“The Mighty Ukrainian Warrior” by Gary Baseman – t-shirt
Prehistory of the character
My characters create themselves, I just draw them. They all have origin stories, they all mean something, at least to me. Buckingham Warrior was inspired by my father whose family lived on the land that is now Ukraine. He was a freedom fighter who hid and lived in the birch forest, fighting real Nazis.
All of my characters can be read in different ways, depending on the moment and the place. Buckingham Warrior’s origin is Eastern Europe. The different editions were named after my parents’ hometowns and regions: Berezne, Kostopol, Wolyner, and Rovno. It is fitting to have one standing in for today’s Ukraine.
Today Buckingham still stands for strength and resilience, even when knocked down by powerful forces. He represents the will to survive, shown today with thousands fighting in Ukraine to keep their country’s sovereignty, and the millions of people fleeing danger who just want to live. That was my father. He just wanted to live and start again, after losing most of his family during the war and being displaced.
My hope is that this character inspires action, in whatever shape it can take – through art, music, writing, helping out others, being vocal about and sharing the ugly reality of what’s happening, or even taking up arms.
The video was released 8 years ago, but is extremely relevant today. Only the symbolism has changed