a page from 'Youngblood #9'Rob Liefeld has 5 simple words for anyone with a strong reaction to the images of a under-siege, gun-toting, John McClane-like President of the United States in the upcoming issue of his signature Image Comics series Youngblood…
"It's just a comic book," says the creator.
The comic book he refers to is June's Youngblood #9 [click on the link for a preview], part 1 of a two-issue "First Strike" story arc that sees the White House under attack, with Barack Obama alone and on-the-run after his Secret Service detail is killed in rather graphic violent fashion [see right].
President Obama, who has also appeared in cameos in Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man and Image's Savage Dragon to tremendous sales response, made his first cameo appearance in Youngblood #8, hand-picking the new line-up for the government-sponsored superhero team. But this is the first time the new Chief Executive will be woven so prominently into the fabric of an extended storyline, as well as perform provocative actions like picking up a gun to defend himself.
"The White House is under attack, the President's life is in danger, he does what is necessary to survive after his Secret Service agents are killed," explained Liefeld. "He does not engage in a shoot out, he runs for cover after knocking over the clock as cover. But for the record he never fires the gun."
Liefeld also promises no other members of Obama's family appears in the storyline … well, except for new Presidential dog Bo.
a page from 'Youngblood #9'The often-controversial writer and artist says he's not expecting a strong reaction from the public to the imagery as the storyline has been promoted for months. Nor has he given a great deal of thought to using a real-life figure so conspicuously in a work of fiction, reporting that he himself has been depicted in and fact murdered (killed in his home and dumped in his own pool) in the pages of an unauthorized comic book, Kill Image.
"I imagine it's hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube," says Liefeld. "Look, Obama is more popular than Spider Man, Batman, and Wolverine combined. I have a government-directed super-team, he's the President of the United States. This makes sense. Is this the first time a sitting President appeared in danger in a comic book? I'm not certain, but I can't believe we're treading in uncharted waters.
"But if Secret Service comes to my door, I'll let you know."
Asked how he'd react in President Obama's shoes, if a member of his media staff showed him this issue someday?
"It's a comic book," Liefeld reiterates. "I'd react as if it's a comic book."