With the U.S. election today, we're focusing on the issues that matter--like what were the strangest appearances President Obama made in comic books in the four years since his election as President. The Amazing Spider-Man #583 The first major comic featuring Barack Obama to be published following his election, the story saw Spider-Man swoop in to save the President from an impostor at his inauguration only to end up "teaming up" with Obama, who punches out the impostor himself. The massive commercial success of the issue spawned a wave of imitators, and pretty much was responsible for the rest of this list. Of course, it was in itself an imitator--after Erik Larsen announced Obama's first post-election appearance in Savage Dragon #145 (the politician had already appeared in Dragon about six months earlier), Marvel saw the attention Larsen was getting from the mainstream press and, apparently, decided "We have a weekly comic and a deep well of talent. We can get out in front of this!". There's also been a lot of political backlash around this one--go to any political thread on any comic book message board and it's only a matter of time before this issue is trotted out by conservatives as evidence that Marvel is part of a massive media-industrial complex that's in Obama's pocket. Youngblood #8 Another installment in the "President Obama saves the day" series, the White House is attacked by terrorists and, after his Secret Service detail is out of the equation, the President took one of their guns and defended himself with deadly force. The issue was written and drawn by Rob Liefeld, so if using a sitting President as a hero rather than a bystander or "extra" wasn't controversial enough, it had that going for it, too. Also, I made a lot of "Liefeld feet" jokes at the time. Some of which I regret.
Army of Darkness: Ash Saves Obama This one was the last of the "President Obama in a wacky situation" stories that came along before it started to deteriorate into "Obama being the name and general appearance of our story's hero in a story that bears seemingly no relation to the real world." It was also the last massively successful story before fan backlash started to view Obama appearances as little more than a variant cover--a silly stunt whose day had passed. What's stranger is that this wasn't the last time Obama would face zombies... (And that doesn't even count Joss Whedon't Romney ad.) Barack the Barbarian So, after President Obama had appeared in Spider-Man comics, there was only one other particular character he'd singled out as someone he was a fan of when he was reading comics in his youth: Conan the Barbarian. So--take one popular U.S. President and one classic barbarian warrior. Shake well. President Evil When this project was announced, I had hoped it would be an adaptation of the Veronica Mars episode by the same name, but no--it was a zombie send-up that cast Barack Obama as Ash (apparently there was a lot of cultural cache to the Evil Dead back in 2009) and, presumably, Michelle as Alice from Resident Evil. It also featured the President teaming up with John McCain--now called "McPain"--and his former running mate Sarah Palin.