You might criticize President Obama’s drone policy or question his stance on immigration, but his nerd credentials have always been beyond reproach. After all, this the commander-in-chief who collects Spider-Man and Conan comic books, does battle with a pint-sized wall-crawler in the White House, wields Lion-O’s Sword of Omens and flashes the Vulcan salute with Nichelle Nichols. However, what happened today now throws all of that into question.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in an impromptu briefing this morning about sequestration, Obama was asked about keeping Congressional leaders in a room until a solution could be worked out. His response was absolutely shocking: “I know that this has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s been floating around Washington that somehow, even though most people agree that I’m being reasonable, that most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow, you know, do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right.”
As an Irishman, I must confess I don’t know much about American politics, and the only U.S. news channel my TV picks up is Fox News — but apparently you’ve just sworn in an Islamist Communist as President for his third term. Congratulations! This has also inspired street-art legend Ron English to release a commemorative limited-edition print called “Incredible Barack.” This isn’t the first time English has invoked Marvel’s Hulk in his work; in fact, it’s something of a recurring theme for the man.
Even the Leader of the Free World (and Time magazine’s Person of the Year) is no match for the cuteness that is pint-sized Spider-Man, as demonstrated in this photo from White House photographer Pete Souza. The wall-crawler famously met then-President-Elect Barack Obama in January 2009′s The Amazing Spider-Man #583, where he foiled a plot at the inauguration by Chameleon. However, I don’t recall a showdown outside the Oval Office. Clearly, the Secret Service has a lot to answer for.
(via HuffPost Politics)
And so another U.S. presidential election comes to a close. While the incumbent was re-elected, the comics industry didn’t seem to embrace the season like it did in 2008.
Four years ago, the bestselling comic book issue of the year was The Amazing Spider-Man #583, by a wide margin — by such a wide margin that it ended up being the bestselling issue of the decade with more than half a million copies ordered, according to numbers cruncher John Jackson Miller. In fact, this became such a thing that there was nearly a boutique industry of comic books featuring Barack Obama. From Savage Dragon and Army of Darkness to Bomb Queen and Licensable Bear (the first Obama comic), it seemed the president was everywhere. IDW Publishing released an entire line of biographical comics on the presidential candidates, and similar titles were also published by Antarctic Press and Bluewater Productions. The latter’s efforts were so successful that the company continues to mine that niche.
Four years later, this mini-genre has all but vanished. Last year, BOOM! Studios attempted to lead the charge with Decision 2012, the first straw poll conducted through comics: Pre-orders determined which candidates would get their comics published, with the one receiving the highest print run being declared the winner. While a creative idea, the project may have been a victim of poor timing, as the event was held so early in the campaign — it was announced in August 2011 — that there wasn’t a clear line-up of Republican candidates. Despite all of her teasing, Sarah Palin never entered the race, yet she was included among the list of comics. In fact, on the same day the one-time GOP vice presidential nominee announced she wouldn’t be running on the same day that BOOM! revealed the results of its straw poll. Out of the 10 biographical comics offered for pre-order, just four met the benchmark of 1,500 pre-orders: Obama, Palin, Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney came in fifth, but just below the benchmark, so he and the five others never got their comics.
The U.K. newspaper The Guardian marked the U.S. Election Day with a short comic called America: Elect! that uses limited animation in some very effective ways. The comic is constructed as one continuous series of panels, and as the reader scrolls downward, elements move in and out of the picture — primary candidates get crossed out, a tiny Osama bin Laden falls from the sky, sign-carrying tea partiers pop into the panel.
The comic is credited to “Guardian US Interactive Team with Richard Adams and Erin McCann“; Adams is in the newspaper’s Washington, D.C., bureau, and McCann is a copy editor who recently wrote about New York Comic Con for the Guardian blog. It’s lighthearted and clever, and will take about five minutes to read. Of course, it’s also incomplete, as the comic was posted yesterday. The story says “stay tuned for the final chapter,” but it’s not clear where that’s going to be posted.
Sure, President Obama has received high praise from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and, just today, the endorsement of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but Mitt Romney has now secured the invaluable assistance of the Springfield Republican Party.
In a video message from C. Montgomery Burns, the nuclear power tycoon and kingmaker offers the candidate a way to overcome “the one thing that might deny us the presidency that is the God-given property of the Republican Party.” It’s not the 47-percent video, the overseas bank accounts or even, as Mr. Smithers says, “the tax returns that even Wesley Snipes would call suspicious.” No, no, no … it’s the harrowing tale of Seamus the dog.
The Simpsons returns Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
In between writing the screenplay for the sequel to The Avengers, developing ABC’s S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot and executive producing Dark Horse’s Buffy-verse comics, Joss Whedon somehow found time to shoot a video “endorsing” Mitt Romney for president. Sure, it’s a bit surprising, considering that Whedon and Romney differ on myriad social issues (today, in any case), but the filmmaker has found common, if post-apocalyptic, ground.
“Y’know, like a lot of liberal Americans, I was excited when Barack Obama took office four years ago,” Whedon explains, “but it’s a very different world now, and Mitt Romney is a very different candidate — one with the vision and determination to cut through business-as-usual politics and finally put this country back on the path to the zombie apocalypse. Romney is ready to make the deep rollbacks in healthcare, education, social services, reproductive rights that will guarantee poverty, unemployment, overpopulation, disease, rioting — all crucial elements in creating a nightmare zombie wasteland.”
There’s more, of course. And along the way, Whedon gets in a little jab at Ayn Rand devotees, sure to make a few libertarians rethink their interpretations/warm embrace of Firefly.
When momma said to knock you out, we’re here to comply–and so is Robt Seda-Schreiber, an artist and middle school art teacher from New Jersey. In today’s edition of Shelf Porn, Robt shares his collection of toys, action figures, comic books and graphic novels, as well as a look at his drawing area.
If you have some shelves of comics, action figures or other related collectibles you’d like to show off, send me a write-up and some jpgs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now here is Robt:
You may have heard that America will hold another presidential election in November. You might also remember four years ago, when we last held one of these big events that ran through all 50 titles, er, states, and everyone and their brother featured Barack Obama on the cover of their comic or within its pages.
We haven’t seen quite the frenzy from the comic industry this election season, but Todd McFarlane is jumping in feet first. As noted in the Image Comics solicitations that came out earlier this week, Spawn #225 will feature two different endings based on the results of the election. Here’s the text:
When most comics fans see Bane, they think of a quintessential 1990s supervillain, the super-strong “Man Who Broke the Bat.” But when conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh sees Bane, he thinks of a left-wing conspiracy.
As Warner Bros. makes its final promotional push for The Dark Knight Rises, which features Tom Hardy as Batman’s hulking nemesis, Limbaugh launched into a screed linking the prominence of Bane in entertainment news with the prominence of Bain — that is, the venture-capital company co-founded by Mitt Romney — in the political debate. Oh, don’t act surprised.
“Do you think it is accidental that the name of the really vicious fire-breathing, four-eyed whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?” The Hollywood Reporter quotes Limbaugh as saying on today’s show. He apparently acknowledged that the development of the Christopher Nolan film predates the current line of attack by President Obama’s reelection campaign, but even the pesky tendency of time to move in a linear fashion — retroactive retirements aside — can’t get in the way of a good conspiracy theory!
There’s a scene in the 1938 screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby where Cary Grant’s character discovers that Katherine Hepburn’s character has taken his clothes in an attempt to keep him from leaving her. In desperation, he puts on the only thing he can find — a sheer, pink robe of hers — and storms around the house, looking for something else to wear.
When the owner of the house arrives and demands to know who the strange man is and why he’s wearing that robe, an exasperated Grant shouts, “Because I just went GAY, all of a sudden!” punctuating the word “gay” with a leap into the air.
I’ve been thinking of that moment this week, as the mainstream superhero publishers seem to have been metaphorically running around in metaphorical ladies nightwear, metaphorically leaping in the air and shouting: DC and Marvel have gone gay — or “gay!” — all of a sudden.
Of course, the bit in Bringing Up Baby was meant to be a joke, the very sight of the virile, handsome, zenith of masculinity Cary Grant dressed in women’s nightclothes was in and of itself so ridiculous as to be funny without elaboration (although the image has since taken on some irony, given decades of speculation about Grant’s personal life, but let’s not get into that). It was also made more than 70 years ago.
As you may remember from a few months ago, BOOM! Studios jumped on the presidential-campaign bandwagon with its Decision 2012 comics, each of which features a different presidential candidate. The President Obama comic came out this week, and as Johanna Draper Carlson pointed out, no writer is credited — which is odd, in this day and age.
Odd enough that I e-mailed BOOM! Studios myself to see what the story was. Marketing Coordinator Emily McGuinness was quick to reply:
We hired a young, incredibly talented writer to do these, and that writer elected not to take credit. Why? Well, they saw it as a great opportunity to refine their craft but didn’t want to be associated as the ‘political comic book writer’ moving forward. They’ve got some cool projects coming up, and wanted the focus of their next stage of career development to be on that. It made sense to us and we were happy to be respectful of their decision (no pun intended).
That makes for an interesting parlor game in about five years: Which prominent comics writer was behind the Obama comic? I’d look for someone with a love of text boxes and footnotes; the comic consists mainly of juxtaposed pictures and text, and it reads more like an illustrated prose bio than a comic. It’s non-sequential, if that’s a word.
The writing isn’t bad, but if I were going to write a compelling comic (as opposed to a hagiography), I’d include the juicy details about Obama’s 2004 election to the U.S. Senate, in which his opponent self-destructed in a sex scandal and the Illinois Republican Party drafted Alan Keyes as a replacement. Heck, I could do an entire miniseries on that election alone, and it’s a shame the writer covered it in a single panel. Maybe they were too busy with that next project to give it much thought.
Comics | In a post subtitled “Why the new biracial Spider-Man matters,” David Betancourt shares his reaction to the news that the new Ultimate Spider-Man is half-black, half-Latino: “The new Ultimate Spider-Man, who will have the almost impossible task of replacing the late Peter Parker (easily one of Marvel Comics most popular characters), took off his mask and revealed himself to be a young, half-black, half-Latino kid by the name of Miles Morales. When I read the news, I was beside myself, as if my brain couldn’t fully process the revelation. My friendly neighborhood Spider-Man was … just like me? This is a moment I never thought I’d see. But the moment has arrived, and I — the son of Puerto Rican man who passed his love of comics to me, and a black woman who once called me just to say she’d met Adam West — will never forget that day.”
Publishing | Popular comic-book guest star President Barack Obama will make a brief appearance in this week’s Flashpoint #4. DC Comics Executive Editor Eddie Berganza told USA Today that the inclusion of the actual President, rather than a fictional counterpart, signals that the danger is real — something that will get pushed as the publisher prepares for the September relaunch. [USA Today]
Conventions | More than 31,000 anime and manga enthusiasts flocked to Baltimore over the weekend for Otakon, one of the biggest fan-oriented anime conventions. There were a few anime and manga licenses announced, but mainly it was a meet-and-greet for fans and publishers. [Anime News Network]
Comic creators James Hudnall and Batton Lash have come under fire for a recent comic strip posted on the conservative website BigGovernment.com.
The duo regularly contributes a comic strip called “Obama Nation” — a play off of “abomination”– to the site, part of Andrew Breitbart’s online network. The Feb. 12th strip featured President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama eating dinner, with the president eating very small portions and the first lady eating a plate filled with hamburgers as they discuss her now one-year-old anti-obesity campaign. You can see the full strip for yourself after the jump.
MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell called it “a racist obscenity” on his program yesterday, while Mediamatters.org said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve expected anything approaching comity from the conservative media, but this is the sort of stuff most of us left at the grade school playground.” And on Technorati, Bill Schmalfeldt wrote, “… Brietbart’s hack comic drawers don’t understand satire. Instead, they show the First Lady as fat and scarfing down cheeseburgers, which she doesn’t do, they show Obama’s ears as impossibly large, the cartoon isn’t funny in the first place, and there’s no grain of truth on which to hang the satire.”
Hudnall, a former writer of Alpha Flight and Strikeforce Morituri, as well as creator of the ESPers and Harsh Realm, responded to the criticism: “There is nothing racist about the cartoon. The artist (Batton Lash) merely drew the first couple in caricature, which is what political cartoonists do. All we’ve done was to take a mild poke at the hypocrisy of the first lady. The press has already detailed the kind of foods served at white house dinners. It’s rarely diet friendly. Such as the menu at their super bowl party.”
Lash, the creator of Supernatural Law, said: “What’s racist about it? Cartooning — specifically political cartooning– has always been about exaggeration, whether it was Nixon’s prominent jowls, Carter’s toothy smile, or Bush ll’s beady eyes. If our current president is exempt because of the color of his skin, I think that would be racist. By the way, I didn’t depict the First Lady as fat — just a hearty eater!”