Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Monday, May 02, 2005

"Mister President, You're All...Scaly!"

For no other reason than it’s Monday, here are three great appearances by real-life political figures in super-hero comics.

Henry Kissinger Punches Out Cavemen

In Super-Team Family Giant #8 (Dec/Jan 1976-1977), Henry Kissinger’s plane, en route to unspecified peace talks, goes missing in the Bermuda Triangle.

(In this story, the Bermuda Triangle was called the “Devil’s Triangle.” So it wouldn’t sue, I guess. Presumably, DC wasn’t as worried about ol’ Henry suing.)

President Ford declares that Big Kissy needs to be rescued, and only one group can do it. He calls upon the Challengers of the Unknown!

The Challengers: Ace, the Pilot Guy! Red, the Mountain Climber Guy! Prof, the Smart Guy! Rocky, the Big Strong Guy! June, the Token Woman Guy!

Since it’s the Seventies, the Bermuda Triangle is actually a time-warp. (During that decade, "Bermuda Triangle = Time Warp" was as regular a part of popular culture as "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" and Archie Bunker.) The Challengers' plane gets sucked into the time warp, and the team ends up on the same “Lost Island” that trapped Henry. The Lost Island is filled with dinosaurs, cave men, Mongol warriors…you know, the usual Lost Island crowd.

The Challengers find Hank and bust free. Kissinger takes a dude out by smacking him mightily with his briefcase. The Challs and Henry escape.

Deeply weird.

Ronald Reagan: Cold Hearted Snake

Reagan turned up in comics a great deal. For example, he was a semi-regular in the early days of the Suicide Squad. But this was his finest moment.

The villain Viper and her Serpent Society tainted the Washington DC water supply in Captain America #344. Folks drinking the water would slowly mutate into snake-people.

(God, I love comics.)

Captain America saves the day and thwarts the Viper’s schemes, though not before fighting a highly-mutated Ronald Reagan.

Yes, Captain America fought Ronald Reagan, Mutant Snake Man.

Now that’s good comics.

Emperor Nixon

The story they would never, ever dare write today.

In 1974, Captain America battled against an evil organization named the Secret Empire. At the same time, Cap found himself opposed by a smear campaign against him masterminded by "the Committee to Regain America’s Principles."* The committee proved to be a part of the Empire’s plot against the Captain, of course. The Empire was, as you'd expect, out to seize control of the United States and turn it into a despotism.

For several issues, Captain America fought the Secret Empire. Finally, in issue #175 (July 1974), he won. He smashed the organization and unmasked its leader:

The President of the United States, Richard Milhous Nixon.**

Upon capture, Richard Nixon killed himself in front of the Captain. The White House replaced him with a lookalike, who “resigned” shortly thereafter.

Thus, Marvel Comics gives us the secret history of Watergate.

Captain America, disgusted by what had become of his country, quit his superhero identity and left his own comic.

(Comics being what they are, he came back eventually.)

*The Committee to Regain America’s Principles (CRAP) was headed by a man named "Harderman." I know funny. And that’s funny. Harderman even looked like ol' H.R.

**Nixon’s isn’t named or shown explicitly, it’s clear from context that the supervillain was the Big Dick himself. The writer, Steve Englehart, has said as much.


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