“For the Love of Crom!”: Obama & Comics Culture


For days I’ve been mulling over what to say about Amazing Spider-Man #583, the well-publicized Marvel comic that features a chisel-jawed President Obama. But honestly, I’ve got nothing. It’s like writing about the time Mr. T appeared on Diff’rent Strokes. Or reflecting on the subtext of Scooby-Doo Meets the Harlem Globetrotters. “I know it wouldn’t look good to be seen palling around with me,” Spidey says to Obama at one point. Zing!

But who am I to pass judgment? I’ve collected at least six Obama t-shirts, four campaign buttons, a coloring book, a watch, a tote bag, two calendars, countless stickers, and a 6″ action figure of the man. (But no Beanie Babies, I promise!) I’m genuinely thrilled to see Obama come to life in the Marvel Universe. I’ve been enthusiastically following Rich Watson’s posts on how the president is represented in comics and Newsarama reports that ASM #583 is now in its third fourth printing.

obama-supermanReading the story made me realize, however, that what I’ve always admired most about Barack Obama is not his perceived super-heroics, but the fact that an individual who is capable of achieving such greatness is, like me, just another comic book fan.

The Onion gets it. Their satirical news article, “Obama Disappointed Cabinet Failed to Understand His Reference to ‘Savage Sword of Conan’ #24” is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. Regardless of whether or not you are a fan of Conan (and I’m not), you have to love this uncanny depiction of President Obama’s inner comic-geek breaking free:

Obama, whose upcoming challenges include organizing a massive effort to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, was reportedly unprepared for the confused silence he received upon suggesting that his cabinet “team up with Taurus of Nemedia” to secure the necessary funding from Congress.

“If my inner circle of advisers can’t even communicate about the most basic issues, how are we going to tackle the massive problems our nation faces?” Obama said during a press conference. “When I tell my cabinet that getting bipartisan support is exactly like the time Conan got Taurus to help him steal Yara’s jewel, they need to understand what I mean.”

After receiving no reaction from the assembled reporters, Obama added, “Because a giant spider is protecting this chamber full of precious jewels, just like Congress is protecting its…. God, how are you people not seeing this?”

Now this is “my” President Obama. I much prefer the fictitious image of misunderstood nerdy-ness to the portrait of invincibility featured in the special issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Even Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Spawn find their way into the article’s satirical homage. Read the full text here and enjoy!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Wilhelmina Jenkins on January 29, 2009 at 2:21 PM

    Now THAT was funny! I admit that I have a weakness for nerdy humor (ever watch “The Big Bang Theory”?) And that I bought a lot of comics in my youth. Don’t tell anyone, but I can still recite the Green Lantern’ pledge. (In brightest day, in darkest night…..)


  2. I was in the bookstore yesterday and the number of Obama books and magazines was astounding. I am a card-carrying Obamaniac, but…when the man is on the cover of American Dog magazine (I kid you not), it might be time to chill just a little bit.


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