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All the president’s superheroes: Comic characters get political

By Staff | Feb 3, 2015

Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics Howard the Duck, left, ran for president as the nominee of the All-Night Party in 1976.

Many superheroes and villains have thrown their hats into the ring and run for, been elected to or been appointed to public office.

They don’t always stay there, because apparently saving all of reality, dying and coming back to life umpteen times and solving all of your arguments by punching each other is easier than trying to effect meaningful change in Washington, D.C.

Some stick to local politics. Green Arrow was once elected mayor in his civilian identity as Oliver Queen. Yet somehow people were still shocked when it was revealed that these boisterous, blond-Van-Dyke-sporting public figures in Star City were one and the same.

Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson became an even bigger pain in Spider-Man’s posterior a few years ago when he was elected mayor of New York. Previously, writer Brian K. Vaughn crafted the Wildstorm series “Ex Machina” around superhero Mitchell Hundred, aka the Great Machine, being elected to that same office.

On the federal level, Barbara Gordon briefly gave up her identity as Batgirl when she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, though that story may have been wiped out by “Crisis on Infinite Earths” or “Zero Hour” or the New 52 or Superboy Prime punching the walls of reality.

Batman was a senator for about five minutes in “The Brave and the Bold” #85, after a friend of Bruce Wayne’s was wounded in an assassination attempt. Wayne was tapped to fill the Senate seat temporarily, one would assume due to his impeccable credentials as a rich white guy.

Remember in “Iron Man 2” when Tony Stark jokes about serving as secretary of defense? It may have seemed like a throwaway line, but it was probably an Easter egg nod to when Iron Man actually held that job in the comics.

Over at DC, superhero/teacher Black Lightning was named secretary of education by none other than President Lex Luthor.

Yep, Superman’s folically disadvantaged arch-nemesis was once elected to the highest office in the land, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t have to engage in too many diabolical tactics (you know, beyond normal political ads) to do it. He served for a while until he was seen flying around in a suit of armor trying to kill Superman and Batman. At that point, he was thrown out of office and Superman’s childhood pal Pete Ross moved up from the vice presidency.

At Marvel, some folks tried to draft Captain America to run for president in issue 250 of his series. He ultimately decided not to, but he’s made it to the White House in Marvel’s Ultimate line, as well as the Mangaverse comics and various “What Ifs” and alternate realities.

One Marvel character who actually ran for president was Howard the Duck, the 1976 nominee of the All-Night Party. Scoff if you like, but that happened during writer Steve Gerber’s original run on the character. Those were some zanily wonderful comics that deserve a mention since most people only associate Howard with George Lucas’ less-than-warmly-received 1986 movie.

But there’s one comic character whose name is written all over the presidency. Or the presidency is written all over his birth certificate. Or something.

Anyway, the dude’s name is Prez Rickard. His mother gave him that name believing her baby boy from the town of Steadfast would one day grow up to be president. When the Constitution is amended to lower the minimum age for the presidency and he’s elected at the ripe old age of 19.

The DC character still pops up from time to time in cameos and stories with political overtones.

Evan Bevins is the writer of the webcomic Support Group, www.supportgroupcomic.com.