Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Superman Saves Obama But…

President Barack Obama has more than his share of troubles; before he was even sworn in, he was being accused of being a Kenyan, a Muslim, a Communist, the list goes on and on. And when he finally did take the oath of office the economy was in free fall with the stock market crashing and leaving everyone to compare that economy to that of The Great Depression. And then the various tea parties arose, whose sole purpose seemed to be to oppose anything Obama was in favor of. I’m not going to cover everything that has happened since Obama took office, but he managed to get reelected in 2012 and this year seems to be crisis after crisis. Now as we approach his last two years in office I’m sure he’s concerned about his legacy.

But one thing is clear, while history will be the judge of his presidency, Obama’s legacy is strong in the world of comic books; he has appeared in more comics than Ronald Reagan, who was the previous modern president to appear most in comics, even having his own title, Reagans Rangers!

One of the strangest homages, (even stranger than Super LBJ!) in my opinion, is a particular character first seen in 2008 in Final Crisis #7, Calvin Ellis, President Superman of Earth 23, an obvious homage to Obama. This was in 2008 when optimism for Obama was at its highest point. At the end of that issue he appeared as a member of an army of alternate universe Supermen.

He reappears in Action Comics #9, published in 2012, where he has to fight a twisted version of Superman from another reality. The story seems to be a commentary on the comic book industry, the other worldly Superman is being used to sell products, sound familiar?

Plus there is much there about the rights of comic book creators, and how they can lose those rights, like Superman’s creators Siegel and Shuster did, for instance. And, finally the “controversy” about Obama’s birthplace is addressed. Great Rao!

Batman Turns 75 Years Old! Part 2

DC Comics has created several tributes to Batman’s 75th Anniversary. For the first video, DC Comics has turned to Bruce Timm, who produced Batman: The Animated Series, which began in 1992. Many fans consider that one of the best versions of Batman; I certainly do. Mr. Timm reached back into 1939 as a source of inspiration for his video. It shows one of the first cases of Batman, who matched wits with his very first adversary, mad scientist Dr. Hugo Strange.


The second video was created by Darwin Cooke and takes place in the future where Batman Beyond operates, mentored by the now old and retired Batman from Batman: The Animated Series. Appropriate for Mr. Cooke to do this tribute, since he designed the opening credits for Batman Beyond. Mr. Cooke is also responsible for one of my favorite graphic novels, New Frontier, which focuses on a group of heroes in the late 1950’s; it fills me with dewy-eyed nostalgia.  And that was made into an outstanding animated feature film by Bruce Timm!

But I digress. In this anniversary video, Batman must defeat robotic versions of Batman, and the robots are patterned after various historical versions of Batman, even including the Batman I grew up watching, Adam West’s 1966 version, which is now, by the way, in comic book form! More about that in it's own post. 

These are both enjoyable videos but they can’t distract me from the fact that DC has no current Batman series (Beware the Batman was canceled before one complete season was aired!) nor is a Batman movie coming out in this anniversary year. In this case though, we’ll take what we can get and look forward to 2016’s Batman Versus Superman: Dawn of Justice. Let’s hope Ben Affleck and Director Zach Snyder don’t ruin it!