"Batman's" Gotham Was... Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
Few would argue that Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, isn’t qualified for the job. After all, he served as a clerk to Justice William Brennan, worked as a federal prosecutor, and now sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. And, it turns out, he’s a one-time comic book fan.
“He put himself through Harvard Law School by working as a tutor, by stocking shoes in a shoe store, and in what is always a painful moment for any young man, by selling is comic book collection,” Obama said this morning during a Rose Garden ceremony announcing Garland’s nomination. “It’s tough. Been there.”
While plenty of political leaders have been described as robotic, it’s (probably) never suggested they might be robots in disguise. Until now, that is.
Azerbaijani artist Gunduz Aghayev has created a series of illustrations depicting world leaders as Transformers. However, they’re not familiar Autobots and Decepticons, but rather robots that reflect their countries: For instance, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a Volkswagen, Russian President Vladimir Putin in a heavily armed Lada, Queen Elizabeth II is a double-decker bus, and so on.
Like most Star Wars fans, President Obama was eager to see The Force Awakens, and like many of the franchise faithful, he slipped out of work just a little early to do so.
Holding his annual end-of-the-year press briefing today, Obama addressed a wide range of serious issues before telling the White House Press Corps, “OK, everybody, I have to get to ‘Star Wars,’” and making his way to the door.
While most of the political world is following the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jeb(!) Bush and Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been making waves in a few nerd realms. First came his Simpsons impressions, and then his assertion that Captain James T. Kirk was/is/will be a Republican. Now Cruz is listing Watchmen’s Rorschach as one of his favorite superheroes.
However, Cruz isn’t the first candidate to invoke nerd culture. President Obama, himself a Star Trek fan, listed The Amazing Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian as his favorite comics growing up, and was photographed in Metropolis, Illinois, imitating its Superman statue. In return, Obama was immortalized on a Spider-Man cover, and depicted in another Superman-inspired pose by painter Alex Ross.
For that matter, the election year of 2008 featured a couple of seminal superhero films with clear political overtones. The first Iron Man showed its hero working within the military-industrial complex, and The Dark Knight inspired pundits to compare Batman’s surveillance technology to government eavesdropping.
President Obama officially welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the White House on Tuesday to address free trade and international cooperation. But before the discussion turned too serious, the Most Powerful Man in the World wanted to talk a little about manga and anime.
Speaking at the arrival ceremony, Obama said the visit by Abe and his wife Akie was an opportunity for he and First Lady Michelle Obama to return the hospitality they received in Japan (where the president played soccer with a robot).
If you’re a Barack Obama supporter, you’ve probably gotten a lot of emails from him, from his campaign and from his administration over the years. Like, a lot. Even the most ardent Obama boosters may have tuned them out.
Yet one that arrived today is certainly worth noting, as the president speaks directly about his comic book fandom:
At the fifth annual White House Science Fair, a troop of Girl Scouts dressed as Supergirl hoped to save the day with a page-turning robot, NBC News reports.
The 6-year-old girls, who hail from Tulsa, Oklahoma, designed the robot out of LEGO for the purpose of helping the disabled. Donning red capes over their blue Girl Scout uniforms, they stopped by the White House in order show President Barack Obama their work and dazzled him with their know-how. “This is a quote. They said, ‘It’s just a prototype,'” he said.
As you may have guessed by the absence of an early-morning address from the White House, the organizers of the petition to have Feb. 11 declared by President Obama as “Flash Appreciation Day” fell short of their goal. However, it wasn’t for lack of trying.
No, they contend, the blame falls squarely on the Reverse-Flash. It seems the WhiteHouse.gov petition actually received the 10,000 signatures required for consideration, promptly leading to a presidential declaration. However, Reed Beebe of Nothing But Comics writes that the Scarlet Speedster’s arch-nemesis “went back in time and changed history so that none of that happened. In our altered timeline, the petition still received an impressive amount of signatures (over 700), and a lot of fan support, but just not enough to merit official consideration by the President.”
If Central City can honor the Fastest Man Alive with “Flash Appreciation Day,” why shouldn’t the entire country? That’s the thrust of a new We the People petition that asks President Obama to pay tribute to the superhero on Feb. 11.
It’s an idea hatched by the contributors to the blog Nothing But Comics, who note the date is already celebrated annually by some Flash fans, who drew inspiration from a Season 2 episode of Justice League Unlimited. In “Flash and Substance,” which originally aired on Feb. 11, 2006, the Rogues team up and threaten to ruin Central City’s first “Flash Appreciation Day” by, well, killing the Scarlet Speedster. They don’t succeed, naturally.
Since Obama was first elected, it seems like the only thing the president has racked up more of than comic book appearances are conspiracy theories related to his life and beliefs — from the birther movement to that trip to Mars he took as a teenager. If you’re interested in either, or both, or just think Rick Geary is awesome (he is!), here’s the Kickstarter for you: Geary is putting together a 56-page hardcover collection of “far-fetched conspiracy theories that are floating around regarding President Barack Obama.”
Geary has a long list of credits over his 35-plus year career, with one of the many highlights being his Treasury of Murder series. In this book, he’ll be doing full-page illustrations of each conspiracy; for $25 you can get a copy of the book, while $300 gets you the original art from one of the pages. Check out a couple of them below.
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.