From the archives : President’s Day and comic books

  

Over the years many characters from both the DC and Marvel Universes have either run or held the high office of the Presidency.some of which I have discussed in past blog posts:

 

From Presidential candidates in comic books

Superman

The Man of Steel has held the highest office in the land a few times.

The first instance is Superman #119 (Vol. 1, 1939) when Jimmy dreams that Superman becomes President.

It happened again in the 90s during the Armageddon 2001 event when Waverider was trying to figure out the identity of the villain Monarch, who destroyed Waverider’s own time.

In this timeline, Pa Kent is crushed by a tractor and dies in 1991. Soon, the farm is put up for sale and Ma moves in with Lois and Clark, who are preparing to get married. Clark’s boyhood friend Pete Ross decides to run for the presidency and asks Clark to come on the team as campaign manager.

During a failed attempt to assassinate Pete, Clark reveals to the world he is Superman as he was saving Pete’s life.

Pete pulls through but asks Clark/Superman to run in his place. If you’ve read the title of this post, you know his answer. But it isn’t as easy as all that, because his opponents fight his nomination on the basis that he isn’t American-born, which of course they work around claiming Clark was born in an artificial womb in a Kansas wheatfield (I am sure Lex asked for a birth certificate to be produced)

Once elected, Superman gets some lost gold from the ocean bed with Aquaman’s help to help pay down the debt, personally frees hostages, plants a million new trees, turns an old disused supervillain lairs in Gotham into affordable housing, and put solar collectors in space to provide cheap energy for the world and of course brings about world world peace.

Turns out this was just a big “What if?” story and none of it really happens.

In the New52 run of Action #9, written by Grant Morrison, we are introduced to Calvin Ellis, who is the Superman of Earth-23 and the President of the United States of America, fights for truth, justice and equality. He also returns in Multiversity and is the leader of Justice League Incarnate which protects the DC Multiverse.

 

Prez: The First Teen President (DC Comics)

Prez: First Teen President followed the adventures of a teenage boy whose election had been made possible by a Constitutional amendment lowering the age of eligibility to accommodate the then-influential youth culture of the baby boom was created and appeared in the four-issue comic series in 1973 – 1974 by writer Joe Simon and artist Jerry Grandenetti.

The series follows Prez Rickard, nicknamed ‘Prez’ by his mother Martha, in the hope of his election to the Presidency.

Prez is originally tapped by Boss Smiley as a front for shady businessman Boss Smiley (a political boss with a smiley face) to run for United States Senator; after becoming a local hero afer synchronizing the clocks of his town of Steadfast. After being elected Senator Prez learns of Boss SMiley’s true intentions, which causes Prez vow to fight Boss Smiley by running for President, thanks to the fact that Congress lowered the age requirement and an uprising in the youth vote.

Once in office Prez’s short-lived series involved him fighting legless vampires, a right-wing militia led by the great-great-great-great-great-grandnephew of George Washington, his arch nemisis “Boss Smiley”, and evil chess players…only in the 70s would this be possible.

The series was a precursor to the DC Implosion of the late 70s although the character would continue to make the occasional cameo.

The character would later be rebooted during the DCYou run before Rebirth written by Mark Russell and drawn by Ben Caldwell.

This time the 6 issue mini series featured a teenage girl named Beth Ross who is elected president via Twitter,in the year 2036, after a video of her getting her hair caught in a corndog fryer goes viral.

From Politics in Comics :

Lex Luthor

In 2000, in the lead up to the most contentious election in history, DC Comics opted to run Lex Luthor, mad scientist, business tycoon, and constant throne in Superman’s side, for president instead of George W. Bush. Superman’s arch-villain ended up winning the Presidency, which caused all sorts of strife for heroes across the DC Universe with the citizens in the country unable to see Luthor for the villain that he truly was. Superman and Batman went to work relentlessly trying to remove him from office since the electorate and Congress were unable to remove him from office. Eventually they were able to expose him to the world as the villain he was and he fled the country in disgrace but there were some interesting stories along the way.

Transmetropolitan

Transmetropolitan is a cyberpunk comic book series written by Warren Ellis with art by Darick Robertson and published by DC Comics

The comic chronicles the battles of Spider Jerusalem, an infamous gonzo journalist and homage to Hunter S. Thompson, who lives in “The City.” Spider Jerusalem has dedicated himself to fighting the corruption and abuse of power of two successive United States presidents; The Beast and The Smiler. Along with his “filthy assistants” he strives to keep their world from turning more dystopian than it already is while dealing with spiderthe struggles of fame and power, brought about due to the popularity of his articles.

The Beast
The current president when the series begins and is a two-term president despised by Spider for his political tactics and condescending attitude toward the population. Spider gives him the nickname based from his mental picture of the man, “a big black animal squatting in the heart of America…the thing in us that votes to *^$ other people in the gall bladder, the lizard brain that says nothing but eat-kill-hump-s—*” and is portrayed as a Richard Nixon-esque President. The Beast possesses something of a superiority complex and has few qualms with punishing districts which don’t support him. Spider repeatedly accused The Beast of being a power-hungry politician who had no real beliefs and no interest in actually doing the job required of him. In an interview Spider finds out The Beast simply believes in “getting through the day,” doing the bare minimum required of him in order to ensure that the country continues to run and that at least the bare majority of the population survives.

The Smiler
The Smiler, whose real name is Gary Callahan, is the presidential candidate who is elected at the end of the first story arc of the comic. He is given the nickname for his wide, rigid, nearly perpetual grin, and gains Spider’s grudging support, until he proves to be far more corrupt and dangerous than The Beast, and only wants to be President in order to control and oppress people,. The Smiler goes so far as to send assassins after him, have him fired from The Word (the paper he writes for). Since The Smiler has no qualms about killing anyone whose death will help him gain or keep power, Transmetropolitan is a one-of-a-kind mix of extreme sci-fi, insane humor, hard politics, and even harder violence make it a great read. Warren Ellis uses Transmetropolitan as a soap box commentary on our generation by touching everything from anthropomorphism to religion to politics with a cheery sense of dread and disgust messages which make the series a classic.

 

The Beast The Smiler


Here are some new entries of more Presidents from comic books, some good and some bad:

Doctor DoomDoom 2099

When present-day Victor Von Doom is resurrected decades later, he goes on quite the tear. Not satisfied with cartoonish bids for power; this quest for world domination was filled with cold, calculated murder.

Step one, take back his own throne, then moved on to steal the largely ceremonial role of the POTUS. You see, when the corporations (like what will happen in the next four years)take over there won’t be much need for a president anymore. So much so they didn’t even think to dismantle the position’s official power.

Doom, as you might expect, noticed the error. He ousted the U.S. senate (by killing them), and convinced the current presidential puppet to step down (by killing himself).

Murder aside, he was a pretty decent head of state, and a stellar delegator.
His impact on other 2099 titles was felt as he roped their various stars into his administrations cabinet:

Doom putsthe X-Men in charge of Halo City, a burg where humans and mutants lived in peace; makes future Spider-Man Miguel O’Hara the Minister of Superhuman Affairs, and the Punisher 2099 becomes Minister of Punishment, as well as the head of SHIELD.

Naturally, the former corporate bigwigs try to remove him, and manage to do just that for a time. Doom being Doom, however, survives the coup and retaliates. Not by getting re-elected, but by disintegrating the lot of them with nano bots … Take that Electorial College.

Captain America (Steve Rogers)

Sure they tried to get him to run in the 616 Universe but it in the Ultimate Universe he actually held the office after he was elected to lead the shattered country during Divided We Fall storyline, which was basically the Ultimate line’s bombastic version of Civil War.

And last but not least…

Richard Nixon

You read that right, Richard Nixon aka “Tricky Dick.”

Quite a lot of real-life presidents have made their way into comics over the years, but Richard Nixon seems to top the crop when it comes to presidents in comic books. Maybe it is because he’s just that a good of a villain.

With appearances in both DC and Marvel, he has appeared in Superman, Captain America, Watchmen, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, SHIELD, and Star Trek.

You can’t just can’t escape him.

Sometimes that’s a good thing! For the sake of the story, especially when Nixon happens to be a Skrull

His most well-known comic book appearance is from Watchmen. In the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons classic, Mr. Watergate is not only a barometer for the state of a post-superhero United States, but has an active role in shaping the world into its wacky, 80s vision of American Exceptionalism

Nixon enlists Dr. Manhattan and The Comedian to win the Vietnam War making him Dick just about the most popular president in history. So popular, in fact, that he gets the 22nd Amendment repealed whach allows him to run for and win a third term in office.

And the Watergate Scandal wasn’t much of a scandal that would put a damper on everything when Your personal assassin is The Comedian and you have him murder journalists Woodward and Bernstein and JFK.

Sure that’s bad but his worst act of villiany…

Causing Captain America to doubt his namesake. Nixon’s betrayal was so great that Steve Rogers ditched his old costume and replaced it with an… ill-advised v-neck jumper, re-introducing himself as the new hero “Nomad.”

Back Wednesday

From: http://blog.timesunion.com/comicbooks/from-the-archives-presidents-day-and-comic-books/6929/

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