Q & A 15: What character from comic books would you like to see as President of the United States?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

What character from comic books would you like to see as President of the United States?

Anika

In 2004 John Kerry was criticized for being too intellectual. In 2008 Barack Obama was likewise disapproved of. [Disclaimer: I am extremely liberal and I would not have voted for George W. Bush (either time) if someone paid me $100,000.] I do not understand this argument. See, the number one thing I want out of a president is someone who is intelligent. I don’t want to go drinking with or to the barbeque with my president. I don’t want someone to be my buddy. I want my president to be presidential. But setting even that aside, it’s really very simple: I want my president to be smarter than me and in fact smarter than everyone I know. I want the intellectual.

In comics, this one criterion gives us a number of options. Unfortunately all the intellectuals are also, to put it bluntly, insane. Reed Richards would drive the country into the ground in a week (with all the very best of intentions); Bruce Wayne’s ideals would get my vote but his mental instability makes me pause; Bruce Banner would be a good president but we wouldn’t like him when he’s angry; Norman Osborn and Lex Luthor are, well, EVIL, and Tony Stark, though pro-regulation, is too much of a capitalist Republican for me. This leaves me with two options.

Sue Storm, whose only significant failing is her determination to stand by her man.

And Barack Obama.

Caroline

This is kind of a no-brainer since I’ve already talked about my love for Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris’s great political comic Ex Machina. Mitchell Hundred, the book’s civil engineer turned superhero turned Mayor of New York is one of my favorite fictional characters, and he is canonically considering a run at the presidency. And I really would vote for the guy, and not just in a “well, he’s better than Lex Luthor or Norman Osborn” kind of way. Hundred is the kind of leader who gets things done. Explaining his approach to governance to a more idealistic deputy mayor, Hundred says, “I’m not a liberal or a conservative. Engineers are taught to care about facts, not ideology.”

In most comics, that kind of statement would probably mark Hundred as a cold-hearted bastard who needs to be taught a lesson. But in Ex Machina, it really means that he’s a politician focused on accomplishing things that matter, and finding the best way to accomplish them. Re-reading the first volume of the series last night, I realized that I’d heard an accidental echo of Hundred’s credo in President Obama’s address earlier that day: “The question we now ask of government is not if it is too big or too small, but if it works.” It’s the right message for our time, and one that has resonance beyond the world of comics.

If I had a second choice, though, it would totally be Cable.

Jennifer

I know what everyone is expecting me to say. After all, my favorite superhero is the most patriotic of them all, the symbol of everything that’s good about America. As President, he would make decisions I would agree with, and inspire hope in everyone across the land. Heck, I even have the campaign t-shirt.

But I don’t really want Captain America to be President, for much the same reason that he himself turned down a potential nomination in issue #250 of his comic. Captain America needs to do the job he’s already doing (or would be, were he alive): using his fighting skills to keep our world safe while simultaneously inspiring us with his ideals. When my friends and I discuss fictional presidents we would vote for, I always argue, passionately, against the choice of Harrison Ford, because Harrison Ford can’t be wasting his time signing bills and talking with advisers and posing for photo-ops. He needs to be out there beating people up. He needs to be the Secretary of Ass-Kicking. And so (in a slightly more polite way) does Cap. I don’t want Captain America as my President. I want him to beat up the bad guys, and save the world.

So who do I want as President instead? I want someone smart and idealistic, someone who has witnessed oppression and hardship firsthand and risen above it. I want someone willing to fight the good fight, but also willing to look at options that don’t include throwing punches. I want someone with an iron will and clever ideas, someone with the capacity for diplomacy and the purest, most determiend desire to help the world. And I want someone with the power to avoid the piercing of any potential bullet, because, as a Jewish female mutant, she’ be a big, and potentially controversial, change from the status quo.

In case it isn’t already obvious, I’m talking about the woman Chris Claremont wisely placed in the Oval Office, in his X-Men: The End: the one and only Kitty Pryde.

Come on. Tell me you wouldn’t vote for her.

Sigrid

I have a great deal of trouble with this question because fictional characters are frequently tragically-flawed. It’s part of the story, obviously. And, do I want a President who is tragically flawed? Um, no. But Presidents are also . . . well, we hope they are not too flawed, of course, but think about it — it takes a certain sort of character to even want to be President, let alone survive what one has to do to get there. Maybe those traits aren’t flaws, but they aren’t precisely normal, run-of-the-mill, either. So perhaps I should be looking for fictional characters who are flawed in the right ways.

Who, then, has the burning motivation, the ability to hold their tongue when necessary, the ability to lie down with strange bedfellows, the raw need to change the world, the hubris to think that they are the person to do it? And not stone-damn-crazy? I mean, Magneto would make a great President. Some of the time, and excepting his pesky methods problem. The Scarlet Witch has the hubris and the need. Tony Stark has the vision and the intellect. Beast has the intellect but not the drive or vision. Cannonball has the strength of character but not the hubris. I can only think of one person. She would need advisors, because she doesn’t know much about running a country. And I’m certain in my bones that she would die in office. But one character I love (that wasn’t already claimed by another Fangirl in this post) has proven to have the arrogance, thoughtfulness, charisma, and strength of will to lead.
Jean Grey.

  • Dan

    You all *know* I’d vote for Kitty. Heck, I’d be her campaign manager…her Leo McGarry!

    I’d even suggest Bruce Wayne. Sure, he might be smug, arrogant, and paranoid, but he’s also one of the smartest men on the planet. And, you can’t argue that he’s driven.

  • I… have no idea. I feel as though I should say Ollie Queen, because overall I do agree with his politics (not the way he generally goes about expressing them, but that’s another issue. And not when he’s just being used as ‘token liberal guy’) but he’d probably just manage to start a World War or hit on someone totally inappropriate and things would be bad.

    I would say Wonder Woman but a) I’m pretty sure she’s ineligible and b) Jen makes some good points about the fact that there should be a secretary of ass-kicking position.

    Therefore, my answer is Barbara Gordon. She’s brilliant, she knows how to do the things that need to be done, and she probably knows enough of the dirty secrets that she can just bully congress to do what she wants.

    (Although her spying on people without warrants thing could be a problem.)

  • Caroline

    Jen, my favorite part of your answer is that you don’t even allow the possibility that someone besides Steve Rogers could be considered to be “Captain America”. Not that I’d want Bucky to be president either. . .

    And Jean would die in office but she’d totally be alive by midterms. Why do I want Warren Worthington to be her chief of staff? Can I have that AU?

    Sue Storm may actually be my favorite answer on here. She just needs to ditch the deadweight.

  • @Caroline Seriously, I would totally read a Marvel West Wing book. For real. It would be *amazing*

  • I think I agree with Dan when he says Babs for President.

    But excuse me for a minute when I do my Canadian thing, and say that in my country we’d have Reed leading one party (the Grits), Tony leading the other (the Tories), and Ollie leading the first of the 2 fringe parties(Yes, Oliver Queen, though he means well, would be Jack Layton and be in charge of the party that splits the vote.) Pamela Isley would run the green party, but because they have no seats, so she’s not allowed to argue with the boys.

    Personally, I think comic characters are more suited to a parliamentary system because it involves (in theory) more team work and cooperation. But most importantly, we can’t trust any one person with the fate of the country. which works well when you consider the basic flaws each character has.

  • Dan

    @Jenn Babs was Margot’s idea, but I agree with the suggestion. If I can’t have Kitty, I’ll take Babs.

  • This is why you dont attempt to read things on a mobile phone. (though, that makes sense because I was wondering why Margot did not mention Babs.)

  • handyhunter

    @caroline I was going to say Cable, but on second thought, Hundred would be a much better choice.

    “Why do I want Warren Worthington to be her chief of staff?”

    Because if Jean is Jed Bartlet, then Warren is Leo, and Scott is Abby. OT3!

    …Does that mean Logan is Lord John Marbury?

  • Cash

    I’m with Margot and Jenn, except that I think Babs would be a better behind-the-scenes operator. (And yes, the domestic surveillance news I’m hearing today is giving me a bit of pause, too.)

    We need someone as brilliant as Babs, but who’d be good in a public position, and who’s not needed so badly in his/her current position that moving to the White House would cause problems. I’d thus figure that a world-saving superhero is really the best option.

    So I’ll say Matt Murdock. Brilliant legal mind, tough on crime, knows the workings of business (legitimate and otherwise), son of a boxer, hardscrabble upbringing…. If not for the occasional frame-up/public revelations of his DDness, he’d be the perfect candidate. And the blindness might even generate a sympathy vote.

    The Catholic thing might scare a few people, admittedly, but screw ’em.

    Another plus: whether his first lady is Natasha or Elektra, she does NOT need a Secret Service detail.

  • Anika

    @all for Babs — I almost mentioned her w/Sue but see…I don’t think anyone who came out of Batman should be president. The Batverse is just too MUCH for me. I love them, but they are all crazy. Even Alfred.

    Lucius Fox maybe. Especially as played by Morgan Freeman.

  • @Anika Morgan Freeman is my favorite fictional president. He’s usually who I’m arguing for when my friends pick Harrison Ford. I loved him in Deep Impact.

    @Margot, et. al. I would definitely be all for President Babs, but I do think the spying thing would get a little creepy. Bats have weird ideas about law and order that are a bit too intense for my liking.

    @Caroline There are no other Captain Americas. Shush. 😉

  • @everyone I feel the need to point out that Babs was briefly a Congresswoman, so she has experience! But her spying thing is really troubling. (She could always be CIA director instead!)

    While I’m making up my mental white house, I want Helena to be Secretary of Education.

    @handyhunter the image of Logan as Lord John Marbury is now my favorite thing ever.

  • Julia

    @Margot Can you imagine security briefings with Babs as president?

  • Dan

    I’d think Warren would be either Jean’s C.J. or Sam. And Bobby would be whoever Warren wasn’t.

    Cable would be her Leo, with Wade as Josh. Logan would be Toby.

    Kitty would be Charlie.

  • Mala

    I think Babs is more the Rahm Emmanuel of any administration. Dinah could be her President.

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