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5 Best Real Life Comic Book Presidents
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The fate of the world is always on the shoulders of superheroes, and they constantly face issues of responsibility, freedom, and power. So it makes sense that they often deal with the people who face those same issues every day—American presidents.

For Presidents’ Day, we look at the real-life presidents with the best appearances in superhero comics—or who have become superheroes themselves (here’s to you, Barack the Barbarian!).

#5 Franklin D. Roosevelt

FDR was a busy man. He was elected to four terms as President. He created the New Deal and the Works Progress Administration. He created Social Security. He created the Securities and Exchange Commission. And he created the Justice League. He’s had more of a mixed record in the Marvel universe, where a zombified version of the 32nd President returned from the dead and went on a rampage, facing off against Deadpool.

#4 Ronald Reagan

Reagan was in many ways a president made for comics: a photogenic former actor with a clear-cut sense of good and evil. Reagan had an action-packed 1980s, and his Soviet problem was nothing on his Darkseid problem. With Darkseid’s monster Brimstone ravaging the nation in DC’s 1986 Legends crossover, Reagan was manipulated into outlawing superhero activity—a decision the upstanding Superman respected, even if many others didn’t.

Reagan survived a real assassination attempt in 1981 and a second one on the page—in Batman: Ten Nights of the Beast, the cybernetically-armored KGBeast was let loose in Gotham to kill highly-ranked U.S. officials. That time, at least, Batman was on hand.

#3 John F. Kennedy

JFK didn’t just appear in comics: he commissioned them. Anxious about America’s expanding waistlines and slovenly habits, he formed the President’s Council on Physical Fitness soon after taking office. The task of getting America fit was so daunting that JFK asked for help from an unusual source—Superman.

In 1963 the Kennedy Administration partnered with DC Comics to create a story featuring Superman, “to help inspire the nation to exercise, eat better, and get stronger,” according to his Presidential Library. The project was shelved after JFK’s assassination, and was later published as a tribute to him on the orders of President Lyndon Johnson.

Also, JFK knew Superman’s secret identity.

5 Best Real Life Comic Book Presidents
Photo from JFK Presidential Library

#2 Barack Obama

Since his election in 2008, Obama has been a fixture in comics. Most famously, Obama met Spider-Man just before his inauguration in 2009 (or should that be the other way around?) even appearing on a variant cover of Amazing Spider-Man #583. Spidey was considerate enough to stop the Chameleon from taking the oath of office in Obama’s stead. Since then, Obama has had cameos with everyone from the Justice League to Captain America.

The 44th President also rates highly for another reason: reportedly, he’s a comics fan himself, with Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian being particular favorites. That was the inspiration behind Barack the Barbarian, a mini-series in which an absurdly muscular Obama battles Red Sarah (Palin), the Old Warrior, a.k.a. John McCain, and Dick Cheney as Cha-nee the Grim, to defend Hope Kingdom.

And all that is before we even get to the manga. Oh, the manga.

#1 Richard Nixon

Unmistakable features. A Machiavellian intelligence coupled with a paranoid streak. Nixon practically scripted himself, even before the great Alan Moore got hold of him.

In Watchmen, of course, Nixon is on his fourth term after using superheroes to win the Vietnam War, and Moore’s vision of Nixon in an America sliding towards nuclear war remains compelling. Outside that, he’s been a shapeshifting Skrull, another zombie President fought by Deadpool, supervisor of the Fantastic Four and the Hulk. He even got a comic book gig for Spiro Agnew.

Biowars has featured a Senator, though not yet a President—but who knows? It’s obvious there are conspiracies going on in high places.


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