Monday, November 5, 2012

The Comic Portrayals of Barack Obama and other political comics

Ever since it was possible, Presidents and other political figures have been appearing in various media, from books to films to comics. Today I'm going to highlight some of their more recent and relevant appearances. Barack Obama has had numerous appearances in comics, due in part to his charisma, his celebrity, and being the first major African-American presidential candidate and President.
The first known appearance of Barack Obama in a comic book was in Licensable Bear TM #4 by Nat Gertler, released July 2007, where he appeared as a U.S. Senator during the Democratic Primaries. The comic only had a limited run of 1050 copies and has since become something of a collectors item.
The next comic, and first major one, to have an appearance by Obama was Savage Dragon #137 by Erik Larsen, which had an alternate cover showing The Savage Dragon endorsing Obama. The variant cover ended up selling out four print runs. Larsen's political opinion was already well known at the time, having been vocally opposed to George W Bush, going so far as to featured him as a villain in Savage Dragon #119, and has been a continued supporter of Obama since, including several more cameos in the following years.
IDW Publishing was not far behind, publishing biographical comic books of both Obama and his opponent John McCain a month before the election. Several other biographical comics of Obama followed as he advanced in the polls.

File:AmazinSpidermanObama.jpgA few days before the election a senior staffer of Obama's revealed that Obama was big collector of Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comic books. When Marvel Comics learned of this they decided to included Obama in a Spider-Man comic, and published the story "Spidey Meets the President!", written by Mark Waid, in The Amazing Spider-Man No. 583 released January 2009. The issue proved extremely popular and sold out in a matter of minutes, and copies could be found on eBay going for $300 less than a day later.

During Obama's presidency several publishers released comics featuring Obama in an attempt to capitalize on his popularity, some of which were more notable than others. Bluewater Productions, whose recent production of a Romney/Obama biography was reported on a month ago, began releasing biographical comics about various political figures, including Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. Devil's Due Publishing released Barack the Barbarian, a what-if story featuring American politicians in a Conan the Barbarian style world. For more comics featuring Barack Obama and related personalities, check out this Wikipedia article.

DoonesburyMitt Romney hasn't appeared in any comics that I've been able to find outside of what I've already reported except for several appearances in Doonesbury, most notably with a story about Romney's time in France, which you can start reading here.

Excalibur 5

On the web, numerous webcomics have featured Obama, most notably Sinfest (above) where Obama is depicted as a hip man with quasi-mystical powers. Other webcomics that have had political and social jokes referencing the election include Diesel Sweeties (right), The Non-Adventures of Wonderella (below left) and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (below right).

VOYEUR Than Thou

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