Lord of the Ring by Vo Maria (vo maria) translates the fantasy world of Lord of the Rings into a boxing poster. It’s a great juxtaposition, in part because athletics and geeky books rarely collide like this, and of course in part because the characters’ fantasy accoutrements are so ill-suited for the sport. Galdalf’s beard is especially silly-looking, and he looks every bit the underdog against his opponent’s clawed gloves. I’m guessing that there are some jokes being made in the text that heighten the humor as well (there’s not an actual Lord of the Ring in the book, right?) but I’m not familiar enough with the subject matter to catch it. At any rate, the boxing poster look is very strong and I think the uneven baseline of the lettering is a good choice that helps the artwork to feel crafted rather than just typed on a computer.
Bent Not Broken by Mickillinit (Mickillinit) is a weird one for me. I feel like I understand what the goal was, to show wings and a spine that have been battered but remain strong, but that’s not really what comes across to me. Instead, I’m put in mind of an angel with curvature of the spine. Wings and a back brace. To make matters worse, the printing really doesn’t do the concept any favors- it’s on the front of the shirt rather than the back (who the heck has wings coming out of their chest?) and the small print size means that the design’s pelvis sits just below the wearer’s ribs. I think a smarter angle would have been to simply fade out the spine into the fabric color, avoiding the sizing problem entirely.
Tree Rex by Natellis (Neight-Bit) is kind of like the cousin to another shirt I enjoy, Mammoth Trees at Shirt.Woot. Who knew there were so many prehistoric creatures lurking in the trees? It makes sense, though, both because of the tradition of sculpting topiaries into shapes like this and because of the way we’re all inclined to look for shapes in the clouds. Sometimes it’s just fun to let your imagination get away with you. What I enjoy the most about this design is how complete it is- it gives you the tree that looks like a T-Rex, but also shows how it got that way with a tiny human trimmer who tightens up the leafy grooming. And it’s even a step more complex- the crane the man stands on has a brontosaurus logo on the back, and the whole object’s shadow looks unmistakably smooth and dino-ish. That’s extra fun because of the herbivore connection. It’s a fun visual journey, and so silly you can’t help but smile at it.
Ninjesus by Mathiole and Hafaell Pereira (mathiole) is the big 20K winner and my favorite shirt of the week. Comments on the Threadless product page show that it’s a bit of a controversial pick, but it’s definitely not the first time Threadless found humor in putting Jesus in an unexpected situation (sup Air Jesus). And I think the juxtaposition of Jesus’s peaceful ways with the hard-hitting, baddie-kicking ways of a martial arts action movie is a great choice for the piece, precisely because it evokes strong emotions (both good and bad) from viewers and because the unexpectedness helps with the humor. Of course, the subject matter isn’t the only comment page controversy for this one- many have also picked up that the design is heavily based on the movie poster for Gymkata. And indeed, so much of the posing comes right from the poster that I think there is some room for concern, since this design is not a Gymkata parody and doesn’t wear that influence on its sleeve. That creates an awkward situation for Threadless if they were unaware of the reference, as it may be somewhat legally dicey (only parody is protected legally, other forms of derivative work are not). As long as Threadless was aware of the situation, though, I see no issue with this design as the 20K winner- it’s theirs to give, and ultimately this is a design the public expressed a lot of interest in during voting. Can’t blame them for giving the people what they want!
Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn 20% royalties based on net profit (paid monthly) and a $250 Threadless Gift Certificate.