Heard on the Hill: Constitutional Action Heroes

Posted November 29, 2011 at 6:18pm

Want to get a jump on Christmas shopping for your favorite history buff?

Look no further than the fantastically vivid paintings of our nation’s former leaders in full action-hero mode, as envisioned by artist Jason Heuser.

Heuser’s prints are no blasé portraits. Each wildly engaging scenario — “It’s just gotten bigger and more ridiculous each time,” he says of the evolving effort — is like a video-game-history-book mashup illustrating such irrationally patriotic scenes as George Washington blasting his way through a horde of bloodthirsty zombies or Ben Franklin squaring off against a lightning-bolt-clutching Zeus for dominion of all things electrical.

The series began taking shape just more than a year ago. But Heuser has already cranked out nearly a dozen fresh takes on historical heavies: Washington, Franklin, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson and Paul Revere.

Heuser points to the Bigfoot-battling Teddy Roosevelt print as the most popular depiction to date, though he noted that the grizzly-bear-riding, machine-gun-toting Lincoln and fully mechanized FDR have also developed cult followings.

He’s most proud, however, of the “Easter eggs” — the term for hidden extras usually embedded in DVD movies and/or video games — that he’s incorporated into each drawing. Washington, for example, sports a Mason pin as well as a button showing a cherry tree with an “X” through it amid all his undead-dispatching equipment.

“I like to create something people can keep looking at and find new things, while hopefully getting people to look into what’s true and what’s not,” Heuser tells HOH. 

Heuser is already mulling the next installments, tossing out ideas about John F. Kennedy “doing something” on the moon or showing Ulysses S. Grant battling it out with overgrown lizards (“crocodiles or alligators,” he predicts).

And don’t think the next race for the White House has gone unnoticed.

“I probably will be doing stuff for the 2012 election,” he said.