With over six months left until the Presidential election, my news feed is already chock full of politics every hour of every day. As a little distraction from the actual elections, let’s take a look some of the comic book characters who held political office. Just to keep this list on the short side, we’ll only be addressing characters who held office in their mainstream continuity, no elseworlds or “what ifs” or alternate universes here. I mean come on, we gotta have standards, right? However, if you want to do some extra reading, yes, Superman and Captain America are just a few of the characters we could have included if we broadened our scope. But for now, here are some comic characters turned politicos you may or may not have known about.
#5 GREEN ARROW, MAYOR
Fans of the Arrow TV show have watched Oliver Queen run for mayor of Star City most of this season, but in the comics he actually got that job a few years ago. Queen became mayor after the “One Year Later” event and split his time between running Star City and protecting it as Green Arrow. As super hero politicians go, he was pretty good, using his office to put pressure on corrupt businesses and support his Green Arrow persona with the city’s SWAT teams. Eventually, the corrupt chief of police found dirt on Queen and proved he was funding the vigilante super team, The Outsiders, and the scandal eventually drove Ollie out of office.
#4 BATGIRL, CONGRESSWOMAN
Barbara Gordon has been through a lot as Batgirl, including being shot and paralyzed by The Joker which led to her becoming Oracle, and then recently being rebooted into a younger version of herself who overcame her paralysis and became a PhD student… all while still fighting crime.
Before all that, back when she was originally introduced in 1966, she was a librarian. Not long after that, she briefly gave up that career, and being Batgirl, to join the United States Congress. We don’t know much about her time on Capitol Hill, but around that time, she did go on a blind date with Clark Kent. A few years later she’s back fighting crime in Gotham again, so it’s not clear if she served out her full term. Of course all of this happens Pre-Crisis so maybe it never happened. You know, DC is really complicated, folks.
#3 LEX LUTHOR, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Yes, Superman’s arch nemesis, Lex Luthor, did successfully win the Presidency in 2001. His political platform was technological progress and his first act in office was to ban fossil fuels in the United States. Unsurprisingly, he ends up being terribly corrupt, and amongst other things, arranges to have Bruce Wayne’s girlfriend killed over a political dispute. Eventually a bunch of heroes band together to kick him out of office and Lex does what he does best… injects himself with Kryptonite and fights Superman in a robot suit. Then he goes crazy (a side-effect of his superpower cocktail) and admits to a bunch of illegal acts which Batman gets on tape. He is President for less than 3 years. Not bad when you consider William Henry Harrison was President for only 32 days.
Fun Fact: Included in Lex Luthor’s cabinet were Jefferson Grant (aka Black Lightning), Amanda Waller (who you’ll see in Suicide Squad) and Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart’s character on Supergirl)
#2 J. JONAH JAMESON, MAYOR (of New York City)
Over on the Marvel side, we have Daily Bugle editor and Spider-Man photo demander J. Jonah Jameson as Mayor of The Big Apple. He spent a lot of his time in office trying to prove that Spider-Man was a menace and created an Anti-Spider Squad to track him down. Strangely enough, that’s what he did before being elected, too. In a devilishly ironic twist, Jameson eventually realized Spider-Man was a hero exactly when Spidey’s enemy Doctor Octopus had taken over his body. Sadly, before Peter Parker took his body back several months later, JJ had already gone back to hating him. Of course, like almost everybody on this list, Jameson did not serve out his term. He got involved in a scandal involving Spider-Slayers designed to kill Spidey ultimately losing control of them to the Green Goblin, which is a pretty good way to be drummed out of office… and he was, mustache and all. Still longer than Thoman Coman, who was mayor of New York City for five weeks in 1868.
#1 HOWARD THE DUCK, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
Technically Howard the Duck did not hold the office of President in his comics, but he did run for the office as a member of the All-Night Party. This happened at the height of Howard’s popularity and his in-comics campaign actually led to him receiving thousands of write-in votes in the real life election. This sort of shines a new light on Andrew WK’s Party Party, doesn’t it? To this day nobody can be sure what the most unbelievable effect of Howard The Duck’s popularity was: that he got a bunch of write-in votes for President or that they went and made a stinkburger of a movie about him. Remember, this was before Comic Book movies were even a thing.
So, that’s just some of the comics characters who have held political office. At this point, we might just take Howard the Duck over some of the candidates in the current race. No, scratch that, we want J. Jonah Jameson, especially if he’s played by JK Simmons; that man is a national treasure.“Bring me pictures of Spider-Man… and your votes.”
What comics or video game characters would get your vote for President? Let us know in the comments and we’ll see you on Election Day.
Header Image of Captain American as President in the Marvel “Ultimates” Universe Courtesy Marvel Comics
Image Credits: DC Comics and Marvel