Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What Impact Does A Presidency Have On Comics?

Whether if it's just guest-starring in an issue, or influencing the tone of a whole event, the president (and politics) of a certain era has some impact on its comic books (and pop-culture).

George W. Bush's presidency spanned such events as 9/11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and the current financial disaster. On top of that has been the highlighting of a divisiveness in this country over lines of ideology and even religion that threaten to tear it apart. You can call it an Identity Crisis, a Civil War, Our Worlds At War, a Secret Invasion, a Countdown. Captain America is dead. The people clamor for a Brand New Day. Long live the new Captain America.

The GWB years were the fuel that fed storylines in The Authority, Superman, The Ultimates. Who can forget President Luthor? The Thunderbolts in a barely-disguised Gitmo facility? And the "Sub-Diego" storyline in Aquaman -- was that before or after Katrina? Ditto for Our Worlds At War and 9/11 and the subsequent battles. Sometimes the comics do better than merely reflect current events -- sometimes they predict them.

Anyway, George W. has had his Final Crisis. What next? How will comic book stories be influenced by an Obama presidency? And how will the industry be influenced?

-->more thoughts on the subject from a personal perspective, written last year