It’s election time again. This presidential race is turning into a very hotly contested one. Accusations and name calling are being thrown about like dirty socks in a freshman dorm room.
The political banter from the mindless pundits has pitted neighbor against neighbor and friend against friend. Democrats and Republicans are fighting more than Marvel and DC fans.
With all this animosity in the air I decided to interject a little levity on the subject. Presidents have made appearances in comic books for a long time. Some are just brief glimpses of the POTUS and some are given plot lines. I have compiled a small list of the most notable Presidential appearances in the comics.
This is in NO way a complete listing. It would take much more than this small article space to list them all. Feel free to add any POTUS comic book appearances that aren’t on this list in the comments section.
Richard Nixon appeared in Alan Moore & Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen. In 1985 the country is edging toward World War III with the Soviet Union and Nixon is still president. Let me explain how this happened for those who haven’t read Watchmen (please read the book, don’t watch the movie. The movie left a lot out).
Watchmen depicts an alternate history where superheroes emerged in the 1940s and 1960s. Their presence changed history so that the United States won the Vietnam War thanks to the involvement of Dr. Manhattan. Another important change is the Watergate scandal was never exposed. It is hinted that the Comedian killed Woodard and Bernstein and also assassinated JFK. Term limits are cast aside and Nixon is still in the Oval Office.
It was also implied that President Nixon was a hooded mastermind, pulling the strings behind a massive plot for a super villain group called The Secret Empire in Captain America comics. You never see his face or hear his name muttered, but it is undeniably him.
In the early ’90s, then-new President Bill Clinton endorsed Hank Henshaw (The Hank Henshaw that appears in the Supergirl TV show was retconned), also known as the Cyborg Superman, as the “real deal”. Henshaw saved Clinton from a terrorist assassination attempt.
To show his gratitude, Clinton granted the villain a photo op and the U.S. Government’s stamp of approval. Shortly thereafter Henshaw would turn out to be a homicidal maniac who killed 7 million Americans in a terrorist attack that was impressive even by DC Universe standards.
President Clinton also exiled Captain America from U.S. soil and stripped him of his name and title after Cap was fromed for an attack on a U.S. military base. This happened during the “Man Without a Country” storyline by Mark Waid and Ron Garney.
George W. Bush
George Dubya was threatened by the Punisher. Frank Castle broke into his office and made some not-so-subtle threats to the drunk and nearly-incoherent President.
Image Comics Savage Dragon ran in the Presidential election in 2004 against George W. Bush and John Kerry. The run was actually organized by a corrupt politician looking to wreak havoc.
During that election Savage Dragon took a swing at Imposter, a super villain who had taken Bush’s place, during a public event.
George W. Bush was clearly present for the concluding pages of Civil War #1. He presided over the meeting wherein Iron Man, Reed Richards, and Yellowjacket promised to handle Captain America.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
FDR has been retroactively spun into playing key roles in the creation of both the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron in DC Comics. It was Roosevelt who first summoned Flash and Green Lantern in 1940 when he was informed that Hitler had acquired the Spear of Destiny.
Realizing war in Europe was inevitable, Roosevelt suggested the heroes remain together to protect the home front during the war. FDR was the guy who gave Captain America his round shield, replacing his triangular version. The two met a few times over the years, too.
Deadpool & the Dead Presidents
A notable inclusion is the Deadpool “Dead Presidents” story arc. In this story, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent resurrects every dead president from George Washington to Ronald Reagan.
The reanimated Presidents are super-powered and are portrayed with their various strengths and weaknesses (It’s a Deadpool comic, what did you expect?). The zombies unexpectedly want to destroy America.
It’s up to Deadpool, who’s got the reputation, skills, and plausible deniability – along with being Canadian – to stop the com-monsters in chief. There is something strangely satisfying about seeing the Teddy Roosevelt zombie wandering around the zoo looking for a fist-fight.
These are but a few of the POTUS appearances in comics. The President has been everything from a brief glimpse on the page, to a quick punchline, to full blown plot device. These are just some of the POTUS appearances I remember off the top of my head. Please share your favorite President in comics moments in the comments section below.