Five years ago, Barack Obama was not a household name. Perhaps political enthusiasts (and the people of Illinois) knew of him as a rising star, but Joe the Plumber didn't know who Barack Obama was. Then, the guy was everywhere, the darling of the Democratic party, and soon the President of the United States! If his Presidential campaign was any indication of how he'll be remembered as Commander-in-Chief, Obama's legacy is sure to be the one that inspired a new generation to consider politics, and to vote.
Accordingly, President Obama quickly became a comic book star, too, with notable cameos in Spider-man and Savage Dragon comics. Since I create comics that use real news as the context for superhero adventure, albeit specifically in Arizona, it was only a matter of time before President Obama made an appearance in my strips, too. We knew he was coming to the Valley in late January, to visit a developing Intel plant, so I scoured the news for fun angles to develop a concept of my own. "Super Obama" was first drawn fighting Spyder Pig, a wayward hot air balloon that made some national headlines the same week the Prez came to Phoenix. I was almost done with that strip when our blessed Governor Brewer offered the finger-wag-seen-'round-the-world, and I knew what I had to do. Spyder Pig was scrapped and here was the quick alternative, called "Throw-down in the Desert," an addendum to the finger wag photo that I whipped up in less than two hours. Below are some panels from the unfinished hot air balloon debacle.
In "Throw-down in the Desert," Obama doesn't appear in costume, so since I revealed his alien origin I've been waiting to reveal him in superhero civvies. Thankfully, Sheriff Arpaio opened the door with his ongoing investigation of Obama's presumably forged birth certificate. Since the overt accusation is that the President is an alien, I take the theory all the way. This past week's strips on Nerdvana have been the result -- a faux daily series in the tradition of, say, "Mary Worth," building to a full Sunday comics-style conclusion. I was always fascinated by the pacing of these strips; with just an average of three panels a day, each day's offering had to be interesting enough to read by itself, and engaging enough to keep readers looking for more. This is the soap opera storytelling method; anybody that watches Days of Our Lives knows nothing really happens Monday through Thursday. That's just the build-up to Friday, when something crazy happens and leaves you for the weekend wanting more. So goes "President Obama, E.T.!"
Visit Nerdvana and read the strip in its entirety, with this in mind. If you're so inclined, please drop me a line and let me know what you think! This was a fun experiment -- one that enabled me to exploit other headlines along the way, too. At the very least, President Obama has inspired at least one more person toward politics . . . if only to exaggerate them in comics strip form. Until now, that was -- well, an alien concept -- to me!