The monument to the Soviet army in central Sofia is no stranger to graffiti, which pops right back up as soon as the monument is washed every spring.
But on the morning of June 18 2011, passers-by were treated to more than just the usual graffiti tags and anti-communist slogans. The sculpture composition at the base of the monument was painted overnight to turn the metal soldiers into well-known pop culture icons; the inscription below the composition proclaimed it to be "in step with the times".
Comic book characters led the way, with The Mask, Batman's nemesis the Joker, Wolverine of X-Men fame, Superman and Captain America all featured, joined by Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald, among others. The flag held by the soldiers was painted in the stars and stripes of the US flag.
The artists behind the colourful re-imagining of the monument did not leave a clue to their identity and no one had stepped forward to claim responsibility, but speculation in social media and internet noticeboards connected the paint job to the Sofia Design Week 2011, which ends on June 19.
An unnamed Sofia city hall official, quoted by Sega daily, said that authorities would try to find the culprits and would seek to clean up the monument, but it was unlikely to happen right away.