Grim Cartoons of Beloved Characters

Terror Ravens - Illustration by Ben Chen

These darkly comical illustrations by Ben Chen mash up popular characters from film, TV, comics and folklore. They offer a imaginative and odd twist on our expectations of these normally-cheerful characters.

Dinosaur Avengers shows the superhero team as dinos, including Iron Man as a pterodactyl, Hulk as a T-rex, and Captain America as a triceratops — all fighting off an incoming meteoroid. Follow the Flute shows the Pied Piper leading a line of famous mice, including Mickey Mouse, Mighty Mouse, Splinter from TMNT, Stuart Little, The Brain from Pinky and the Brain, and more. I especially like these mash-up pieces which combine characters from different shows and universes.

Many of the characters are shown as dead, or probably not surviving from the bizarre situations they’re in. Lifting Accident shows an anthropomorphic egg (perhaps inspired by Humpty Dumpty?) who has been cracked by the barbell weight he was trying to lift. An ear of corn commits suicide and becomes popcorn. Snoopy from Peanuts┬áis being eaten by birds in Terror Ravens, and Tigger has had his tail cut off by Christopher Robin, to make a pogo stick, in Jumping Stick. A pair of T-rex attack Back to the Future‘s Marty McFly and crush his Delorian. Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster takes the place of the wolf in a twist on Little Red Riding Hood where she’s a cookie.

The drawings are made in a bright, cartoony style, which I think makes the sometimes-gruesome subject matter more humorous (but still slightly disturbing). Perhaps the beloved characters will somehow magically survive these situations — or perhaps these illustrations just help point out how strange and dark some of our children’s stories really are to begin with.

Dinosaur Avengers - Illustration by Ben Chen

Dinosaur Avengers

 

The End of Time Travel - Illustration by Ben Chen

The End of Time Travel

 

Follow the Flute - Illustration by Ben Chen

Follow the Flute

 

Lifting Accident - Illustration by Ben Chen

Lifting Accident

 

Corn Suicide - Illustration by Ben Chen

Corn Suicide

 

Recycling - Illustration by Ben Chen

Recycling

 

Terror Ravens - Illustration by Ben Chen

Terror Ravens

 

Killing Error - Illustration by Ben Chen

Killing Error

 

Behind the Scene - Illustration by Ben Chen

Behind the Scene

 

Jumping Stick - Illustration by Ben Chen

Jumping Stick

 

Cookie Little Red - Illustration by Ben Chen

Cookie Little Red

Tom is a writer, artist, and multi-media guru from Pennsylvania, U.S. He holds a Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication, but he has also taken several university-level courses in fine arts, art appreciation, graphic design, printmaking, and Asian art. He has been blogging for Monde Mosaic since February 2014.

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