Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Perils and the Politicians

When you think about the high drama potential that the appearance of a U.S. president would bring to a comic book story, it's a wonder that such appearances are so rare. No one really expects to see a president pop up in comics like Doctor Strange or Daredevil, of course--but in stories where the military plays a part, or in a crisis situation that has national or worldwide repercussions, at times we'll see a silhouette of the President in a few panels, alluding to events taking place where the hero is directly involved.

In the early 1970s, there were occasions when Marvel brought the President directly into focus, though in little more than cameo appearances. I think the first time I remember seeing a president was in Fantastic Four, where the Sub-Mariner was goaded to the brink of war by Magneto, and the FF were trying to defuse the situation:

Nixon, of course, was the butt of many a joke by just about everyone, and in comics he was almost always portrayed in humorous panels which drew attention to his mannerisms and overused phrases. Reed's got some clout, doesn't he? All the Avengers get is a national security liaison, while Reed is put right through to the President. In another story, even Sue gets to screen his call:

Over in Incredible Hulk, around the same time, Nixon took a personal interest in seeing some weaponry which would finally put the Hulk down for the count. But a live demonstration?? How was that given the green light?

The story even brought Vice-President Agnew along for the ride, another political figure who wasn't spared the satire:

In the same story, the Leader had his own plans for these two men--replacing them with robots when the opportunity arose:

Sure, sure, go ahead and say it: "Robots? Gee, maybe the Leader was able to pull that one off! Who could tell the difference?"

General Ross hosts another president in 1975, when Gerald Ford makes a stop at the base and, unfortunately, doesn't get a live Hulk rampaging toward him. But he doe at least get to see our tax dollars at work:

Major Talbot has a sinister motive for moving closer to the President, since Ford can't exactly get "a closer look" standing at a railing with Banner several floors beneath him. And the plan doesn't involve pushing him over, even though Ford was famously known to take a stumble or three. But Talbot is foiled, and Ford would probably be instructing his switchboard at the White House to forward all calls from Thaddeus Ross to the commissary for the near future.

1 comment:

B Smith said...

There was also that O'Neil/Adams issue of Green Lantern/Green Arrow that featured a school janitor that looked like Agnew and a young girl who resembled *ulp* Nixon.