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Friday, January 20, 2017 

Blastr covers Obama's roles in comics

The Blastr website's written up a fluff-coated article about the now former president's appearances in the four color panels and pages. Courtesy of a whole bunch of scriptwriters and editors who only cared because he's a leftist and represented all sorts of dreadful values that have only hurt America, yet the odd thing is that not all of them were as favorable as they could've been. They reference his appearances in the MCU, and oddly enough, it does look like his first appearances weren't flattering, although it's suggested the Chameleon was at fault:
But while the presidents may be the same, time in the Marvel Universe certainly isn't, and so Obama made his first appearance as the Marvel POTUS just a month after being elected. In Secret Invasion #8, readers saw the first reference to the new Commander-in-Chief ... and it wasn't under terribly flattering circumstances. While we didn't see his face, a president clearly meant to be Obama reacted to the massive alien invasion attempt that had just taken place by appointing Norman Osborn — the former Green Goblin — as the new head of S.H.I.E.L.D., or as Osborn would rename it, H.A.M.M.E.R.

Apparently wanting to score back some political points with his favorite superhero, his next major Marvel appearance was in Amazing Spider-Man #538. Taking place on Inauguration Day 2009 (and being published just a week before), the issue's backup story saw Obama arrive in Washington, D.C. to be sworn in ... only to be met by himself! As anyone who's ever read a Spider-Man story with a doppelganger in it can probably guess, the other Obama was none other than the Chameleon, and with a little help from the webslinger — who was in attendance as Peter Parker, sent there to take pictures of the historic event — the villain's plot was thwarted.
So let's get this straight. The ASM backup story ties in with the Secret Invasion crossover, and was conceived to provide clarification on what was really the case? If so, it'd be clear Secret Invasion was more like a repeat of Geoff Johns' monumentally bad 2002 Avengers story called Red Zone, where a US defense secretary named Dell Rusk (the same initials as Donald Rumsfeld) turned out to be the Red Skull. Making things worse, it was implied the Black Panther was guilty of making the poisonous serum the Red Skull was using in his plans. And Johns had the gall to depict the Skull claiming he "loved" America (reminds me that in his take on Hawkman, there was a scene where Shadow Thief claimed he liked capitalism. Seems like some leftist writers have quite a knack for making crooks spout rightist talking points). Presumably, the following Secret Invasion issues continued Chameleon's charade (and the writers):
Later that month, Obama decided to invite his aforementioned troubling appointee for a ride on Air Force One in order to discuss some of the more questionable allegations laid against the former supervillain. Pre-H.A.M.M.E.R., Osborn was in charge of the black-ops villain rehab team known as the Thunderbolts and had appeared to relapse into his Goblin persona on a few occasions while leading them. So when he boarded the world's most famous airplane to be questioned by the president and Doc Samson in Thunderbolts #128, there was only one course of action: use the T-bolts to fake an attack on the president by the Green Goblin and save the day! This story really made President Obama look like a bit of an idiot, and it didn't really get much better from there.
But if the Chameleon was impersonating Obama, then what transpired won't mean anything. However, if it was supposed to be the real Obama in a sci-fi world, then it's a pity this particular story had to be built on such cynicism.

Still, depending on one's POV, this could be two sides of the same coin: one the one hand, as a story stemming from the same mindset that drove the first Civil War, it goes by a liberal bent, yet at the same time, the writers like Bendis and Millar seemingly have no problem with depicting Obama incompetently, something they'd doubtless be more likely to do with a conservative president (to be sure, we haven't seen anything yet now that they'll be attacking Trump even worse). The politics of modern Marvel are further alluded to in the following:
Over the years, Obama appeared in too many Marvel comics to list, usually when big events went down, such as his cameos in Siege, Doomwar and Avengers vs. X-Men, but his most recent event appearance was one of his most baffling -- and probably his final Marvel appearance. In the first and last issues of last year's Civil War II event, a silhouetted Obama makes an appearance, the first time discussing with Colonel James Rhodes, aka War Machine, his potential future in politics. By the end of the event, however, Rhodey is dead, and so his second meeting is with Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel, who he congratulates on her composure in the conflict and her use of precognitive visions in stopping crimes, despite those actions having killed Rhodey. The scene plays especially weird when considering the metaphor that Marvel said they were going for was criminal profiling, which is certainly not a position that the president has been supportive of. But it only serves to reinforce that Marvel's Obama was significantly more oblivious than ours.
Again, that is strange, isn't it? If the artists and writers of the crossover voted in 2012, I'm sure they cast votes for Obama, yet they don't have an issue with making him look like he's backing all that they despise? Very weird, yet it's not likely to get any better. The irony is that Obama was oblivious to what causes Islamic terrorism during his two terms.

The following storylines from DC were certainly tilted in Obama's favor:
Even before Barack Obama made any formal appearances in the DC Universe, he became the clear inspiration for a new character: Calvin Ellis, an alternate universe's Superman, and also the President of that universe's United States. He popped up only a couple of months after our universe's first African American president's inauguration in the pages of Final Crisis #7 and was clearly a play on not only Obama, but also his message of hope, a primary theme of Superman. [...]
Ah, now this certainly does sound favorable to Obama, just like the ASM issue over at Marvel obviously was. But if Obama was oblivious to serious issues, then what hope was there in his messages anyway? The most favorable appearance in comics, however, had to be in Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon:
Despite Obama's girth of appearances in the two most popular superhero worlds, they were actually both beaten to the punch by Image Comics co-founder Erik Larsen. Savage Dragon #137 featured a cover with the titular hero giving his endorsement of the presidential candidate in September 2008. He later featured the president in a one-page strip which had Obama thank Dragon for his support and even credited him with helping him push the vote count "over the top." Larsen featured the president on multiple covers afterward, including a variant which showed Obama knocking out Osama Bin Laden, two full years before the latter's death. Another Image founder, Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld, put Obama in Youngblood #8, which saw the president authorizing the actions of yet another shady government-sponsored super-team. He really should stop doing that.
Gee, how come they couldn't be as favorable or inspiring when it comes to right-wing presidents? Despite bin Laden's eventual erasure, nothing was actually done to confront the root causes of terrorism, and Larsen once noted that he had a negative view of Charlie Hebdo's satires of Muhammed, making it difficult to believe he's really against censorship in superhero comics. He certainly didn't seem to understand all the pertinent issues.

And look what Antarctic Press put out at one time:
[...] Antarctic Press, the guys who started it all with Obama: The Comic Book, also published a four-issue that they clearly had no other choice but to call President Evil. It featured “Ba-rot Obama” leading the country's resistance against the zombie plague while taking on undead presidents as well as conservative talk radio hosts.
Well, I think we know where they stand. We can only wonder who those zombie presidents are too, for that matter.

In the end, none of these stories featuring Obama are any good, as they all look infested with leftist politics no matter how he comes off in illustrated format, and most of them are otherwise favorable to him far more than most right-wing presidents were depicted back in the day, or Trump's been so far too. It's just an example of how escapist entertainment's gone off the rails in favor of politics over the past 2 decades.

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Did you see that Marvel is doing a black Avengers book by Coates about an activist killed in police custody as well as an Asian Avengers by Greg Pak? While attempting to be in-racist, Marvel ends up being super racist.

I'll try to write about those books too as soon as I can.

On the DC media side and with our new President, this isn't very encouraging:


I knew about the Coates Avengers book, but not the Pak one. I'll have to look into that, myself.

The Blastr OP didn't cover this -- it's either he didn't know or the article might have been almost complete when these issues were published -- but Obama recently appeared in the Deluge arc in Aquaman (the final issue of the arc debuted this week). It was written by Dan Abbett, whose politics I don't know, so feel free to give me a refresher.

Plot was that Black Manta did a false flag operation to have America and Atlantis at war with each other, by using commandeered Atlantis tech to attack America. Arthur has been trying to find evidence to exonerate Atlantis, while the Justice League, willing to listen to Arthur, becomes a mediator between the two governments. I rather liked the arc, and it was a more measured take concerning Obama vs. the prior comics, of which I wasn't familiar with. (I totally forgot about Calvin Ellis or Marvel's Chameleon stunt until I read the article.)

Admittedly, some scenes I skimmed through, as it was late when I read them, so I didn't do any finer analysis at the time. I'll have to re-read the issue to double check on any additional political allegory, but my general impression is that it didn't treat Obama favorably or unfavorably. Now, there was a U.S. military op called the Aquamarines, which served as side antagonists, but YMMV as far as their making the U.S. government or Obama look bad. Maybe one of you guys can read the whole thing, judge for yourself and/or catch something I missed.

Oh, well, at least it didn't turn Obama into Superman. (Seriously, DC?)

A former president's leaving office, of course he'd get a fluff piece as his immediate legacy.

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