Barbie has become a literal man killer and Bambi has impaled the creatures of the forest on his razor-sharp antlers. This is the world of “Badass,” a series of reimagined popular cartoons by French artist Sylvain Sarrailh. It’s a world in which Babar is a drunken nihilist not above crushing hapless humans, Ronald McDonald is a lunatic who’s just impaled Grimace and the Hamburglar and Denver the dinosaur proves himself an entirely unsuitable human companion. And for Sarrailh, it’s a world that exists just adjacent to the decidedly fuzzier world we knew as kids. What most children see as cute and cuddly, Sarrailh has reframed and slightly amplified as vicious and immoral.
“I find some suffering or violence [in each character] and I multiply it by a thousand,” he says. “Babar and Tintin are the result of a colonialist culture of their time. Alice is a girl who seeks to escape reality. Uncle Scrooge is a symbol of capitalism.”
Sarrailh admits that the project might seem a little immature. “But my roommates tell me I’m eight years in mental age.” Sarrailh has created a dozen or so drawings, but he plans to pen as many as 40. Have a look at Badass creations above; just don’t show them to your kids before bedtime.JM