A Tibetan artist named Gade -- only Gade -- has combined his love of Western pop culture and Tibetan wall painting by introducing some very familiar mythological characters to the ancient art: superheroes. In his 2008 exhibition "Making Gods," Gade explored the power of icons and the modern influences on today's Tibet:

Paintings from his 'New Buddha Series' and his 'Diamond Series' reflect this culture shock with images of such American iconic pop figures as Mickey Mouse, Spiderman and the Hulk appearing in the centre of traditional-looking works. Gade points out that these figures show up in every corner of the earth. "When I visited a tiny village called Pazi at the base of Mount Xishabangma (8,102 metres) in the Himalayas, the kids there had backpacks with Mickey Mouse on them, and were drinking Coca Cola. That made me realise the incredible power of those ubiquitous emblems of Western culture and Western values."

...His new 'Mandala Series' takes the Buddhist mandala, which represents an entire world or state of mind, and puts in monsters, tools and objects or, as in Five new Buddhas, Mickey Mouse and Batman as two of the 'new Buddhas'. A Buddhist himself, Gade does not believe that such works are blasphemous as "The Buddhist gods are wise: they know precisely why I do what I do. ... The responsibility of the artist goes beyond creating beautiful things. I just say what I believe."

See more of Gade's work, via io9, after the jump.