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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Everybody Knows Obama First Appeared in ROM Spaceknight #53

Posted by on Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 3:44 PM

savage-dragon-barack-obama.jpgSavage Dragon cartoonist Erik Larsen is claiming that Marvel Comics ripped him off by having Spider-Man meet Obama. The point he takes most issue with is the fact that the Spider-Man comic was released with two separate covers, one featuring Obama and one not. Larsen says that's a direct steal from his earlier idea, as featured in his Savage Dragon comic in the summer of 2008.


And I know what they’re saying when they’re called on it—”Presidents have appeared in comics before” and “Erik didn’t create Barack Obama” and blah, blah, blah.

The thing that Marvel is attempting to do is to frame the argument. To say “we’ve featured presidents in the past—this is what we do—it’s part of a pattern.” But that’s a false argument. The “stunt” was an alternate cover featuring Obama— which was something no publisher had done with any president in the past and one that received a lot of press when I did it. If Marvel had done alternate covers with Bush and Clinton or any of the others— they could legitimately claim that they were following a pattern and doing what they’ve done in the past— but that wasn’t the case. And theirs is not simply the appearance of a president in a comic book but one on an alternate cover— and one concocted to try and get some of the same attention that got. I did not create Obama— I did, however, have a character endorse him, long before he was elected while Marvel played footsie with Stephen Colbert— a joke candidate*.

youngblood08_obama.jpgI don't know if Larsen has a leg to stand on here, but I do have to back him up with the fact that it was a gutsy thing to have his character endorse Obama. That's something no corporate superhero comic would ever do, especially since comics is a much more conservative world than, say, the music scene. And I swear to God this is the most often a black man has appeared on the cover of a superhero comic since they canceled Power Man & Iron Fist back in the 80s.

But recent news that Obama will be appearing in an upcoming issue of renowned swipe artist Rob Liefeld's comic book Youngblood means that the whole trend is dead anyway.

*Larsen is here referring to the fact that Marvel had Stephen Colbert run for president in Marvel Comics, a publicity stunt so lame I refused to mention it on Slog.


Comments (13) RSS

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Go Obama.

He's all we got right now.
Posted by Republican Liking Obama on January 15, 2009 at 4:04 PM · Report this
Ummm Cloak from Cloak and Dagger was black, of course he only appeared on the cover with the dumb blond white chick (Dagger).

Also Captain Marvel was a black woman for a while in the 80's.
Posted by Dingo Rossi on January 15, 2009 at 4:20 PM · Report this
All of these black men had their own titles:
Green Lantern, Falcon, Black Panther, Blade, Iron Man/War Machine, Bishop, Night Thrasher, Iron...

While not a black male:
Let's not forget about Storm, probably the most popular black character (maybe even female character) in the Marvel universe?

While I agree that comics aren't traditionally the most racially diverse arena, it has not lacked for strong black characters in at least two decades.
Posted by qwerty on January 15, 2009 at 4:33 PM · Report this
The likeness on Youngblood is very strange. I'm not sure what he's doing wrong, but it's creepy.
Posted by The CHZA on January 15, 2009 at 4:53 PM · Report this
It's because his ears are too small, and he's making a facial expression nobody would ever make.
Posted by Chris in Tampa on January 15, 2009 at 5:02 PM · Report this
@4: Maybe a little Richard Corben/DEN in the woodpile?
Posted by rob on January 15, 2009 at 5:15 PM · Report this
Nerd Wars
Posted by Had to on January 15, 2009 at 5:34 PM · Report this
I wonder if Liefeld will give Obama a dozen different pouches all over his suit?

@4 - Don't worry! They way Liefeld draws, at least one of panels with Obama will look good, but he might be missing fingers or a hand in almost all of them.
Posted by Soupytwist on January 15, 2009 at 7:27 PM · Report this
Eric Larsen, calm down. You're probably just freaked because the economy is crashing and all you've got is SD and Image (does he still have Image, I don't even know anymore).

I'll bet he's fondly remembering the old days where Spawn ruled and he was sitting nice and cushy.

Why is it a big deal? Marvel now (who is known for peddling BIG BANG series/issues/lines for dough .. he mentions that Colbert bullshit) needs to sell some comics ($$) and Larsen then wanted to endorse a candidate (small town moral) which probably had an impact on about 150 people (sorry Eric, I am one of the 150 people, I swear). He's still reaching those same 150 with this ... everyone is making a buck off of Obama these days what with the pop culture and the money and the kids and the cool.

Two different reasons with two different audiences with two different outcomes. Its that simple. It isn't an issue of stealing its a question of, 'what, why?'
Posted by carissa on January 15, 2009 at 9:07 PM · Report this
Just reading Rob Liefield's name makes my skin crawl. ugh ugh ugh. Why are people still paying him to draw?
Posted by Kristi in Kitsap on January 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM · Report this
Here's a Bush comic…

Okay, I know, not very original.
Posted by Rob on January 16, 2009 at 4:54 AM · Report this
I would make large bets that Liefeld won't draw Obama's feet and avoid drawing his hands. Liefeld always avoids drawing feet. They're his kryptonite.
Posted by RobotRevolution on January 16, 2009 at 7:41 AM · Report this
I would like to add that Larsen is super nice to fans, even if he holds his pens super weird.
Posted by Soupytwist on January 16, 2009 at 11:26 AM · Report this

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