Tag Archives: prez

The Top 25 Fictional Presidents

Happy Presidents’ Day!

With everyone else running their lists of the top Presidents and the worst and because our current occupant of the Oval Office is, ahhem, how do I put it?

JLW79

Quite right. So, we thought we’d bring you the list of the top fictional Presidents to help us set our sights higher.

Let’s start with a couple of honorable mentions. While they didn’t make the top list, it’s worth noting that Roy Schieder, James Cromwell, and Bruce Greenwood have all played presidents multiple times. Because when someone says, “We need a President—who’s an actor who exudes gravitas?” the obvious answer is the guy who blew up Jaws, Farmer Hoggett, and. . .well, Bruce Greenwood. Robert Rodriguez also seems to like to cast random people as presidents in his movies, including George Clooney in Spy Kids and Charlie Sheen as the most hilariously named fictional president ever, “President Rathcock,” in Machete Kills.

And with that, I present to you, the Top 25 Fictional Presidents of all time

25. Stephen Colbert / President Hathaway — Marvel Comics/Monsters vs. Aliens played by Stephen Colbert.

Because the Executive Producer of Our Cartoon President has also been. . . a cartoon president. Specifically, a president who decides that the best way to attack aliens is with monsters. This film was genius and I never quite understood why it didn’t take off more.

Colbert ASM variant cover

Also, we should always remember that time in Marvel comics when Colbert (his persona as a loudmouth host of The Colbert Report, not his nicer, more mainstream self as host of The Late Show) ran as an independent, won the popular vote, and lost the Electoral College to Obama.

Losing the popular vote but being elected anyway? “Preposterous! Only in comic books!” you say? Sounds right.

Ok, so not exactly a president. But he’s right in that hall of almost presidents with Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Samuel Tilden. And none of them got to team up with Spider-Man. (Yet.)

24. James Dale — Mars Attacks! played by Jack Nicholson.

Stealing a vibe from Dr. Strangelove and other b-movie alien invasion films, Nicholson is able to channel quite well the hapless president overwhelmed by alien invasion. My favorite is how he keeps believing the worst possible advice. For style, not for substance, you made the list.

23. Tom Beck — Deep Impact played by Morgan Freeman. Ok, I know he belongs on this list, but I get seriously confused about which asteroid movie this was? Oh, this was the one where the asteroid actually hits. Ok. Not with Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis. And was Morgan Freeman also the President in “Olympus Has Fallen”? Oh, no, that was Aaron Eckhart. Almost.

Anyway — Morgan Freeman. That is all.

doctorow wheaton22. Cory Doctorow / Wil Wheaton, Ready Player One

Are you ready for Ready Player One?

With the movie coming in just a few weeks, hype is in full gear. Worth noting, in Ernest Cline’s book that the film is based off of, it mentioned the very real people Cory Doctorow and Wil Wheaton had been elected president and vice-president of the Oasis, the giant online system everyone uses for games, education, second life. At this point, who controlled the Oasis was far more important than who was actually president, as the real world really sucked.

Real people, fake product, fake presidents– but we could use more people like them in politics and fewer like, well, most of the people in charge these days.

21. Preston Rickard / Beth Ross, Prez from DC Comics

Kids elected president? We could do much worse. In this satire where future presidents are elected by Twitter because turnout is so low and kids are allowed to vote, somehow a social media star gets elected president. In the 2015 reboot, they even bring back the original Prez from the 1970’s. It’s great satire because our politics have literally gotten just that bad. You can read a more full review we ran here and also here, and here, and an interview with the writer here. A series that was cancelled too soon, maybe it will get rebooted again in another 40 years.

20. Thomas Whitmore, Independence Day played by Bill Pullman.

Ok, just watch that clip above. That’s the only reason why. Yeah, he flew a fighter jet to save the earth, but so what? Big summer movie speech– the biggest summeriest speechiest movie speech ever. And please try to forget that Independence Day 2 ever happened.

19. Vanellope Von Schweetz – Wreck-It Ralph played by Sarah Silverman. Upon being restored to her rightful place as Princess of Sugar Rush land, Vanellope decides to transition her government into a constitutional democracy and become President. Hey, it’s better than ordering the execution of Taffeta Muttonfudge and the others who were mean to her. For being a president who is able to give up supreme executive power in favor of giving it to the people, you made the list, Vanellope. Also, looking forward to your sequel and you possibly becoming. . . a Disney Princess?

18. Merkin Mufflin – Dr. Strangelove played by Peter Sellers. 

On this list if only for the classic line “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the war room!” And because Peter Sellers.

17. Zaphod Beeblebrox — The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Finally, a president whose narcissism rivals that of our own! Two heads, three arms, and the biggest idiot, he was elected president of the galaxy — a position which has no power and is only there to distract people from who’s really in charge. There are a lot of satirical presidents on this list, but this is one of the best. If he had Twitter, no doubt he’d be tweeting about being “a very stable genius” “despite all the negative press covfefe.” Also, the only president with his own music video (from the 2005 film starring Sam Rockwell as our president) — and he’s better looking, too.

16. President Skroob — Spaceballs played by Mel Brooks.

It’s good to be the king, er, president. Floozies. Unlisted walls. Nobody telling you your ass is so big. Your own canned air supply.

Too bad you run a civilization so dumb that it is running out of oxygen. (I’m betting Scott Pruitt runs Spaceballs’ EPA) But still, hail Skroob!

15. James Marshall — Air Force One played by Harrison Ford. “Get off of my plane!” That’s all you need to make the list. Also, James Marshall seems like a pretty good guy. He’s resourceful enough to contact his people and sabotage his own hijacked plane, he can speak Russian in remarks to the Russian government.

I always thought this was the “President Jack Ryan” movie that we never got (because, let’s face it, Debt of Honor and Executive Orders will never be made into movies) as a follow up to Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Plus, it’s Harrison Ford.

14. Richard Nixon’s head — Futurama played by Billy West. “NIXON’S BACK!!!” Disproving the adage that there are no second acts in politics, Nixon served as President of Earth for most of the run of Futurama, providing some awesome times along the way– brought to you by Shenkman’s Rubbing Compound and the great taste of Charleston Chew.

Corrupt, easy to anger, and also pretty stupid, it makes us almost forget how bad the actual Richard Nixon was. And it also seems pretty spot-on these days.

13. Jackson Evans – The Contender played by Jeff Bridges.

One of my personal and pet favorites, President Jackson Evans spends most of the film trying to outmaneuver a slimy and hypocritical Gary Oldman (the second time he’s been the villain on the list! Whaddya know?!?) to get a woman confirmed as his Vice President. Oh, and also trying to order the most ridiculous things from the White House kitchen staff to show them they’re unprepared. Jeff Bridges is also part of a family of presidential stars, including his father Lloyd Bridges president in Hot Shots Part Deux, and brother Beau Bridges as president three times in 10.5, its sequel 10.5 Apocalypse and an episode of Stargate SG-1.

12. Kang – The Simpsons played by Harry Shearer. When Kang and his sister Kodos take over as Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in the 1996 elections, it was only a matter of time before one of them became president. They were sure fire winners, especially with classy campaign rhetoric like: “Abortions for some, tiny American flags for others.” “My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!” When it was pointed out that they were aliens, Kodos pointed out it was a two party system. When some idiot said he would vote for a third party candidate, Kang sealed his place in history by saying “Go ahead– throw your vote away.” And that’s what make him so high on this list. Don’t like it? “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.”

11. President Business – The Lego Movie played by Will Farrell. 

Both greed and conformity personified, President Business is perhaps the most subversive choice on this entire list. Most kids will never get the dystopian overtones, but if Gordon Gecko and Big Brother made a child out of Legos, this would be it.

Also, that awesome hat and those legs.

Those legs. 

Genius.

Also genius– you notice those are coffee mugs on his hat, right?

If only we’d heeded the warning of electing a “businessman” to be president. If Trump invited everyone to a Taco Tuesday, we know something evil is about to happen.

10. Lex Luthor – Superman.

Compared to the other villains on this list (and the current POTUS) who knew that Lex Luthor would be one of the least evil and least overt of the great villain presidents?

The best thing about Luthor as president (and always with Luthor) is he doesn’t think he’s the villain. He even gets the majority of America to agree with him. True genius. 

9. Leslie Knope – Parks and Recreation played by Amy Poehler. Ok, so she was never explicitly president on the show. But the show’s finale sure seemed to hint at it. And let’s be honest? She is exactly what we need right now.

Because unlike most of the rest of these dopes in the top 10, Leslie Knope embodies gumption and honesty and has yet to be corrupted by political power. And we hope she never does. We love you, Leslie Knope.

Knope/Swanson 2020.

8. Lisa Simpson – The Simpsons played by Yeardley Smith. 

Speaking of competent, smart, earnest women who could take over the presidency in a heartbeat. . . .

This is the clip everyone knows where The Simpsons predicted President Trump and a huge debt crisis because of his policies. But what we can hope for is the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will have the intelligence and empathy of Lisa Simpson. I’m not so sure about Secretary of the Treasury Milhouse Van Houten, though. I guess if (Producer of Suicide Squad) Steve Mnuchin can do it. . .

7. Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Comacho — Idiocracy played by Terry Crews. 

The smartest president in the not-too-distant-future (and Cassandra-like warning of our current administration), President Comacho was wise enough to let his Secretary of the Interior, Not Sure, put water from the toilet on the crops, even though we all know plants crave the electrolyes in Brawndo, the thirst mutilator. Also, he’s a champion wrestler, and who doesn’t want that in the White House?

Dave Kevin Kline Sigourney Weaver

6. Dave Kovic impersonating President Bill Mitchell — Dave played by Kevin Kline. 

In the second-greatest Ivan Reitman film of all time, we get to see what would happen if we actually let a regular guy be president. And the answer is a not half-bad job. Dave’s jobs program makes sense to me, and his approach to trimming the budget to keep a homeless shelter open? Would that we could actually do that. While not the most accurate portrayal of Washington, it’s a version I wish we lived in and less like the real world Washington, which is more petty and full of incompetents — like Veep.

5. President Lindberg — The Fifth Element played by Tiny Lister.

As one of the many presidents on this list who have faced destruction of the planet, he handled it the best.

Because what every president should do when facing disaster in the 90’s? Throw Bruce Willis (in this case Corbin Dallas) at it. And perhaps the best part is where he gets yelled at by Corbin Dallas’s overbearing mother.

Wait. . . Gary Oldman’s the bad guy in this one, too! Definitely a pattern. . . and maybe a metaphor for this year’s Best Actor Oscar race, too.

4. David Palmer — 24 played by Dennis Haysbert.

Possibly the most badass of our top 5 presidents, David Palmer stood up to assassination attempts, terror attacks, and Kim getting menaced by a cougar (ok, so not that last one).  He was also the only guy who seemed to be able to control Jack Bauer, which probably qualifies you to be on this list anyway. Also, a crazy murdery wife. And a competent brother who made a good president in his own right. But he was no David Palmer. Few people are.

2. [tie] Josiah “Jed” Bartlett/Andy Shepard — The West Wing/The American President played by Martin Sheen/Michael Douglas.

This is a tie because you can’t truly separate these two characters, as they both personify Aaron Sorkin’s idealized White House full of competent, well-meaning people. Yes, it’s a fantasy in itself. But it’s one we wish we had.

Still one of my favorite tv shows of all time and one of my favorite movies of all time. Also, I think it’s time to reboot The West Wing. Sorkin said he’d reboot it with Sterling K. Brown as president, but I think we could do even better. Pitch: It’s the first two years of President Seaborn’s first term. Except President Seaborn is actually Sam’s wife, and she’s played by, oh, I dunno. . . Gina Torres, Eva Mendes, Eva Longoria, or Rosario Dawson.  Who’s with me?

Honorable mention here to President Santos, our first Latino fictional president.

1. Laura Roslin — Battlestar Galactica played by Mary McDonnell.

A lot of fictional presidents have faced down apocalyptic threats to Earth. Few of them have had to live on after the apocalypse.

Laura Roslin did that and more. Despite being completely unintentionally thrown into the presidency (she was a schoolteacher and Sec of Education before) she filled the role like few others could. And she held her own against Adama, against Tom Zarek, against those fraking cylons, and finally against cancer. She made mistakes along the way, but she rose to what she needed to do. And that is why she is the best. So say we all.

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So, who did we miss? There’s a couple intentionally left off here for very real, non fictional reasons, but if we missed your favorite, or think we rated someone too high or too low, let us know in the comments!

Review: Catwoman: Election Night #1

ctwen_cv1_dsIt’s mayoral election time in Gotham City, and while the city is up in arms, Catwoman couldn’t care less! But when the candidates get personal, the Feline Fatale decides to get involved—much to the detriment of…well, everyone! This issue contains a special bonus story featuring the return of President Beth Ross from the critically acclaimed PREZ miniseries.

Catwoman: Election Night #1 is a one-shot special timed for the Presidential election and is a comic that lends itself to a lot of debate about the fine details within.

With a main story written by Meredith Finch and art by Shane Davis, Catwoman is thrown into the Gotham Mayoral election that pits Penguin against another candidate with a past and forces us to ask the question of who’s worse?

Finch has no problem taking a jab at the current state of American politics and she has Penguin channeling Trump with his over the top proclamations and focus on building a wall. But beyond that pretty clear riff, what Finch does is much subtler than that.

Without giving the full story away, the people of Gotham are asked to choose the lesser of two evils a situation many find themselves in this election. The fact the candidates are a businessman with questionable dealings turn politician vs. a female politician it makes it pretty clear that this is analogous to the current Presidential campaign. There’s a lot you could debate about when the story wraps up and what Finch is saying, but the fact you can actually debate the story is impressive.

Davis’ art is really good and reminds me of some past Catwoman art I’ve seen. There’s some really great panels that stand out from the art and the story has a horror tinge that Davis nails really well when the time is right.

Joining Catwoman’s tale is writer Mark Russell and artist Ben Caldwell with a swan-song for President Beth Ross and the absolutely amazing Prez. The story doesn’t address the current election directly, instead giving us one more legislative battle for Ross. This time the issue is birth control and the right to bear arms.

As usual Russell gives us humorous jabs at the politics of it all and resolves the issue with a creative solution that pokes even more fun of our political priorities. The jokes fly quickly in the story and much of that lies with Caldwell as Russell’s humor is more than what’s spoken, but also what is visually there too. The details are key as jokes and statements are made with every small item on the page. Each says as much about Caldwell’s artistic talent as it does Russell’s storytelling abilities. The combo of the two is an amazing one and I wish we could get more of President Ross. The short story is a reminder that Prez was a comic that was too smart for its audience and too ahead of its time.

One-shots like this I usually roll my eyes about, but Catwoman: Election Night is an entertaining comic that actually has a lot to say about the current state of politics and the Presidential election. But, what it also does is provide an escape from it all as Finch and Russell put story before politics. Whether you’re a politico who wants a little politics in your comics or a comic fan looking for an entertaining story, Catwoman: Election Night is worth checking out.

Story: Mark Russell, Meredith Finch Art: Ben Caldwell, Shane Davis
Story: 7.7 Art: 7.7 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Meredith Finch and Mark Russell Discuss the Catwoman: Election Special, Prez, and The Flinstones

Catwoman Election NightThis Wednesday sees the release of three election themed stories by DC Comics in two comics. Catwoman: Election Night Special features a special Prez back-up story while The Flintstones #5 also tackles the topic.

Written by Meredith Finch and Mark Russell the two stories skewer, satirize, and reflect the current Presidential election.

I got a chance to talk to both about their stories and a bit about the election itself.

Graphic Policy: Meredith, I read the Catwoman: Election Night Special. You’re clearly channeling a certain politican with Penguin. Is there any reason you went with that as opposed to having him do his own thing?

Meredith Finch: I think the whole idea of doing the election issue was to have, to be a charicature of the current election. I wanted it to be, at least on some level, play up the fact. He’s clearly not Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump is a politican who you wouldn’t expect to be a politician. That’s exactly what Penguin is. They have a similar background coming from business, never having done politics before, and being larger than life personalities that say what they’re thinking without any consequence of it actually sounds when its out there. I felt it was a good fit for Penguin to take on that role.

GP: Is there anything about Penguin in particular that makes him fit for that role? When you go through his history, he’s run for office a bunch of times, weirdly often in Presidential years. You don’t see that as often with Harvey Dent for example, and he’d have had to run for District Attorney. So what is it about Penguin that makes him perfect fo this type of story?

MF: When you’re looking at villains within the Gotham universe, in a lot of ways he’s the one that seems the most sane from an insane point of view. You couldn’t imagine anyone voting for the Riddler, the Joker, or any of these other characters which are much darker with a murderous undertone. People have an almost cuddly association with Penguin. He’s been made fun of a lot more in the Batman universe than any other character. People, I think, love him in a different way. He’s a fun character and works so well for this. Even though there’s some darker undertones to the story, it’s intended to be a fun take on the election. It’s supposed to be enjoyable and Penguin lends himself to that.

ctwen-8GP: How’d the issue come about? What was the genesis of the story and issue?

MF: I was talking to DC about some ideas I had for a Catwoman story. They threw out the idea to me about this election themed one-shot. I thought it was great. I thought it’d be a lot of fun. I’m Canadian, so it’s fun to sit back and look at what’s going on. We just had gone through a election, so I could look at what’s happening south of the border for the election, and bring a neutral bystander approach to the story and to the candidates.

GP: Is there any particular reason you used Catwoman for the story and the overarching murder mystery in it?

MF: I think Catwoman lends herself to this simply to the fact that whether it’s an election or not in Gotham, she has nothing to lose. She doesn’t care if Penguin is the Mayor. She doesn’t care if Hill is the Mayor. She doesn’t care if some ten year old kid is the Mayor. She does not care about anything but Catwoman. So it makes sense to do wat we’ve done with this election issue, she’s going to be the one perfectly willing to blow it all up because she has nothing to lose.

GP: With the end of the story, we get to see a certain character show up and proclaim she’s going to be President some day.

MF: We wanted to lead in to what was coming next.

GP: It’s as simple as that? Nothing more to it?

MF: It’s a dark story and it’s a challenging time in politics and you always want to know there’s hope and optimism. Putting that character at the end of the Catwoman issue is a way of saying “things may be really tough right now, they really suck, there’s always something new and positive coming up. There’s always a possibility of that.” Putting that character at the end of the issue is saying in Gotham there’s hope and optimism. In the DCU there’s hope and optimism. And hopefully at the end of the election cycle there’ll be some hope and optimism.

flint_5_maincover_cmyk_57b3aca7d7d0a2-70220519GP: Mark, at the end of the issue there’s back-up with Prez and Beth. Looking over the story as a whole, not just this one piece, everthing you’ve written with Prez has been prescient in many ways with this election. Looking back as a writer, how does it feel to see these satirical ideas brough to life?

Mark Russell: That was kind of chilling to discover how hard it was to make up something so far afield from how crazy things have gotten, to be constantly be outflanked by the reality of the political circus. But, it’s not just the politics, a lot of the inventions that populated Prez have become real. I was shocked, because I set this thing 20 years in the future. The taco drone and a lot of these things are coming out right now, happening sooner than later. I don’t feel very prescient so much as I feel that I’m writing about a reality that’s becoming increasingly incredible.

GP: The story in this issue is interesting in that you take on a lot of real world issues that are debated today. As a writer, how do you decide what you want to comment on? This issue deals with gun control and birth control. How do decide what you want to take on for each story?

MR: I think I have a lot of ideas that I write down notes for. I choose the ones that work best for Prez. I choose the ones that have the most fleshed out storylines or the ones that relate to each other the most. I have a hundred things I could write about, but only a small fraction of them I can write about in a story or makes sense in conjunction with a backstory about a similar issue. I think that’s what I do. I try to talk about two issues that dovetail in some way so they really resonate with the reader as opposed to writing a polemic in some way that’s divorced from any sort of story conencted to a human being or any other issues.

GP: What strikes me about this story, and much of what you’ve done with Prez, is that you take these issues, mix in some humor, but also have really intelligent solutions to them that seems like they could work in the real world. You present these realistic goofy solutions. It all makes sense in a messed up way. For you coming up with these solutions, what do you do as a writer to think this through and especially how two issues can come together? There’s some really interesting out of the box thinking and solutions you don’t see in real world politics.

MR: I feel like people who are cynical about politics and those that are idealistic are two sides to the same problematic coin. They expect perfection. And if they can’t be perfect then it’s not worth doing anything which I think is a problem in politics. That perfection gets in the way of improvement. I’m more of a pragmatist, I like improvement. I like gradual change for the better. And that’s what I try to write about. You might not get everything you want, but you might be able to coble together some sort of solution that pushes the human race forward a step or two.

Politics is not just about failure and cynicism. It’s also about coming up with solutions. The solutions are going to be practicle, incomplete, and not always what you want. I think that’s the one thing I tried to capture in the election special of Prez.

Gflintstones-1P: For both of you. It’s interesting in that both of the election issues, Catwoman: Election Night Special and The Flintstones #5, the main character is a bully that’s trying to get people to vote. It’s obviously a real world thing that’s going on. Out of everything that’s going on with this election, why focus on that in particular?

MR: For me it was the most obvious analog for Donal Trump. The idea of the cafeteria bully. And for me to examine why do people who have nothing, or who have been ripped off and kept down by people like Donald Trump, why they are so adamant about supporting him. In a lot of ways it felt best explained as to why people rally around the cafeteria bully who makes their lives miserable. I just wanted to make that allegory clear about Donald Trump.

MF: As for myself, I wanted it to reflect what was happening in the election. It’s something… bullying is an issue that seems to go from school yards up through the Presidential election and it was necessary to point that out because we need to continue to point that out. There’s other ways to get things done. We don’t need to bully and intimidate people to get them to change their minds. I wanted that reflected within the story.

GP: Both issues, in both of them, the main candidates in both are rejected by the voters. Each in a way gives a nod to third parties and reflects a lot of individuals not supporting either candidate and looking for alternatives. Was that on purpose?

MF: In Canada we have a different election system since we have three parties. I wanted to explore what happens when you have two candidates and neither are great options. Because, for us we always have a third option. In Gotham, they’ll have to re-run the election. I did want to explore that.

MR: For me, I wasn’t really trying to comment on the need for a third party in the American electoral system. I just wanted to say the only way to run against a bully is to call them out on it. Give themsevles enough rope and make it clear you’re not afraid of the bully. I want to make it clear America’s two party system, as flawed as it may be, is a natural outcome of the American electoral process. I think the two party system for better or worse is a result of how its set up. In other countries where there’s a parliamentary system, you have to build coalitions between the parties to form a majority and elect the President. Where in the United States all that coalition building is done within the parties themselves. You have two major parties with constituencies within the party that don’t necessarily have things in common but come together in common voting interests in hopes of getting a majority.

GP: This election is ludicrous on so many levels. As a satirist or story teller, how does that impact a writer? Do you say to yourself it’s so crazy or messed up, there isn’t anything more I can say or comment?

MR: Oh absolutely. And I think I’ve kind of given up on it. I just want to write and let it fall where it may where it might be too crazy or not crazy enough to comment on reality.

MF: I know for myself I really worried about going to far. And I have since learned that I could not have possibly gone far enough to match with what’s going on.

GP: With the election coming up, you’ve each got comics about elections. For each of you, why do you think it’s important for people to go out and vote in November? Or do you even think it’s important?

MR: I certainly do because voting has very real world implications. Depending on who gets elected this cycle, the fate of 22 million people who have healthcare under the Affordable Care Act will be decided. Two or three Supreme Court justices will be decided and will send the country’s legal system in one direction or another for the next 30 or 40 years. You will have massive implications for people not just in the United States but around the world based on who occupies the White House these next four years.

MF: I know for myself I agree with Mark 100% on that. As a woman, we fought so hard for the right to vote, shame on me if I don’t go out and vote. You really can’t sit back and complain unless you make your voice heard and you can do that by voting.

MR: It’s something you can do in the mean time while you work to make the bigger changes you want to see in the world.

GP: Thank you both.

Prez Gets Cancelled But Picks Up a Special

prez_56241ebbe5c934.11330750I’ve been waiting for the rest of DC ComicsPrez to be released, and it looks like I’ll be waiting forever. The series was originally announced as a twelve-issue miniseries, but then was split into two six-issue volumes.

The revamped series had a teenage girl Beth Ross elected to the Presidency after a viral video of her as “Corndog Girl” becomes a social media phenomenon and she’s drafted in some ways with the help of Anonymous. The comic series was filled with satire that was very prescient when it came to the Presidential election currently going on.

Written by Mark Russell with art by Ben Caldwell and launched with DC You, the series saw the first six issues released, and since then we’ve been waiting with rumors that the rest would be released later this year. Well, that’s not going to be the case.

Russell confirmed that we will be getting a twelve-page election special, and that’s it.

He was later asked if there’s anything fans can do. His response was to purchase the trade paperback.

National Cartoonist Society Honors Prez and Nanjing: The Burning City

This past weekend, the National Cartoonists Society held their Reuben Awards. Dark Horse and Ethan Young‘s Nanjing: The Burning City was awarded “Best Graphic Novel,” while DC ComicsPrez was honored for “Best Comic Book Award.” Prez was written by Mark Russell with art by Jeremy Lawson, Mark Morales, and Ben Caldwell.

Now in its 70th year, the Reuben Awards honor the outstanding achievements of professionals in the world of cartooning. Celebrating creators in a variety of facets including newspaper strips, TV animation, gag cartoons, comic books and more, the NCS honors the accomplishments of everyone in the cartooning profession with the Annual Reuben Awards. NCS membership includes over 500 of the world’s major cartoonists.

Serving as the world’s largest and most respected organization of professional cartoonists, NCS focuses on the advanced standards of professional cartooning, the promotion and exchange of all sectors of the cartooning industry, and the encouragement of general acceptance of cartooning as an art by artists, students and the general public.

Dark Horse Comics swept the Best Graphic Novel category with three stellar nominations, which, in addition to Nanjing, included Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s Two Brothers and Jonathan Case’s The New Deal. All three titles are part of the Dark Horse Originals imprint, marketed under the banner “Great Creators, Original Visions.

Ethan Young’s next graphic novel, The Battles of Bridget Lee: Invasion of Farfall, debuts in September. Young also won a 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal for the graphic novel Tails.

Congratulations to all winners and nominees! You can find a full list here.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

BlackMagick01_CoverAWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Alex

Top Pick: Book Of Death #4 (Valiant Entertainment) – This has been one of the most entertaining series I’ve read over the past few months, and this issue is somewhat bitter sweet; I don’t want it to end, but I really want to see how it ends… if you haven’t read this series, then grab the trade.

The Black Hood #6 (Dark Circle Comics) – A drug addicted cop and a brutal vigilante. The Black Hood is both of those, struggling to take the fight beyond the law as he battles his own demons. Duane Swierczynski has been praised for his portrayal of addiction with this series, and I can’t wait to find out why.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 (Marvel) – One of the most intriguing All-New, All-Different Marvel releases, what’s drawing me is a group of of characters that make me smile (Hit-Monkey!) being written by Frank Barbiere with art by Brent Schoonover. Comics are supposed to be fun, and that’s exactly what this one seems like it’ll be to me.

Black Magick #1 (Image Comics) – Greg Rucka writing, Nicola Scott on art. Ruck doing a gothic-noir series with a female lead? Yeah, this is a no-brainer for me.

The Black Hood #6 (Dark Circle Comics) – This darker line of superhero comics from Archie have been knocking it out of the park. A dark noirish hero, this comic begins a new story arc. Every issue has been entertaining mixing a modern sensibility with its pulp roots.

Cyborg #4 (DC Comics) – One of DC’s best recent releases, each issue mixes superhero antics, but also has given me thought about the character of Cyborg himself and how reflects upon me and my life. Entertainment as a reflection of ourselves, a definite read.

Prez #5 (DC Comics) – I love my politics, and of course this is on my list. The satire series hits WAY too close to home, and the 2016 Presidential election doesn’t feel that far off from this political send-up set in the future.

 

Elana

Top Pick: Black Magick #1 (Image Comics) – The first ever “witch noir”! A new series from Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott. Both excel at writing and drawing (respectively), fascinating, believable female characters. This dream team is can’t miss and the genre sounds like fun.

Angela Queen of Hel #1 (Marvel) – Look at these beautiful queens! Look at the adorable queer women in flawlessly painted art by Stephanie Hans! The best new couple in Marvel is back in black. In hell.

Batgirl #45 (DC Comics) – Big Queer Wedding Issue! This is a comics first: an Asian-American bisexual trans woman marrying her redheaded activist fiancée. And Dick Grayson will show up. Get ready to throw rice and munch on popcorn at the same time.

Captain America: Sam Wilson #2 (Marvel) – Captain America has always been a progressive hero (listen to our podcast for more on that) and this new series has African-American war vet superhero Sam Wilson in the drivers seat making his own political statements. Good.

Cyborg #4 (DC Comics) – The surprise hit comic full of socially aware sci-fi. Can Vic make peace with the people who KILLED him? Why does society always expect black men to make piece with their oppressors? Also, the highly silver-age and adorable Metal Men showed up last issue.

Island #4 (Image Comics) – Out there art. Multiple Warheads. A new story about a city kid with wings that kinda made me cry.

 

Kenny

Top Pick: Colder: Toss the Bones #2 (Dark Horse Comics) – I don’t like scary things but, this comic is so good I keep coming back to it. The psychological horror of Nimble Jack keeps has me peeking through my blanket to see what he’s going to do next. If you like horror, this is one of the better comics out today.

Justice League: Darkseid War Batman #1 (DC Comics) – I’m not normally a fan of spin-offs for large crossover events like the Darkseid War. But, I’ve enjoyed the main series a lot and Batman as the god of knowledge is a concept I am really excited to see fully play out.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 (Marvel) – There is no real logic behind why I am excited for the new Squirrel Girl comic. It could be it’s very self aware cover claiming this is only it’s second #1 so far this year (well played Marvel), or it could be that I am excited to take a flyer on a quirky and fun looking new story. Sometimes, the latter is all you need.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Justice League: Darkseid War Batman #1 (DC Comics) – The true itteration of the almighty Bat-God is here. I couldn’t be more pumped for this. An all knowing and stubborn Batman on Metron’s chair. I think I just squeaked. Hopefully we get good use of the ultimate knowledge and maybe even the Joker’s real name. Just coolness x2.

Batman and Robin Eternal #4 (DC Comics) – Hoping this is the week we get an answer to that cliffhanger bomb from issue #1. At the very least I want to see bearded Bruce Wayne kick some ass. I know it’s going to be a slow burn for this epic but I want some good stuff on the plate now.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #51 (IDW Publishing) – New era. New Direction. What awaits our half-shelled heroes going forward? Well I can’t wait to find out. Gonna read this one with a hot pie!

 

 

Prez, Smart Satire or has the 2016 Election Sunk that Low?

Today we have a guest post from Shaun Richman, a union organizer from Staten Island, NY. You can follow him more at his website or on Twitter.

Prez 1 CoverI can’t tell if Prez is a smart satire, or if American politics are so dumb that the 2016 campaign trail can be so effortlessly lampooned by a comic book. The limited series reboot of an obscure 1970’s title began publishing in June. Its first four issues have uncannily predicted a number of summer’s political lowlights. Penned by Mark Russell, the DC Comics book details the rise of a 19-year-old fry cook from Oregon, Beth Ross, to become the first teen president of the United States, through a combination of botched legislative manipulation, viral social media and voter revulsion against politics as usual.

In 2036, the media are dominated by the 24-second news cycle and embedded corporate sponsorships. Crossfire-style talking head debate shows feature real time thumbs-up/thumbs-down viewer polls with “winners” thusly declared. Voter turnout in actual elections got so embarrassingly low that the law was changed to count tweets and Likes as actual votes. Corporate interests have enshrined the logic of the Citizen’s United decision into a “Corporate Citizenship” constitutional amendment that had the side-effect of eradicating age requirements for political office. CEO’s wear hologromatic likenesses of their corporate logos when standing in for their corporations’ personhood. Corporations, declares the big yellow smiley-faced CEO, “aren’t players in this game. We are the game.”

taco-drone-panels-from-Prez-1-DC-Comics-2015Unfortunately for them, the game does require likeable personalities to win votes. But the most likeable – and most beholden – of the potential candidates are sidelined by scandals caused by their youthful indiscretions having been self-documented on Vine and Grindr. The two very boring candidates representing – eh, whatever respective parties they’re representing – run a humiliating gauntlet of YouTube talk shows, pranks and physical endurance tests.

It is here that our hero rises to the occasion…by cleaning the grill at her job for a training video. Her hair gets caught in the deep fryer, and her yokel co-workers post the video on Youtube. “Corndog girl” becomes a viral sensation. The “Anonymous” hacker collective (Glad those guys kept the band together) enter Beth “Corndog Girl” Ross into the presidential race. She trends and surges and…wins Ohio (Good to know the voters of Ohio 21 years hence have retained the sense of humor that gave us two terms of Jon Kasich as governor). The Electoral College is deadlocked and the election gets thrown to the House.

Prez02In the House, things go haywire as states trade their delegations’ votes for pork barrel promises (Colorado gets a naval base! Everyone gets a NASA!) and switch their votes to Ross to extract more goodies…except everyone miscounted and she accidentally wins a majority of the states, at which point she is promptly whisked away to prevent her immediate assassination.

The satire of Prez is awfully broad. Mark Russell dissects the targets of his scorn with a meat cleaver where a scalpel might have sufficed. Patients whose health insurance can guarantee them a hospice bed, but not life-saving treatment, are treated by a labor-saving animatronic “end-of-life- care bear.” The debate over whether food stamps recipients can be trusted to make “responsible” choices results in a federal contract for a Taco Bell stand-in to deliver tacos by drone to the poor. Perhaps this satire needs to be so blunt because it might not take until 2036 for these “solutions” to be debated on Fox News.

The comic has been oddly prescient at times. It’s hard to imagine that the idea of debates being settled via social media was the stuff of science fiction in June. Already, we have seen no less than four mainstream presidential candidates drop out of the race because their debate performance did not attract the attention of the Internet. Not one vote has been cast in a primary and yet four campaigns are over because the Internet yawned!

PREZ-3-3-f7e7b-932x1433Russell’s coup de grace, however, came with the third issue of Prez, where the smiley-faced CEO (NOT a stand-in for Wal-Mart as it turns out!) parachutes in to his hellhole of a warehouse to deliver a “rock star” pep talk to his miserable human drones. The publication of this issue eerily coincided with the New York Times’ devastating profile of Jeff Bezos time-management sweatshops at Amazon. “Every time a fulfillment comes in a few seconds late,” the smiley-faced CEO hectors his employees, “YOU ARE LITERALLY STEALING THE LIFE FORCE OF OUR CUSTOMERS!” And then of course he’s helicoptered away while that theme song of tone deaf politicians everywhere, “Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World,” plays him out. Of course, Donald Trump was this year’s ignoramus to pump his crowd with Neil Young’s ode to “death and crack babies.” Prez’s Bezos stand-in is, at least, is a lyrics guy. “What’s with that exit music?” he demands of a subordinate. “You ever listen to that song?”

That is either very well anticipated by Russell, or else such a piece of luck that, either way, should be rewarded by your reading this comic. The only real misstep has been the understandable assumption that the political parties of 2036 would strain for “boringness” the way that the Bush and Gore candidacies of 2000 did. Who knew that reality television and Twitter would so radically alter candidates’ performances so quickly? Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders relish their media appearances the way that Randy “The Macho Man” Savage relished his interviews with “Mean” Jean Okerlund before a wrestling match. Political campaigning will never be the same.

Beth Ross only just got inaugurated, which means that Prez is about to face the challenge of moving from criticizing the system to proposing solutions. This is where things can really go off the rails for the series. I, for one, will be disappointed with anything less than an agenda for “FULL COMMUNISM!” But this series is clever, relevant and wholly unexpected from DC Comics. It deserves more attention.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Captain_America_White_1_CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

The Paypacks #1 (Dark Horse) – A hilarious new entry into the superhero genre. How do heroes get all of those wonderful tools? They need to get them from somewhere right? What happens when they fall behind in payments for them? This is the group tasked with getting those items back. And holy shit is it amazing.

D4ve2 #1 (IDW Publishing) – The second volume to the amazing digital series. It’s a year after the events of the first volume, and another ship shows up. The first volume was fantastic, I’d expect the second to be the same.

Jem and the Holograms #7 (IDW Publishing) – Jerrica and her sisters face their biggest threat yet—success! This sounds really interesting, and helps I love the series in general, which helps.

Prez #4 (DC Comics) – DC Comics’ series about a teenage girl elected President is winding up to be rather prophetic. I now want to read about this future election/political series, to see what’s going to happen in the real world.

Princeless: Raven, the Pirate Princess #3 (Action Lab Entertainment) – Raven has part of their crew, now she just needs the rest. This series has more to say in just a few of its panels than most do their entire run. An entertaining comic series that has something to say too.

 

Elana

Constantine the Hellblazer #4 (DC Comics) – Johncon is about to go on a “magical bender” through London. This is going to hurt so good. His particular brand of self obsession mixed with self loathing may not make for a good friend in real life but he is a lot of fun to spend time with on the page. Easily one of DC comic’s best books.

The Fade Out #9 (Image Comics) – Something huge is about to happen in my favorite LA noir series. Gil, the blacklisted screenwriter is about to blow up a Hollywood cover-up centered around a powerful man who sexually assaults women. At least, that’s what I THINK is about to happen. This story is a mystery after all and so far nothing has been as simple as all that.

Island #3 (Image Comics) – The art is out of this world— the first story in this issue is absolutely museum worthy art. I think if you skim this issue you’ll know if it’s right for you. A range of kinds of stories and different kinds of art and nothing in here feels cliched. Some of it can be challenging to process and that’s the point. This new comics magazine pushes at all the boundaries in the medium.

Lumberjanes #18 (BOOM! Box/BOOM! Studios) – New creative team and a new story arc start for our favorite girls at the badass feminist summer camp of your dreams. The original team won an Eisner. Let’s see what this new crew can do.

No Mercy TP Vol. 1 (Image Comics) – Take a bus load of college bound kids getting ready to go on one of those “building schools and posing for photos with brown people” trips to Central America. And then push the bus off a cliff. There is nothing else like No Mercy. It is brutal and human and completely unpredictable. It’s totally outside the conventions of standard comics between its unique, sensitive art, diverse cast and unclear genre alignment. A good choice for comics unbelievers too.

Rat Queens #12 (Image Comics) – The D&D adventuring party you wished you rolled with. Great art. Feminist fun.

 

Kenny

Top Pick: Usagi Yojimbo #148 (Dark Horse)I have been a longtime fan of the wandering ronin Myamoto Usagi and, whether he is in the midst of a multi-arc epic or a single issue, Stan Sakai always delivers a masterpiece.

Bizarro #4 (DC Comics) There are a lot of serious comics out in the world right now and sometimes you have to break that up with a little fun. And that is exactly what Bizarro is. Simply put, this comic puts a smile on my face and that is more than enough reason to check it out.

Captain America: White #1 (Marvel Comics)My picks are very heavily creator influenced this week and this selection is no different. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale have been a favorite tandem of mine for a while and seeing the two back at it is all the motivation I need to be excited for this comic.

Secret Six #6 (DC Comics)The first iteration of the Secret Six is probably my favorite comic series ever. Yes, I said it. And, while the initially relaunch started slowly, it seems Gail Simone and our favorite gang of psychos is finally getting back to the beautiful brand of lunacy that I love them for.

 

Mr. H

Captain America: White #1 (Marvel Comics) – The amazing team of Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb back again! I have not been disappointed by them in any previous endeavor thus far and no reason to believe it to happen here. Things are sure to be excelsior True Readers!

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Cyborg #2 CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: Cyborg #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue of the series was a fantastic start, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the second. Writer David Walker seems to have addresses a lot of past issues with the character in the first issue, while also setting him on an interesting course too. This is a comic I keep checking the release schedule to see if it’s out, that’s how much I want to read it.

Prez #3 (DC Comics) – The first two issues have had me laughing, and they’re turning out to be really prescient when it comes to the future of politics and elections. Not sure if I should keep laughing or be really scared.

Princeless: Be Yourself #3 (Action Lab Entertainment) – Writer Jeremy Whitley nails it issue after issue, in this series which is so far ahead the rest of the comic industry as far as characters and themes. Girl power!

Snowden (Seven Stories Press) – Ted Rall chronicles the history of Edward Snowden and the NSA leak.

Zodiac Starforce #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – A new girl power comic that feels like a mix of Sailor Moon, Jem, and a lot of other series that are just awesome. This was an indie comic, and got picked up by Dark Horse, so it’s fun to see it also go from a small press comic to a full blown one. The first issue is all set-up and pretty entertaining.

 

Alex

Hank Johnson: Agent Of Hydra #1 (Marvel) – The preview pages j have seen of this comic looks absolutely fantastic. The idea of the behind the scenes look at the regular lives of some of henchmen in the worlds premier villainous organisation is really intriguing, and I’m sure there’ll be some interesting. Guest stars.

Old Man Logan #4 (Marvel) – I hadn’t realized just how much I missed reading about Wolverine until this series came out. Whilst I’m glad he hasn’t been resurrected for no reason, it’s nice to get some more time with one of the more interesting incarnations of Wolverine, too.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Hacktivist Vol 2 #2 (Archaia/BOOM! Studios) – The sequel series opened on a high note, and it looks like it will maintain the same tempo.

Batgirl #43 (DC Comics) – A new story arc for this standout series. Not much seems capable of stopping the momentum of this series.

He-Man: Eternity War #9 (DC Comics) – Every issue leads to a bigger turn of the plot. No idea what is coming this time, but it will be big again.

Mulan Revelations #3 (Dark Horse) – The first two issues have been heavy on style and a bit lighter on substance, but the concept is so cool that it deserves a chance to get settled.

Star Wars: Lando #3 (Marvel) – This series has been non-stop fun, proving that Lando should never have been a secondary character.

 

Elana

Top Pick: NEXT Wave: Collected Edition (Marvel) – The hilarious, highly political superhero team satire series featuring Monica Rambeau (formerly Photon or Capt Marvel) is out in a nice complete collection. The biting commentary and creativity of this series is renowned. From dream team Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen.

Cyborg #2 (DC Comics) – This series is already a standout for having unusually astute analysis of blackness and also about disability. It develops Victor Stone aka Cyborg as a fascinating hero in his own right and as far as I can see it even resolved some of the previously problematic aspects of the character: (read about those problems in Robert Jones Jr’s essential essay “Humanity Not a Included“). I’m ecstatic to have an African-American writer on this title. David Walker’s story is potent scifi that works on metaphorical level and well as on a narrative level. He references Invisible Man– which has needed to happen in a Cyborg story for decades. It’s a can’t-miss series.

Grayson #11 (DC Comics) – In this issue Grayson fights himself. Or someone pretending to be him. I love Huntress in this series acting as his spy master. I totally respect this comic’s dedication to a female and queer male readership that too many series ignore.

Lumberjanes #17 (BOOM! Box/BOOM! Studios) – New story arc featuring our favorite feminist summer camp adventurers. Please get your kids reading this book. It’s groundbreaking and fun and fabulous. And read it yourself for swells of nostalgia for a relatable yet fantastical children’s story that I wish I’d had when I was little.

Review: Prez #2

Prez #2With the election in chaos and a Congress mired in corruption, Twitter sensation @corndoggirl becomes the first teenaged President of the United States!

I really liked the first issue of Prez. I officially fell in love with the series reading the second. Writer Mark Russell has put out a comic that had me laughing throughout by depicting a political reality that’s so ludicrous, but at the same time there’s a touch of reality. Russell is brutal in his satire, taking us on a whirlwind tour of political maneuvering where all of the elected officials are just looking for a handout, and none of them are too bright.

It’s post-election and the vote has moved to Congress, so there’s all sorts of jockeying to try to get their (piss poor) candidate elected. How that all goes down is just too funny, and had me laughing (seriously most of the issue had me laughing).

Artist Ben Caldwell adds so much detail that you’ll linger on each page seeing what he’s added. The jokes are as much visual as they are written, and they’re seriously funny. There’s an almost cartoonish quality to the art that gives it a manic/chaotic vibe. That’s a good thing as it ups the fun of the series.

With a real Presidential election going on that seems more and more like the world Russell is depicting, you have to wonder is he actually writing thoughtful satire, or is he just ahead of the times? A great read for those who care even a little about the political world around them.

Story: Mark Russell Art: Ben Caldwell
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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