Sunday, February 1, 2009

Does Whatever an Obama Can

by Chris Buchner

On January 20th, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Besides being the first black President in history, he also made headlines in the comic industry by stating he was a fan. That was all the motivation needed to take who many are treating like a real-life superhero and stick him where he belongs: in comics.

Savage Dragon #137 was released by Image Comics in August of 2008. By Erik Larsen, Dylan McCrae and Tom Orzechowski, this issue was designed to answer the question if Savage Dragon would once again run for President. During the 2004 campaign, he was a reluctant candidate until he learned his running mate was secretly a super villain bent on world domination. As Obama closely represents Dragon’s ideals, creator Erik Larsen had his character fully endorse Obama, especially on a special limited variant cover which was reused as the cover for the two additional printings.

Presidential Material: Barack Obama was released by IDW Publishing in October, 2008 by Jeff Mariotte, Tom Morgan, Len O’Grady and Robbie Robbins with a cover by J. Scott Campbell. Simultaneously released with a John McCain version, the comic is a biographical account of Obama’s life from childhood through the history campaign. The book sold well enough to merit additional printings, and was also collected into a flipbook with the McCain edition. Antarctic Press also released their own black and white biography comic called simply Obama: The Comic Book by Chris Allen and Doug Dlin.

Obama’s favorite character is Spider-Man. So, it’s only natural for Marvel to bring the two together. Editor Stephen Wacker authorized the historic team-up just a week before Amazing Spider-Man #583 went to press for its January release. Done by Zeb Wells, Todd Nauck, Frank G. D’Armata and Jared K. Fletcher, the five-page story is a tongue-in-cheek comedic epic involving one of Spidey’s rogues interrupting the inauguration process. And, of course, ol’ Web-Head is on hand to save the day. The issue received tremendous hype in the media, and flew out of stores, particularly the variant Obama cover, in a fashion reminiscent of The Death of Superman event with lines leading out the doors of comic shops. A second printing hit the shelves the following week.

Obama’s final comic appearance to date came in Thunderbolts #128, also in January from Marvel. After the events of Secret Invasion, the world police-force S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage Logistics Directorate) was dismantled and reassembled as H.A.M.M.E.R. and a new team of Avengers, both under the control of Norman Osborn, the former Green Goblin. With Osborn’s checkered past, naturally the new President would like to look into the man and the operations now protecting American soil. By Andy Diggle, Roberto De La Torre, Frank Martin, Jr., and Comicraft & Albert W. Deschense.

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