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Matt Gaetz - Dead Adventurer (Ink)

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

In video games, specifically fantasy RPGs, it's common for the player to come across the body of an NPC in a dungeon or outside a boss' lair that is identified generically as 'Dead Adventurer.'

It's common enough in games now that it's easy to mentally gloss over it, loot the fallen adventurer's body, and move on without thinking much about it. But I think it's a remarkable thing to include in a game.

The Dead Adventurer represents several things at once: perhaps most obviously danger. It's a way of signaling to the player that they're in a dangerous area where others have perished.

A layer deeper, the Dead Adventurer also subconsciously boosts the esteem of the player. The body is meant to make the player feel as though they're able to venture where others have failed, to feel that their avatar is particularly powerful.

Most interesting to me though, the Dead Adventurer also represents ambition that is greater than skill or ability. The Dead Adventurer was brave to the point of being foolhardy and it cost them their life. The fact that they do not even have a name further suggests that whatever achievements they had were too insignificant to be remembered and their passing was noticed by no one.

The Dead Adventurer does not have a mighty name and title to indicate renown, they're simply someone who aimed high, lost their life, and was quickly forgotten.

With that in mind, I've wanted to connect the idea of the Dead Adventurer to politicians and other public figures who are regularly in the headlines until they are fired or otherwise fall out of favor with the public and the media, at which point they sink into disgrace and/or obscurity. Let's call it the "Michael Avenatti effect."

The first subject of my exploration into this idea is Matt Gaetz, the republican representative from Florida who gained notoriety for his vocal support of the Trump presidency and is currently embroiled in a sex scandal (allegedly!) involving an underage girl.

I packed in a lot of symbolism with this one, specifically pulling influences from Tarot cards, and I also left a visual caveat in the piece to reflect the fact that Gaetz has not yet been (and may never be) pushed from office. I'll dive into more specifics when I share the full-color piece in a couple weeks.

In the meantime, have a peek at the finished line art.


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