Michael Netzer is nothing if not an interesting man. And sometimes his ideas are so far outside the traditional comics wrapper that they frighten industry insiders. I’ve seen it happen. But Netzer’s latest brainstorm might actually tip the scales on the side of market potential. Are you ready for this gang? Next stop: Washington.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about creator publishing and I came to the conclusion that we should get all the creators together and form The Creator’s Party,” says the former Batman artist turned social-spiritual activist. “We should aim at taking the White House for 2008.”

Are you kidding me, Mike? Nope. He’s not kidding.

“Just a declaration of such an intent by comics creators would get enough media attention to give us the push we need to start publishing,” Netzer explains. “We’d then have four years to put forth our platform through comics stories, calling on Democrats and Republicans alike to join us in a national unity government. By their very nature, the comics we produce would be some of the most controversial books in the history of the industry. And they’d sell like hotcakes outside of comics fandom because they’d be aimed at the American and world populace at large.”

Still sounds far-fetched? It did to me, too. But consider the pitch: If enough big-name creators (or even a few of the key ones) were to consolidate their “power” via combined fan-bases, the media would be on it like white on rice. At least for a few hours. Indeed, it wasn’t long ago that a group of popular creators did pull off a successful coup de’tat, and the result was Image Comics. Now, at the end of the day, wasn’t that all about creative control (and money?)

“It all has to do with presenting an image,” Netzer posits. “Many entertainment media creators have much to say about the state of world affairs, but it’s only intended to inspire a raising of public consciousness. Rarely do creators take the ball in order to affect a change.” Netzer offers examples like Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger as folks who emerged from the arts and used their entertainment appeal to capture votes. “These men showed that the power of a personal image can change the course of an election,” Netzer explains.

It’s true that comics creators often have potent social messages. Further, they share a sometimes powerful medium. This unique approach, Netzer believes, would allow them to put forth the image of being a serious contender with a fresh approach to problem solving. Says Netzer, “The novelty of such a phenomena is that it gives us a springboard that other mediums can’t offer.”

Netzer’s website, with its messianic tone, has brought the artist some intense criticism. Though fully aware of the context in which his messages are often received, Netzer pushes forward. He honestly believes that a conglomerate of creators can change the attitude or spirit in which global decisions are made; that such a group can do so via a unified stance against all social and economic injustices. That the strength of this group originates in its profile and ability to make huge profits.

Of course, this being Michael Netzer, all profitability aspects of the guerilla-marketing campaign are subordinate to ethical and spiritual goals. “Capitalism was never meant to allow the powerful few to socially, politically and economically enslave the rest of humanity,” he says. “But that’s what it’s effectively doing. Our job is to show how everyone can prosper more when the basic premise of success is for all humanity. That must govern our decision making.”

How is this achieved in comics? “Via stories and books that put forth these ideas,” says Netzer. “When the people demand righteousness, politicians will have no choice but to listen because there’ll be a lot of money in it for everyone. We become the magnet for the most profitable merchandising machine in history. And that is how we can make a difference.”

According to the Netzer plan, by 2012, comic creators could be forming an international unity government. “Even if by some weird fluke the party doesn’t make it into the Whitehouse, we’ll have sold more comics in these four years than in the last quarter of a century combined.”

Profitable comics? A lofty goal indeed. But not take the White House in 2008? Geez, Mike? What are the odds of that?

Clifford Meth

© 2004, Clifford Meth

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