Congressional Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says that she is "humbled" by an upcoming Devil's Due commemorative comic depicting her as a Washington-busting superhero.
In a conversation with TMZ today, the Democratic Congresswoman spoke highly of the project, entitled Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And The Freshman Force: New Party, Who Dis?
"It’s an honor people would put so much of their time and talent into that all on their own," Ocasio-Cortez said. "I’m especially honored that they’re donating the proceeds to RAICES Texas [a non-profit that provides legal services to immigrants and refugees] for immigration and civil rights protections. So that part of the project, if it can benefit communities that need it, is really amazing."
You can pre-order the comic, which has been grabbing international headlines throughout the week, at its official website, and through comic book stores in the North American direct market.
While it tends to strike the non-comics-reading public as an oddity each time it happens, the idea of depicting popular political figures in comics, or even transforming them into superheroes or other fantasy characters, is not particularly new.
Ten years ago, following the success of then-newly-sworn-in President Barack Obama in Savage Dragon and Spider-Man comics, Devil's Due created Barack the Barbarian, transplanting Obama into a Conan-style sword and sorcery book. The move was inspired by Obama's self-proclaimed love of comics in general and Conan in particular. Those comics were followed by imitators -- both of the sort that lionized Obama and the sort that mocked him.
When Donald Trump took office, he similarly landed comics that made him out to be a hero or a villain, including My Hero MAGADemia and Thump: The First Bundred Days from Antarctic Press, both of which fall into the "loving satire" mold. Trump has also showed up in Savage Dragon, although while fans expected the left-leaning Erik Larsen to take it to the 45th President, his impact has been largely absent. In a commentary on immigration and refugee issues, Trump cast all aliens -- including the series lead, Malcolm Dragon -- out of the United States, but now that the book is set in Canada, Trump's actual presence is pretty minimal.
Presidents and other major political figures have always appeared in American comics, although often it was more as props -- Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson, and Reagan all sent DC superheroes on special assignments, while Nixon and Clinton ran afoul of Captain America -- than as heroes themselves.
Typically -- as you see in a variant cover that casts Ocasio-Cortez as a Wonder Woman pastiche -- these comics go way over the top with camp in order to retain a sense of humor and wonder whether they are supportive or critical, as the publishers generally see the inherent silliness of the project.
Maybe the most (in)famous of these such comics is Reagan's Raiders, a 1986 Solson comic in which Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and other members of the Reagan White House become super-powered, G.I. Joe-like commandos and battle terrorists. That series was short-lived but remains fresh in the consciousness of the comics-reading public in part thanks to a review from Atop the Fourth Wall.
"It's incredibly humbling," Ocasio-Cortez said of being depicted as a superhero. "If I can be that for a little girl somewhere where she can see herself being a superhero, I think that’s important for us to see we all have a superhero inside of us."
Here's the official description of the book, along with a link to pre-order:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And The Freshman Force comes ten years after the debut of the wildly-popular Devil's Due Barack the Barbarian comic series, which chronicled the bone-crushing exploits of our 44th President. Both are the brainchild of artist and Devil’s Due Publisher Josh Blaylock. “This time around, we wanted to create something that celebrates the fresh new energy and diversity of the stagnated legislative body, and help some good causes at the same time," explains Blaylock. A portion of all sales will go to RaicesTexas.org, which provides free and low-cost legal services to under-served immigrant children, families, and refugees.
"It’s no secret that AOC has been made the unofficial leader of the new school and has sparked new life into Washington," said Blaylock in a statement. “That’s reflected in the enthusiasm we received from so many contributing artists. While we all don’t agree on everything, we share a common excitement for the breath of fresh air the new Congress brings. I hope it’s as much of a cathartic release for readers as it has been for us creators."
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And The Freshman Force features contributions from several acclaimed and award-winning writers/artists, including Jill Thompson (creator of the Scary Godmother graphic novels and TV special), Dean Haspiel (Emmy-winning title designer and longtime collaborator with Harvey Pekar on American Splendor), Jose Garibaldi (Lego Movie 2, TMNT, Captain Underpants graphic novels), and more, including a cover by Tim Seeley (artist/writer of several comic book series, including Hack/Slash, Nightwing, Grayson, Green Lantern, and Batman).
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