I received this shirt in the mail today from my friend Matt...here.)
It's an interesting expression of creativity, this general notion of throwing two intellectual properties together. I'm not talking about the licensed ones like Star Trek/X-Men or Transformers/G.I. Joe, but the smaller, one-note jokes like this. Captain Kirk making out with Princess Leia. My Little Ponies battling the Power Rangers. Bill and Ted stealing Marty's Delorean. (All of which I've seen in the past 12 hours.) They're just quick "what if" scenarios that are only meant to thought about and chuckled at for a few seconds before moving on. For the most part, it's the idea of the idea that's interesting. What would Galactus do if he came across the Death Star? Well, he'd eat it, of course! You don't need to ponder over how Moff Tarkin reacts, or which herald mistook the space station for a planet, or whatever. If you analyze it too much, it ceases to be funny. The chicken is on the other side of the road; you don't need to know what it's motivations were!
And it's precisely because of that one-note nature of these gags that you likely won't see officially licensed variations on them. Think of all the paperwork and licensing fees and general red tape that Marvel and Lucasfilm would have to go through to produce an official version of that shirt. For that joke, totally not worth the expense. So you get guys like Matt filling a select market niche, skirting licensing laws by heavily implying specific characters without expressly mentioning them. It's the same idea I had with my Almost a Superhero shirts.
Is it as creative as creating Galactus or creating the Death Star? I don't know. Jack Kirby and George Lucas didn't come up with those ideas in a vacuum after all. It's definitely a different type of creative expression. Personally, I like the idea. We all have these stories and concepts floating around in our heads anyway, and we don't necessarily compartmentalize all of them. But the ways some ideas interact in one person's head are different than the way they interact in somebody else's. And if you can get how those ideas interact out WITHOUT blatantly stepping on the original source material (i.e. implying the creations without expressly stating/copying them) I think that's bound to get other people thinking outside their respective boxes. Which I can't help but believe is a good thing.
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