Archive for Barack Obama

By Crom!

Okay, I just gotta throw this out here real quick. You guys like The Onion, right? Check out their new article about Obama’s challenges with his new Cabinet

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama expressed frustration Wednesday after members of his cabinet failed to recognize his allusion to the 24th issue of the comic series Savage Sword Of Conan during their first major meeting together.

Obama, whose upcoming challenges include organizing a massive effort to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, was reportedly unprepared for the confused silence he received upon suggesting that his cabinet “team up with Taurus of Nemedia” to secure the necessary funding from Congress.


Obama, an avid collector of Conan The Barbarian and Spider-Man comic books since he was a child, was referencing the 1977 story “The Tower Of The Elephant,” written by Roy Thomas. According to administration sources, no one in Obama’s cabinet was familiar with the magazine-sized comic, though Labor Secretary Hilda Solis claimed to have once seen Conan the Destroyer.

Even by The Onion‘s usual high standards, this one was particularly funny. Go read the whole thing.

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Living in an Obama World

All told, it’s looking like it’s gonna be a pretty good day for Barack Obama, what with taking the oath of office and becoming the President of the United States and all that.

I was digging through my archives the other day and realized that, though there have been a lot of presidential guest-appearances in comics over the past few decades, there have been mighty few who were showing up in comics before their inaugurations.

After all, Obama starred in a nonfictional biography comic:

He teamed up with Spider-Man:

(Of course, who hasn’t teamed up with Spider-Man. I think Frog-Man has had more guest-appearances with Spidey than Obama has. Kinda takes the polish off that little honor…)

Obama has made more than one appearance with the Savage Dragon:

And he even got his photo snapped with the Man of Steel:

If there’s a downside to all this attention the comics world has been paying him, it’s gotta be this:

Yeah, Barack Obama is going to get drawn by talentless crapmonkey Rob Liefeld. I don’t think I’d wish a fate that horrible on anyone

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The Comics I Didn’t Read

There were a couple of different comics that I didn’t pick up this week. Actually, I didn’t even get a chance to get them — they weren’t in the store when I made it in. Could be because they were already sold out. Could be because they weren’t included in this week’s shipment — something that happens quite a lot. Still, even if they’d been available, I don’t think I would’ve bought them. But let’s talk about them a bit anyway.

The Amazing Spider-Man #583

Yeah, the issue where soon-to-be President Barack Obama does the terrorist fist jab with Spider-Man. I’d already heard from a friend who’d seen the comic earlier that he didn’t think it was a very good story, and I was already leery of this being something I’d buy, read, find boring, and want to get rid of ASAP. So it wasn’t appealing to me at all. Just another publicity stunt by Marvel, though by all accounts, it’s been an uncommonly successful publicity stunt — Marvel’s gone back for three printings already to keep up with the demand.

Final Crisis #6

Well, like I’d said previously, I’m quitting the crossovers, especially the crossovers that are $4 instead of $3. I’ve already heard that Grant Morrison finally delivers what he said he’d have in the “Batman R.I.P.” storyarc — the death of Batman. He gets zapped by Darkseid’s “Omega Effect” right after shooting him in the shoulder with a big gun. Way to go, Bats, you actually use a gun on someone, on the biggest, baddest villain in the DCU, a guy who’s planning on killing, well, everyone, and you still can’t shoot him in the head. Great work, man.

Also, please feel free to gasp in wonder at the stunning and humiliating depths of ineptitude displayed by DC’s public relations office. You’re part of a gigantic media megalith like Warner Brothers. You’ve just “killed” the most popular superhero in the world. And you can’t even get a mention on the news because everyone’s talking about Marvel’s publicity stunt with Barack Obama. Congratulations, DC Comics, you are officially the Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

And in a related topic, could I direct y’all’s attention to this silliness over at Valerie D’Orazio’s joint, referring to the new issue of “Final Crisis”?

This book comes out the same day as the Spider-Man Obama cover. Such a contrast in energy, direction.

I choose hope.

Puhhh-lease. The death of Batman and the guest-appearance of Obama have exactly the same goals: sales. In fact, the energy and direction of both events is blatantly, unashamedly cynical — fake events, publicity-seeking nothingness, and short-term sales boosts. Will Batman stay dead? Certainly not. Did Obama’s appearance serve any greater story? Certainly not. Both events are there only because the publishers believe that readers will buy into the hype and buy the comics.

If anything, I think the Spider-Man comic may actually be more cynical. Marvel head-honcho Joe Quesada has said they published the story only because they found out that Obama is a Spidey fan. It’s the equivalent of a commemorative plate. I don’t blame Marvel for publishing it — if I was in charge of the company, I’d be nuts not to hook my wagon to an incredibly popular president-elect. But let’s not ascribe unearned nobility to what is simply a fairly shrewd PR ploy.

Oh, and one more thing, ’cause I just can’t let this go yet. As far as all the “hope” at Marvel, and the “contrast in energy, direction” between Marvel and DC — in the past few years, Marvel has killed off Captain America, the Wasp, and Kitty Pryde, and had Spider-Man make a deal with the Devil to end his marriage. It takes more than a back-up story guest-starring a popular politician to erase years of cynical storytelling. The contrast between Marvel and DC is nil.

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Marvel Team-Up Featuring Spider-Man and Barack Obama

Man, Spider-Man gets to meet all the interesting public figures. Late last year, he got to hang out with Stephen Colbert, now he’s all set to meet Barack Obama.

On Jan. 14, Marvel Comics is releasing a special issue of Amazing Spider-Man #583 with Obama depicted on the cover. Inside are five pages of the two teaming up and even a fist-bump between Spidey and the new president.

“It was a natural after we learned the new president is a Spider-Man fan,” says Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada about reports that Obama once collected Spider-Man comics. “We thought, ‘Fantastic! We have a comic-book geek in the White House.’ ”

The White House transition team did not respond to a question about the extent of Obama’s comic-book geekiness, but Obama did mention Spider-Man during the campaign, primarily at children-oriented events. And during an Entertainment Weekly pop culture survey, Obama said Batman and Spider-Man were his top superheroes because of their “inner turmoil.” (John McCain picked Batman.)

In the story by Zeb Wells, Todd Nauck and Frank D’Armata, Spider-Man stops the Chameleon from spoiling Obama’s swearing-in. At one point, Spider-Man says he mistook Vice President-elect Joe Biden for the Vulture (a vintage Spider-Man villain).

This is due to hit the stands next week, but if you want this one, ya better get to the stores early on New Comics Day — they’re expecting this issue to sell out fast.

(Link courtesy of ComicBookResources)

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Is Barack Obama a Geek?

I stumbled onto this interview with Barack Obama a few days back, where Entertainment Weekly quizzed him on his pop culture preferences. One of the questions was:

Last question, and the fate of the Republic hangs on your answer: If you could be any superhero, which superhero would you be?

I was always into the Spider-Man/Batman model. The guys who have too many powers, like Superman, that always made me think they weren’t really earning their superhero status. It’s a little too easy. Whereas Spider-Man and Batman, they have some inner turmoil. They get knocked around a little bit.

So, naturally for me, I wondered if this was the answer that proved that Obama was a great big geek. Initially, I nixed the idea — if you’re asking someone who their favorite superheroes are, there’s a really good chance you’re going to get Batman, Superman, or Spider-Man name-dropped, just because they’re the most popular and best-known characters out there. That answer doesn’t prove you’re a geek — it proves you have a very general awareness of American pop culture.

On the other hand, there’s also the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, in which Obama and McCain both gave humorous, self-deprecatory speeches. Part of Obama’s speech included this line:

Contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-el, to save the planet Earth.

Proof of geekdom? Well, it’s proof that one of his speechwriters is a geek, but is there anything that indicates that the President-Elect is a current or former comic reader?

Hey, what’s this I see in this list of “50 Things You May Not Know about Obama”?

He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics

Whoa. By Crom, that appears to be confirmation!

Does this mean we’re going to start seeing Washington’s power players, politicos, and pundits reading Grant Morrison’s comics and Robert E. Howard books to get insights into the new president’s personality and outlook? Could potentially lead to a bit too much rigid good-vs.-evil thinking, which is always a problem in Washington, but it might be cool to see a little more mainstreaming of comics culture…

And on top of being a comic reader, Obama is also a Trekkie, according to Leonard Nimoy…

About a year and a half ago I was at a political event and one of our current campaigners for the office of President of the United States saw me, approached, and he gave me the Vulcan signal… it was not John McCain.

On top of that, the article notes that he namedrops “dilithium crystals” in casual conversation. Dude, that’s nerrrrdy.

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The Distinguished Candidates

I told myself I’d save my money and ignore these two, but in the end, my love of politics had me dropping a little extra coin to check these out.

Presidential Material: Barack Obama

What’s it about? It’s a biography of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama!


Presidential Material: John McCain

What’s it about? It’s a biography of Republican presidential candidate John McCain!

Verdicts: To my surprise, thumbs up. I’d really expected a couple of drawn-out biographies, with a little slapdash art, to sell for some quick speculator cash. But I was pleasantly surprised by both of these. The art isn’t perfect, but it’s just fine here — a bit of the traditional comic-book look ends up serving this material well. The biographies are far more complete than I was anticipating. These aren’t just ripped off of Wikipedia — they’re as complete as you’re going to find in a coupla 22-page comics, and they actually list their research sources in the back — magazines, newspapers, the candidates’ official Senate biographies, the books they’ve written, even a few less-than-friendly sources. These are pretty warts-and-all bios, too — Obama’s drug use, connections to Jeremiah Wright, and campaign missteps are included, as are McCain’s party-animal days in the Navy, his controversial divorce and re-marriage, and the Keating Five scandal.

They’re definitely not complete biographies, but the creators do as good a job as they can in a very limited amount of space. These are both extremely text-heavy comics — it’s gonna take you a while to read ’em cover-to-cover. But I’m pleased that IDW took these comics seriously enough to do a good job on them.

And on a related note, yesterday, Samuel said in comments: “I’ll bake you some cookies if you can find a comic with Sarah Palin on it. You betcha!” Well, people, I’ll do anything for cookies!

Probably not exactly what Samuel was looking for, as I suspect he’s a Palin fan, but that’s the cover of Tales from the Crypt #8, a revival of the classic EC Comics franchise published by a company called Papercutz. Palin is saying “Didn’t we get rid of you guys in the ’50s?” as she menaces the Crypt-Keeper, the Vault-Keeper, and the Old Witch with a hockey stick. That’s a reference (A) to Palin’s reported interests in banning library books in Wasilla, Alaska during her tenure as mayor (No books were actually banned, but a librarian briefly lost her job until local supporters pressured the local government to re-hire her), and (B) to the anti-comics Senate hearings in the ’50s that ran EC out of business. Inside the comic is an anti-censorship editorial by Cathy Gaines Mifsud, daughter of legendary EC publisher William Gaines, that stops just barely short of endorsing Anybody-But-Sarah-Palin.

This is an issue I haven’t read yet — I don’t even know if it’s been released yet, or if I’ll be able to find it. I reviewed the first issue of this series last year and was not at all impressed, so I may not pick it up at all.

So there ya go, Samuel — like I said, it’s probably not the pro-Palin cover you were hoping for, but I’ll be happy to take those cookies now. Mmm-mmmm, delicious chocolate chunk cookies, so yummy and — hey! What’s this? These are full of black widow spiders, blowfish spines, and cyanide capsules, not chocolate chunks! Samuel, I oughtta…


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Comics Industry for THAT ONE

Even for an election year, there is a lot of wild comics-related political news out there.

For example, there’s this new organization called “Comics Industry for Obama” — to the best of my knowledge, the first time a bunch of comics creators have gotten together specifically to support a single candidate. Eric Powell, creator of “The Goon” is a member, as is Mike Mignola, creator of “Hellboy.” More than likely, Erik Larsen, creator of “The Savage Dragon” has signed on with ’em, too. Buncha others — Mike Allred, Jimmy Palmiotti, Denys Cowan, Steve Niles, Cully Hammer, Rick Remender, Sarah Grace McCandless, Jennifer Grunwald, Andy Diggle, probably a bunch more whose names I just don’t recognize.

And with this group out there in the public eye, it probably won’t be long before we see a “Comics Industry for McCain” group — or maybe more likely, considering their actual popularity levels, “Comics Industry for Palin.” Eric Powell, for one, seems to feel like that’s A-OK.

I spoke about this with a fellow comic creator who signed up. We both acknowledged the fact that we could face a backlash from some readers for being associated with this. We were both of the opinion, “Oh, Well.” It’s time to grow a pair, people. I love my readers and if your views don’t mesh with mine, fine. If you don’t like Obama, work for McCain’s campaign. That’s your right. Just like it’s my right to support the candidate of my choice. That’s what the process is all about. Why does it have to be about getting pissed off and hating a guy because he has a different point of view?

It is kinda weird, isn’t it? There are folks out there who’ll actually quit reading Mignola’s “Hellboy” comics because his choice of candidate doesn’t match up with theirs. Did “Hellboy” and “B.P.R.D.” somehow stop being awesome? Did “The Goon” stop being the most hilariously violent comic out there? Of course not — but there are really people out there willing to stop reading Mignola’s, Powell’s, and Larsen’s comics in an attempt to punish them for having opinions that don’t mesh with their own. And of course, there may be liberals out there who won’t read old “Spider-Man” comics because Steve Ditko is conservative, or “Fables” because Bill Willingham is a Republican. It’s almost Stalinist — those who oppose the cult of personality must be cast out and erased…

I certainly recognize that there are legitimate reasons why someone might want to boycott an artist’s work, but boycotting someone because they want to exercise the right to vote seems a bit much…

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Terrorist Fist Jab!


Why does Superman hate America?!

(Image courtesy of the always mind-blowing Chris Sims)

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Politics in Comics: Hail to the Chief!

Is this not the weirdest political season you’ve seen in a while? It seems particularly unusual for us Texans — when was the last time that we actually had a say in helping to pick any of the nominees? Usually, the candidates have been narrowed to one-per-party long before the Texas primary hits. But this year, we’re still in play. Seems to make a lot of people much more interested in the presidential race than normal.

We’ve already had ol’ Bubba in town to talk up Hillary’s candidacy. Right now, Obama’s currently disappointing a lot of folks who were hoping he’d come to town, too. So right now, everyone’s thinking about matters political. And hey, I’m a shameless attention hound, so I figured I’d hunt down nice presidential-themed comic covers for your amusement.


Ya ever wondered who various superheroes would vote for? I figure Wonder Woman would be endorsing Hillary, right?


Captain America’s got a military background — I figure he’d pull the lever for McCain.


Green Arrow? While he hasn’t run for president, he did get elected as mayor of Star City not too long ago. I think he’d definitely be a Kucinich supporter, though I’m sure he complained that Kucinich was a bit too conservative for his tastes.


Hey, good ol’ Prez Rickard, the 18-year-old president from the old ’70s DC series. I’m betting Prez would write in whoever was running as the Green candidate. Crazy ’70s hippie weirdo presidents…


Yeah, the Savage Dragon was briefly the president. Who would he support in this election? Definitely the Greens. Get it? Get it? Oh, man, I’m hilarious.


No reason not to let the villains in on the act. In DC’s continuity, Lex Luthor actually got elected president of the U.S. back in 2000. He wasn’t considered too bad a president either, though he eventually got booted out of office after turning supervillain. As for who he’d vote for? I figure Lex would write himself in. Crazy megalomaniac ex-presidents…


I think I’m the only person in the world who liked the “Emperor Joker” storyline that ran in the Superman comics a few years ago. Sure, he’s not exactly presidential, but being an all-powerful emperor counts for something, I guess. I’m not sure the Joker would think any of the candidates were crazy enough for him. Maybe Alan Keyes. That dude’s craaaaaaazy. Maybe Huckabee, if he keeps talking up that garbage about making America a theocracy…


Whoa, looks like Superman’s endorsing Obama.

So who are your picks for the nation’s top job?

UPDATE: Can’t believe I forgot Howard the Duck!

I figure Howard would vote for Mallard Fillmore or Andrew Quackson…

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