Ra, Ra

Rasputin

I don’t know whether to feel sorry for Rasputin, the disturbing Russian mystic who exerted a sinister influence on the Empress Alexandra, was assassinated by an aristocratic cabal in 1916, only to be memorably brought back to life in performances by Christopher Lee and Tom Baker, and who ended up irretrievably and inextricably associated with a truly terrible earworm of a 1970s song.

Or did he? Because look at the latest pop culture incarnation of the mad monk:

Has Rasputin returned to fight an epidemic of immorality in Mother Russia, armed only with his strong right arm and the sign of the cross?

Well, actually it’s not all that it seems. Mother Russia isn’t a comics group but a clothing company, and this is one of a series of sweatshirt designs that wittily present Russian history’s significant figures, from Catherine the Great to Boris Yeltsin via Lenin, in the style of American comic books of the last century. If you want to acquire one, go here. (It’s also available in red.)

Whether that’ll be enough to rescue Rasputin from his reputation as Russia’s greatest love machine is another matter…

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