Kids With Their Superhero Shadows | The Mary Sue
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Gorgeous Artwork Shows Kids With Their Superhero Shadows and Will Warm Your Frozen Heart



Artist Jason Ratliff creates beautiful, touching works that depict the legendary figures we aspire to be as children, and the way we can imagine ourselves as superheroes in play. His creations are a mix of Marvel and D.C. heroes, and they will make you happy-cry.

I don’t know about you, but I could sure use an uplifting break from the news, and something inspiring to rest my eyes upon. So it felt like a particularly well-timed gift when Jason Ratliff gave me permission to feature his work here.

His initial series “Super Shadows,” which showed children shadowed by superheroes in a similar pose, garnered such a positive response that Ratliff created a second series, plus a “Trinity” edition of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Every time I try to choose which pieces to post here, I find another one that I love as much.

Ratliff, an Indiana-based art director by day and artist by night, has made something special. Evocative, emotional and colorful, with a unique use of geometric shadows, his artwork has a whimsical feel that feels like a calming, encouraging hug. It features an inclusively wide range of children, demonstrating that there’s no limit to any child’s imagination. Let’s dive in.


I’m not crying; you, yourself, are crying.


What Civil War?


No Batman v. Superman here. Nope. 


Literally weeping.


Oh my god.


No words for how much I love this. 


I can’t. I cannot. Perfect.


A cardboard box and two flashlights = a mighty good Tony Stark


Now happy sobbing while also clutching my cat.


No, it’s cool, there’s just something in my eye.
Just leave me here. I’m fine.

lanternsNevermind I am definitely not fine.

Ratliff’s deep familiarity and affection for superheroes shine through each piece in brilliant color. While I’ve posted many pictures because I cannot help myself, I’ve only scratched the surface of his collection.

Many more “Super Shadows” are on display at his website, and all are available to be ordered as prints. Chances are, your favorite hero is there. Did I mention Ratliff also draws on such awesome subjects as floating astronauts and llamas in taxis? Now please excuse me while I spend the rest of the day scrolling and gazing at his website, the most soothing balm I’ve found in a long while.

(via Jason Ratliff, Prints available at Curioos, all images: Jason Ratliff)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.