Pop Culture-y is a website that is curious to explore how different mediums can be used to explore pop culture phenomenon, and how these famous (or infamous) figures can be re-imagined in different settings. Artist Neil Wright wondered “what it (maybe) would look like if pop-culture’s most famous villains & heroes owned motorhomes”, and has created several artworks which will have become the basis of a weekly series “On The Road Again”. This is the first installment – Darth Vader’s Imperial Cruiser.
There is an old expression: that you are what you wear. What I interpret this to mean is that we let our personalities ‘dress’ us in a sense. Everything from the slogans on our tees to the colours we choose — they all are some manifest expression of our mental outlook and approach to life.
The famous heroes and antiheroes of comic books, TV, and cinema all have human creators and express themselves, presumably, how the author imagines they would express themselves if they were their own creations. This form of personality-expression is everywhere in pop culture as it is in the real world, and becomes more discernible as the strength and influence of the characters increases.
One immediate example is Dr Robotnik (Eggman) in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. In the old megadrive games, the ultra powerful Robotnik would fight Sonic in giant, weaponised, robot mechas of himself. He even oversaw the construction of a Robotnik-styled Death Star — all of his creations were fashioned with a titanium ginger mustache to boot.
The point is, people want you to know who they are. Villains especially. A rich man doesn’t drive a Bugatti Veyron because he wants you to mistake his income for a modest one.
But why motorhomes?
This exact trail of thought led me to the current graphics that I created. As someone who works for a motorcaravan company, I wondered, what if? What if – absurd as it sounds – Darth Vader owned a motorhome? What if Daenerys Targaryen owned one? What if…
I took creative license with this because all fictional characters are just that: fictional. We put them in situations and inject some humanity into them, so we can find them relatable (even if what they do is horrible and we relate by not wanting to be like them). In this case, as a sort of in-isolation experiment, I took each character out of their natural environment and into something as mundane as a motorhome, but I tried to keep faithful to their own characteristic integrity and humanity. The following illustrations are the result.
Darth Vader’s “Imperial Cruiser”
This was by far was the easiest motorhome to design. It practically poured out of me. It takes a lot of its inspiration from the classic Imperial Shuttle that Vader uses to travel between the planets and the Imperial Fleet. You can see this clearly in the cockpit and the navigation fin, as well as in the unusual polygon-architectural style of the body, and in the cold metallic grey coating of paint.
In fact, it looks like a prop from a Star Wars/Mad Max crossover that never got out of development.
The inside was fairly easy to imagine too (though how Vader eats and preserves food is beyond my imagination, hence the comic relief). There’s a meditation chamber, where he can have some downtime and be his vulnerable self, a conference table and a chess set. I’ve even allowed a rare moment of sentimentalism (Padme’s photograph) to creep through – after all, we know he wasn’t all evil in the end.
Neil Wright is a graphic designer, writer, avid reader and probably someone with too much time on his hands. He lives in Liverpool, England.