By now you have all seen the above image, which swept through social media yesterday with the tagline “Macho Man prevented the Rapture.” In a world seemingly without order, connecting the senseless (and very sad) death of Randy “Macho Man” Savage, and the impending Rapture predicting by Harold Camping (inexplicably still alive) would seem to give us some joy.
But where did it come from? Such viral images come and go so quickly on the internet, we thought it would be informative to see what we could come up with as an origin story.
Unsurprisingly, the image first surfaced on Reddit, and it seems to be the work of cartoonist Bobby Campbell, aided by Photoshop and Google Image search. Campbell has some other unusual stuff on his site, like the below image of Alan Moore reading the Illuminati, but nothing to match the grandeur of this mash-up. Campbell even made some desktop-sized versions of the image, here and here.
Macho Man himself has been the subject of a few works of fine art, such as Suzanne with the Macho Man by Suzanne Marie Leclair. Prints are available for purchase in the link. We predict a healthy afterlife for the Macho Man as an iconic figure.
We couldn’t find the original of the Macho Man part of the picture, but the Jesus part seems to be this uncredited image.
UPDATE: The Macho Man component has been identified as a promo image from THQ’s recent WWE All-Stars video game.
So there you have it: video games + religious art + the internet = folk art!
While we were poking around, we found lots of amazing apocalyptic Christian art, all sadly uncredited. Come on people, don’t be shy, like the Master of the St George Altarpiece! They didn’t have Reddit in the Middle Ages but they do now. It’s called progress.
We especially liked his one, of Jesus and the Devil arm wrestling for our souls.
…and this holy
Unicorn horse stampede. Has no one set up a tumblr of Warcraft/religious iconography yet?
As for the Rapture itself, and what it will look like, we’ll go with an oldie but a goodie, courtesy of Hieronymus Bosch.
BONUS: Thanks to reader M.S., here’s a painting that wraps up all the kitsch in one glorious image! Cheeseball cover artist/Frazetta-tributer Boris Vallejo painted this view of a muscular Jesus dying for our sins all the way back in 1969, but clearly he was channeling the apotheosis of the Macho Man even then.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.