Prez for Prez! 10 Crazy Elections in ComicsA column article, Top Ten by: Danny Djeljosevic, Nick Hanover
Last night's election wound up looking pretty close for quite a while before Obama landed the 270 electoral votes needed for a win and then proceeded to more or less gather up the remaining states (although at the time of publication, Florida still hasn't been officially called). But today we wanted to give you a look at ten elections that make 2012 look like a snoozefest.
Serpent Cartel Crisis
(Defenders/Squadron Supreme storyline throughout early '80s)
The Candidate(s): Kyle Richmond, Nelson Rockefeller
Why It's Cray: Kyle Richmond, otherwise known as the Batman knock-off Nighthawk, was a key figure of the Squadron Supreme, who unfortunately found out that he and his teammates had been misled by their reality's president, Nelson Rockefeller, who was actually a servant of the Serpent Cartel. Which means he got to wear a funny snake shaped mind control hat.
After Richmond and his teammates discovered Rockefeller's propensity for snake head apparel, Richmond retired from his role as Nighthawk and decided to enter politics on an anti-snake headware platform and he won by a landslide. Because really, when your choice is a guy who dresses up in a dark bird outfit and a man who wears a snake on his head, who are you going to vote for? Of course, it helped that he and his teammates had forced Rockefeller to resign by this point so there wasn't much in the way of options. But because irony is a bitch, Richmond himself eventually wound up a brain controlled stooge for the Over-Mind. And then he was shot and turned into some kind of transdimensional monster. And you thought Grover Cleveland had it bad.
Ultimate Captain America
(The Ultimates #15, Right Now!)
The Candidate(s): Captain America, whoever isn't dead
Why It's Cray: Marvel has had Captain America get involved in politics before -- he revealed that Richard Nixon was actually a supervillain and one time they just offered him the Presidency -- but in the alternate continuity Ultimate universe, Washington was destroyed and an election for replacement everybodies was held, through which Captain America was elected in a write-in vote.
So, in case you were wondering if write-ins do anything in voting, it does -- provided you're in a very specific fictional universe based on another fictional universe.
Operation: Zero Tolerance
(X-Men storyline, 1995-1997)
The Candidate(s): Graydon Creed, unnamed incumbent president
Why It's Cray: Like some suped-up Strom Thurmond for the X-Men, Graydon Creed managed to force his way into the presidential election by nominating himself on an anti-mutant platform, capitalizing on rampant anti-mutant sentiment that he had helped rile up through his activities in the "Friends of Humanity," which is sort of like a more eloquent version of the Dixiecrats. But things got real cray once the election cycle was in full swing and Creed was forced to have a Daily Bugle reporter investigating his parentage killed. That's right, this guy was such a crazed fear monger, even JJJ himself was a little concerned.
The reason why that parentage was such a sticking point is that Creed is the child of Mystique and Sabretooth, which makes this ongoing Strom Thurmond comparison even more hilarious. But as if a secret mutant past and some good ol' fashioned reporter assassinating wasn't enough, Creed himself was assassinated on election night by a future version of his own mother. That shit's brutal.
J. Jonah Jameson
(Amazing Spider-Man, the last few years or so)
The Candidate(s): J. Jonah Jameson, unnamed other candidates
Why It's Cray: As anyone knows now, Jameson is basically Spider-Man's PR antagonist, publishing editorials on the front page of his newspaper about what a dick Spidey is and telling anybody who will listen that "that masked wall-crawler is a menace" even though he's the one who looks kind of like Hitler. Somehow he got elected mayor -- probably because the notorious scrooge was considered a good fit to run New York City during these tough economic times.
As mayor, you better believe he abused his power (and, ironically, a whole lot of taxpayer money) to create all sorts of anti-Spider-Man measures. Also ironically, during his tenure everyone in town got Spider-Man powers from genetically engineered bedbugs. That whole anti-Spider-Man platform really bit him in the ass, huh?
One Nation Under Doom
(Marvel 2099 Storyline, 1994-1995)
The Candidate(s): Dr. Doom, unnamed incumbent president, Captain America 2099
Why It's Cray: Bypassing the electoral process altogether, in the Marvel 2099 reality Dr. Doom got tired of democracy and decided the only way to save American -- and therefore the world -- was to just take the White House for himself. So he did.
This being a Warren Ellis storyline, though, Doom's benevolent dictatorship was the closest thing to democracy the American people of 2099 had seen in years. Under Doom, the constitution was restored to its original status, the SS-like paid police forces of 2099 were forced to come together as a new SHIELD, corporate rule was overthrown, free wi-fi was given to the populace (no, really, this actually happens in the comic, it's just not called wi-fi) and there's even a free public health care plan in the works. Then Captain America 2099 comes along and ruins everything.
The Candidate(s): Prez Rickard
Why It's Cray: Prez is a goddamn teenager. Y'know why? Because baby boomers were hot shit in the early '70s and made up nearly half the eligible voters, so in the pages of Prez there was a constitutional amendment that lowered the eligibility age of a presidential candidate, which is convenient because Prez Rickard was so named because his mother thought he could be President one day. Y'know, kind of like how Bruce Wayne's legal middle name is "Batman."
Also, he had an Indian friend named Eagle Free who he appointed as head of the FBI.
(entire eponymous Wildstorm series, 2004-2010)
The Candidate(s): Mitchell Hundred, Democrat and Republican opposition
Why It's Cray: Well, it's cray because Hundred is an independent and yet still somehow manages to win the election. Ha, just kidding. It's cray because Hundred is a SUPERHERO independent, who is the only superhero in his universe, with the ability to control technology. Hundred kind of sucks at superheroics, though, and gets his ass handed to him pretty frequently at first. After an especially difficult battle with his arch-nemesis of sorts, Jack Pherson, Hundred decided to retire from superheroics and run for Mayor of New York.
A couple months after that announcement and his subsequent decision to hand his gear over to the NSA, Hundred makes a return to superheroics in a big way, as he steps in on September 11th and manages to save one of the Twin Towers, which is about as big of an October Surprise as a candidate can hope to get. With a newly huge bout of public goodwill on his side, Hundred wins the election by a landslide (are all elections in comics landslides?), even though he was forced to spend the election in an isolation chamber to ensure he didn't tamper with the election using his abilities. Dude stopped 9/11 almost singlehandedly, what else do you want?
This Savage World
(Savage Dragon storyline, 2004-2006)
The Candidate(s): Savage Dragon
Why It's Cray: Besides the fact that it's Savage Dragon? Well, shit, here goes --
An evil politician named Ronald Winston Urass ran a campaign to get Savage Dragon elected as a write-in candidate. And it WORKED.
When the world caught on to his evil scheme, the votes were thrown out and Urass just became a full-on villain, armor and all.
Sure it was a stunt to coincide with the real-life Presidential election, but President Savage Dragon is too ridiculous an idea to not fall in love with. I'd vote for him. In fact, in four years, if he's still alive, I'm voting for Savage Dragon.
Year of the Bastard/The New Scum
(bulk of Paradox/Vertigo series Transmetropolitan, 1998-2002)
The Candidate(s): The Beast, The Smiler
Why It's Cray: In Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson's near-apocalyptic gonzo futurist story Transmetropolitan, politics aren't all that different from now, with a whole lot of bad options fighting one another. Ellis' mouthpiece/protagonist Spider Jerusalem finds himself learning that the hardway when he steps in and gives dismissive support to what he considers the less evil of two candidates, the grinning maniac he's nicknamed The Smiler, who stands in opposition to the lazy but ultimately harmless The Beast.
The Smiler winds up winning the election by a landslide (yes, yet another landslide), partially through backdoor shenanigans like courting an alliance with the crazed racist candidate Bob Heller, acquiring prostitutes and a genetically, lab grown running mate from a cult leader named Fred Christ and even the assassination of his own political director Vita Severn simply so she could become a martyr for his cause. Sure, it's a massively exaggerated version of anything that would happen in our real life elections, but did we mention The Smiler bears an uncanny resemblance to Mitt Romney, complete with a psychopathic grin he can't turn off?
(DC storyline 2001)
The Candidate(s): Lex Luthor, unnamed incumbent
Why It's Cray: Have you seen Lex Luthor? He looks like he's plotting something's doom. We don't vote for guys who look sinister -- that's Russia's thing. Anyway, yeah, he's the scientist/businessman/evildoer who really dislikes Superman and will go to any length to beat him. So, about a dozen shades darker than J. Jonah Jameson, who's mostly just a lovable thorn in one's side.
After getting elected President under the platform of "I make robots and hey, wasn't there an earthquake that destroyed Gotham during the other guy's administration? I could probably fix that," Luthor did some real shitty things like framing Bruce Wayne for murder and coordinating a successful defense against an alien invasion that he knew about waay in advance but didn't do anything about. Eventually, Batman and Superman decided to stomp on in and unseat the President himself. Amidst lots of punching, Luthor managed to get recorded admitting to his wrongdoing and resign in disgrace. His replacement was Vice President Pete Ross, which LOLOLOLOLOL
That's all, folks! We'll see you in four years, by which time we will hopefully have an even better idea. Probably involving apes and aliens.
Danny Djeljosevic is a comic book creator, award-winning filmmaker (assuming you have absolutely no follow-up questions), film/music critic for Spectrum Culture and Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin. Follow him on Twitter at @djeljosevic or find him somewhere in San Diego, often wearing a hat. Read his comic, "Sgt. Death and his Metachromatic Men," over at Champion City Comics and check out his other comics at his Tumblr, Sequential Fuckery. His webcomic The Ghost Engine (drawn by Eric Zawadzski) will debut in Spring 2012.
When he's not writing about the cape and spandex set, Nick Hanover is a book, film and music critic for Spectrum Culture and a staff writer for No Tofu Magazine. He also translates for"Partytime" Lukash's Panel Panopticon.