The following Op/Ed piece exclusively reflects the opinion of the individual writer and is not representative of the views of Newsarama, its parent company, or any sane person.
Here at Newsarama, we are often asked the question, “Which comic book character do you think should be president?”
Normally we respond with, “None of them, they’re fictional characters what kind of stupid question is that?” But still – one can dream.
And with a new presidential election taking place today, we decided that it was time to make our voice heard, at the last possible minute so as to allow potential write-ins to affect the vote as little as possible.Of all the thousands of characters in comics we’d want as president, who would get our vote? Superman’s already been president in more imaginary stories than we care to count, and we’re pretty sure there might be a “birther” controversy. Bruce Wayne probably wouldn’t survive a close vetting. Neither would Nick Fury, though he does have the service record.
Tony Stark has an iffy track record on foreign policy, civil rights and that drinking thing. Mitchell Hundred from Brian K. Vaughan’s Ex Machina at least had heavy experience in politics, but kind of turned into a jerk by the end. Green Arrow got a big part of Star City exploded, but then the Flash went back in time and changed history so everyone’s costumes had more seams, or something.
No, there’s only one comic book character we’re willing to endorse for president. It’s a man we’re sure you all know – a man clad in red, white and blue, whose very name speaks to the heart of the United States. A man known for a career-defining story by Ed Brubaker, co-created by the late, great Joe Simon.
That man’s name is Prez Rickard.Yes, we are on this Election Day endorsing as President the New Flower Party candidate, Prez Rickard, star of the 1970s DC Comics series Prez: First Teen President of the U.S.A.. Truly, there is no better man for the job.
The evidence is right there in his comic appearances, all seven or eight of them. At his heart, Prez represents all that is great about America.
Fighting Corrupt Business: Prez is so tough he won’t cave to Boss Smiley, a “Have a Nice Day”-faced businessman so corrupt he forces slum tenants of “Central City” (doubtlessly before the Flash came along) to pay welfare to him. His office even has autographed pics of him with Richard Nixon and Adolph Hitler, the latter of which you’d think people would find suspect.
Prez accepts Smiley’s campaign help to get him elected – but refuses to be his puppet candidate. He’s willing to defy a man whose face is literally on almost every T-shirt in the country. Can we expect any less from a Commander-in-Chief?
Respecting the Environment – and Our Heritage: Though Prez’s lack of military service might be a sticking point, he’s trained in the most unique form of combat – living off the land with Eagle Free, an off-the-grid Native American dedicated to preserving endangered species, including gorillas, elephants and other species not indigenous to America.
Trained to swing from vines by an actual monkey and to outrun a deer, Prez thanks Eagle Free by making him head of the FBI – in full tribal wear, no less. He even lets him have his headquarters on the White House lawn. In a teepee. …yeah.
But just think – decades later, the best a Native American in comics is able to rate in the FBI is the much-abused Dash Bad Horse in Vertigo’s Scalped! Prez: A president still ahead of his time.
Family Values: Who does Prez pick as his Vice President? His mom, whom he still calls “Martha.” So certain was Prez’s mom of her son’s future that she named him “President” (which would technically make his title “President President Rickard,” appropriate for a company whose name is technically “Detective Comics Comics”), and had him wear a red turtleneck with his name, title and the U.S. seal even before he was elected. That’s not creepy at all!
This of course speaks to another classic American value Prez represents, and I use this term incorrectly: Manifest Destiny.
Small-Town Values: So great is Prez’s love of democracy that he made sure all the mismatched clocks in his hometown of Steadfast were synchronized; otherwise, “How will people know when it’s Election Day?” Whether a Democrat, Republican, or Prez’s own “New Flower Party” (vote the cool ticket!), he’s aware that a fundamental right and duty of all citizens is to pick their leaders.
Accepting Responsibility: One of Prez’s first acts in the White House is a major gun control bill – which goes awry when the rogue descendant of George Washington (who insists on actually living in Valley Forge, dressing in the classic coat and wig, and wearing wooden teeth) leads a revolution (complete with a black-belt karate champ) to the White House lawn!Does Prez have fear? A thousand times no! Rather than hide behind the military or the Secret Service, Prez takes the Rogue Washington on in hand-to-hand combat, then realizes his actions have only resulted in more chaos.
Willing to compromise across party lines, Prez declares to Congress: “I have learned from this tragedy that peace cannot be met with cool phrases, love or flowers.” His actions make him unpopular with his young supporters (and are apparently cribbed from a term paper he wrote on Lincoln), but he’s able to realize that there are two sides to every issue – and both major parties need to work together and compromise to get things done.
And of course, Prez represents the most American of values: Mad Skillz. He races stock cars. He wins a ping-pong match with Chairman Mao. His precision with time is so great even Supergirl’s kinda-sorta turned on. He utterly trashes an army of rogue chess robots when an international match goes very, very bad. And most importantly: When Transylvanian assassins invade the White House, Prez steps up and kicks legless vampire ass.
Let’s see Romney or Obama do that.
But don’t take our word for it – we’ve gotten endorsements for Prez from some of the biggest and best names in comics who’ve worked with the man.
Neil Gaiman: (Featured Prez in The Sandman #54, “The Golden Boy,” with Mike Allred): Prez was the best president America never had. Could either of the George Bushes have coped with Vampires in the White House? Could Obama have saved us from evil chess fiends? Could Bill Clinton have made out with Supergirl?
Well, yes, he could, but it would have been creepy. It wasn't creepy when it was Prez.
I'm supporting Prez for President in 2012. Because I'm British and cannot vote in American Elections, and he's fictional. I'm proud to be on his team.
Ed Brubaker: (first Big Two published comics work was Vertigo’s Prez: Smells Like Teen President with Eric Shanower: Prez would be a good President because he wouldn't be in the pocket of any big corporation, just like Captain America, another Joe Simon creation... Oh wait, they're both in the pocket of big media. Well, hmmm.
Okay, well Prez would be for the kids, then, at least. Right? And for the first time, The MAN would be the one sticking it to The MAN!
Adam Beechen (had a Prez comic background cameo in an episode of Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated that also had Harlan Ellison, a Cthulhu monster and Jeffrey Combs as an H.P. Lovecraft type; seriously, it was awesome): Prez for Pres! Finally, a candidate who speaks to the None Percent; who sees neither red nor blue states, but advocates combining the two in a lovely shade of purple; and who favors waffles over waffling! I'm making my vote anti-matter and voting for Prez! We don’t know if Prez even exists, as his first comic kinda said the story was a dream, but he totally teamed up with Supergirl that one time so he may or may not have existed Pre-Crisis, and he was seen as a president in the future on Batman: The Brave and the Bold and was referenced as a past administration in a parallel universe in Action Comics #9, so there’s a 50/50 chance he exists in the DC Universe, give or take the Flash time-traveling or an evil alternate Superboy punching a reality wall or whatever. Comics!
But if he doesn’t exist in the New 52 – he should. I mean for God’s sake, they just gave an ongoing series to Vibe. Vibe.
Mr. DiDio – reprint these books.
And everyone else – vote. It’s important, even if the lines are long.
And of course bug DC to make Prez the Real Actual DC Universe President. Come on, he at least deserves to stand alongside Vibe!
Special Thanks To: Mike Allred for the original Prez print, and to Tom Forrest for letting us run pieces from his Comic Art Fans Prez Gallery.
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