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15 Times A U.S. President Showed Up in Marvel Comics

by  in Lists, Comic News Comment
15 Times A U.S. President Showed Up in Marvel Comics

Love him or hate him, as of January 20, 2017 Donald J. Trump has officially become the 45th President of the United States of America. However, what you may not have known is that this will also make President Trump the leader of the Marvel Comics Universe’s America.

RELATED: SALES OF MARCH SOAR AFTER DONALD TRUMP INSULTS JOHN LEWIS

Since the company’s humble beginnings as Timely comics, Marvel has made something of a tradition out of honoring American Presidents by featuring them in their comics. Though their appearances are sometimes little more than cameos or passing topical references, some of our nation’s leaders have been key figures for full issues or even in entire story arcs! Since we’ve just begun a new Presidency, there’s no better time for us to look back at 15 of the times an American President made an appearance in a Marvel comic.

15. DEADPOOL KILLS 31 ZOMBIFIED US PRESIDENTS

Deadpool Kills Zombie Presidents

Back in 2012, as part of their MARVEL NOW initiative, Marvel relaunched Deadpool with a new #1 helmed by the creative team of writers Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, along with artist Tony Moore and colorist Val Staples. The book’s first arc (issues #1-6), appropriately called “Dead Presidents,” finds Deadpool being called in by S.H.I.E.L.D. to fight and kill reanimated versions of 31 US Presidents, spanning from George Washington to Ronald Regan.

Necromancer, a magical former member of S.H.I.E.L.D. with the ability to bring living creatures back to life, decides to reanimate all of the former Presidents of the United States in hopes that their guidance can save America from itself. This plan completely backfires when his magic not only corrupts the former Presidents, but also gives them superpowers. After deciding the best course of action is to destroy the country and start fresh, Deadpool (along with the ghost of Benjamin Franklin) is called in to take them all out and save America. It’s also worth mentioning that 39th President Jimmy Carter also makes an appearance in issue #1, even though he’s still very much alive.

14. FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT CALLS FOR BACK-UP

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Marvel Comics Captain America

The 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt began making appearances in Marvel comics all the way back in 1940 when Marvel was still known as Timely Comics. His first appearance was in issue #10 of Timely’s first series “Marvel Mystery Comics,” a book that featured multiple stories about some of Marvel’s earliest characters like Namor the Sub-Mariner, and the original (robotic) Human Torch.

FDR made his comic debut, in a story penciled by artist Steve Dahlman, that follows Electro (not to be confused with the Spider-Man villain), a Robot created by Professor Philo Zogolowski and funded by the US Government, to fight crime and corruption. When the villainous Cuban scientist Dr. Bruno Varoz develops a synthetic blood formula that allows him to reanimate human corpses, he creates an army of the undead and sends them to attack major American cities. When conventional means fail, President Roosevelt calls in Professor Zog and Electro to deal with Varoz. After defeating his armies and tossing him in a vat of acid, Zogolowski is personally congratulated by FDR for defending his country.

13. HARRY TRUMAN GETS KIDNAPPED

Harry-Truman-Marvel-Comics

In a story by Stan Lee and Mike Sekowsky featured in issue #34 of “Human Torch Comics,” President Harry Truman is kidnapped by a two-dimensional being known as B4, who is the leader of his two-dimensional world of Flatula.

The issue begins with the original Human Torch and his sidekick, Sun Girl, watching a baseball game together, when suddenly the ball flattens and disappears mid-pitch. The game is then interrupted by the breaking news that the President has also vanished while addressing the public. Eventually the Torch figures out what’s going on and the duo travel to Philadelphia in time to see the words on the Declaration of Independence disappear. As the Liberty Bell starts to flatten itself, Human Torch and Sun Girl grab on, transporting themselves to Flatula.

After being captured by the locals and taken to B4, the Torch and Sun Girl are taken to a zoo holding everything stolen from the 3-dimensional world. When the Torch finally Flames on, he discovers that since fire is 3-dimensional, he and Sun Girl are immune to the effects of the flat dimension. They then burn everything between them and the zoo before freeing the captives and returning home with B4 as their prisoner so that the Flatulans can never kidnap anyone again.

12. DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER GETS KIDNAPPED

Dwight-D-Eisenhower-Marvel-Comics

In “What If?” #9, by writer Don Glut and artist Alan Kupperbuerg, Iron Man calls a meeting with Avengers members Captain America, Thor, Vision, and Beast to show them his newest invention, a dimensional viewer. He explains that the device allows them to see a video feed of an alternate Earth where another group of heroes somewhat similar to the five of them also founded a superhero team called The Avengers, albeit in the 1950s.

F.B.I. agent Jimmy Woo recruits Marvel Boy, 3-D Man, Gorilla Man, the Human Robot and the goddess Venus to rescue President Dwight D. Eisenhower from the supervillain Yellow Claw and his Masters of Evil-style team of villains made up of the hero’s individual nemeses. After completing their mission, President Eisenhower disbands the team, believing that learning about super-powered beings like The Avengers would send the public into a panic. The “Avengers” agree and disband until a time when their world needs them again.

11. MERLIN TRIES TO STEAL AMERICA FROM JOHN F. KENNEDY

John-F-Kennedy-JFK-Marvel-Comics

In his last contemporary appearance in a Marvel comic, and just a few short weeks before his assassination, President John F. Kennedy almost has the country stolen right from under him by Merlin the Wizard in “Journey into Mystery” #96, by writers Stan Lee and Robert Bernstein, and artist Joe Sinnott. We learn that Merlin is in fact a mutant who used his powers of telepathy, levitation, and teleportation to fake magic.

Shortly after using his powers to send a missile test off course, Merlin teleports himself to Washington D.C. and storms the White House intending to take control of the country from JFK. Thor and Merlin duke it out on the White House lawn with Merlin using the Washington Monument as a giant spear, and animated the Lincoln Memorial statue with his “magic” for back up. Realizing their powers were pretty evenly matched, Thor decides to throw a Hail Mary and turn back into his old alter ego, Dr. Donald Blake, in an attempt to convince Merlin that he’s a shapeshifter with countless more powerful forms. Merlin buys Thor’s tall tale, so Thor commands him to return to his sarcophagus for another 1,000 years.

10. LYNDON B. JOHNSON PARDONS BRUCE BANNER

Lyndon-B-Johnson-Marvel-Comics

President Lyndon B. Johnson really had his hands full as the President of Marvel’s America. While he was in office S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded, he reunited Nick Fury and the Howling Commandoes, and Kang the Conqueror nearly took over the planet. He was also a fairly prominent figure during a few Hulk storylines back when the character was gracing the pages of “Tales to Astonish.”

In issue #64, written by Leon Lazarus and drawn by Carl Burgos, Bruce Banner finds himself locked up in a government prison after allegedly attempting to steal an invention he created for the army. Bruce is moved to Washington D.C. for a trial, and receives a visit from Rick Jones who tries to convince Bruce to reveal himself as the Hulk. Bruce refuses, believing that exposing himself could put America at risk if their enemies learned who he was and how he got his powers. He remarks that he could only expose his identity to someone who he knew would never let the information get out. This gives Rick the idea to pay a visit to none other than President Lyndon B. Johnson himself. After flashing his official Avengers card, he gets an audience with the President and earns Bruce Banner a pardon.

9. RICHARD NIXON STAGES A COUP

Richard-Nixon-Marvel-Comics

You may know he was also the Commander-in-Chief during Galactus’ assault on Earth, but are you aware that President Richard Nixon also acted as Number One, the leader of the Secret Empire? Originally a satellite organization of HYDRA, by the time Nixon is their leader, the Secret Empire is an independent group seeking to overthrow the American Government by capturing mutants (including notable X-Men like Beast, Angel, and Ice Man) and channeling their powers into a flying saucer-like super-weapon.

In “Captain America” #175, written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Sal Buscema, we see Cap, The Falcon, Cyclops, and Jean Grey (still acting as Marvel Girl) are able to defeat the members of the Secret Empire, but Nixon escapes into the White House before being corned in the Oval Office by Cap. Rather than accepting his capture, Number One removes his mask, revealing his identity to Cap (but not the reader) as a high ranking government official before committing suicide. Though we don’t see Nixon’s face, the implication was so clear that Marvel tried to distance themselves from the story’s connection to the Watergate scandal in the issue’s letters section. However, writer Steve Englehart has since come out and said he absolutely intended Number One to be President Nixon.

8. GERALD FORD IS ALMOST ASSASSINATED

Gerald-Ford-Marvel-Comics

In “Incredible Hulk” #185, by writer Len Wein and artist Herb Trimpe, President Gerald Ford is scheduled to visit the Hulkbuster Base to congratulate Colonel Glenn Talbot on escaping from Russian captivity. It just so happens that Colonel John Armbruster has also captured Bruce Banner, tranquilized him, and locked him up deep beneath the Hulkbuster Base. When President Ford arrives at the base later that day, he’s shown around by Talbot, General “Thunderbolt” Ross, and Ross’ daughter Betty. Ross takes the President down to where Banner is being held to brag about his capture, and Bruce even mocks Ford by calling him Vice-President (Ford was VP until Nixon’s resignation, if you recall).

As the trio shows the President around the base, Armbruster learns from a secret report that Talbot’s “escape” was actually a plot by the Russians, and that the man they believe to be Talbot is in fact a Russian spy with a bomb implanted in his chest who was sent to kill President Ford. Without warning, Armbruster bursts into the room and tackles “Talbot” over the edge of a railing. The spy’s body then explodes, killing both of them in the blast.

7. JIMMY CARTER (AND GERALD FORD) RUN AGAINST HOWARD THE DUCK

Jimmy-Carter-Marvel-Comics-Howard-The-Duck

In the Marvel Universe, the 1976 Presidential race was between incumbent President Gerald Ford, the man who defeated him, President Jimmy Carter, and…Howard the Duck. While working as a security guard for the fringe “All-Night” Party, Howard learns the group’s leader has recently dropped out and they’re looking for a new candidate. After he discovers a bomb’s been placed in the crowd, Howard rushes on stage during the new candidate’s speech and manages to save everyone by sacrificing the event’s giant cake to smother the bomb, and the group immediately names Howard their new candidate.

Despite numerous attempts on his life and disagreements with members of his party, Howard manages to craft a solid platform. He vows to crack down on pollution, cut military spending, give amnesty to draft-dodgers, strive for bipartisanism and improve education. While neither Presidents Carter nor Ford take Howard seriously, he still manages to poll with 30% of Americans saying they’d vote for him (although 48% said they would kill him), before a doctored photo of Howard taking a bath with his sidekick Beverly begins a sex scandal in “Howard the Duck” #8, written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Gene Colan, that quickly ends his Presidential bid.

6. RONALD REGAN FIGHTS CAPTAIN AMERICA

Captain-America-Ronald-Regan-Marvel-Comics

“Captain America” #344, written by Mark Gruenwald and drawn by Kieron Dwyer, tells a story where the supervillain Viper (later known as Madame Hydra) poisons Washington D.C.’s water supply with a mutagenic agent that causes people to hallucinate and turn into “Snake-Men.” President Ronald Regan is one of the many people affected by the toxin, and Steve Rogers (then acting as The Captain) fights him inside the Oval Office.

Ronald Regan strips down to his underwear as he succumbs to the mutagen, gaining scales and super powers. He then attacks Cap, who is forced to evade rather than fight back in order to keep from killing the President. Luckily for both of them, Regan sweats enough during their brawl to work the toxin out of his system, and he quickly loses his scales and returns to his human form. We’re shown that he at least temporarily retains his sharpened canines, but unfortunately Regan’s days as superhuman seem to end here.

5. GEORGE H.W. BUSH HAS PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY

George-H-W-Bush-Marvel-Comics

Our 41st President, George H.W. Bush, makes arguably the least significant appearances of all the Presidents on this list. That being said, he did make a handful of fairly notable cameos in the first volume of “Iron Man” during the late ’80s and early ’90s.

He made his debut in the Marvel Universe in “Iron Man” #247, written by David Michelinie and Bob Layton, who also acted as a penciler for the issue. President Bush briefly appears on television to claim he had no knowledge of collusion between the F.B.I. and the crime syndicate known as the Maggia. He later returned to the book in “Iron Man” #277, by writer John Byrne and artist Paul Ryan, when he’s alerted that hidden missile silos across the Midwest have launched nuclear warheads straight at Russia as part of a Soviet plot to begin World War III (Iron Man and Black Widow intervene and save the day, though).

4. BILL CLINTON EXILES CAPTAIN AMERICA

Bill-Clinton-Marvel-Comics-Captain-America

President Bill Clinton is featured prominently in the four-issue miniseries celebrating Cap’s 50th anniversary, “Captain America: Man Without a Country.” His first appearance in the arc is in “Captain America” issue #450, by writer Mark Waid and artist Ron Garney, when President Clinton charges Cap with treason and exiles him from U.S. soil.

After meeting with Sharon Carter in London and getting a new uniform without the stars and stripes, the duo travel to Moldovia, where the villain Machinesmith has built an Argus Cannon to try and force a conflict with the U.S. While trying to invade the base where the cannon is being held, Cap and Sharon get captured and taken to Machinesmith, who then explains that he’s stolen the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier’s override codes. He directs the carrier to crash into a nearby mountain while he teleports to Camp David to assassinate the President. Cap is ultimately able to foil the Machinesmith and save President Clinton, earning his thanks and the reinstatement of his citizenship and title as Captain America.

3. GEORGE W. BUSH PASSES THE SUPERHUMAN REGISTRATION ACT

George-Bush-Marvel-Comics-Civil-War

Marvel’s 2006 “Civil War” event kicks off when the New Warriors, a group of superheroes with their own reality show, take on a group of villains way out of their league in a quest for ratings instead of calling in the Avengers. Among the villains they attack is Nitro who during the conflict, explodes and kills over 600 people (including 60 children). Tony Stark is accused of being responsible for the culture of superheroes (due to him bankrolling The Avengers) by one of the children’s parents, so he decides it’s time for him to get involved.

In response to growing public demand for greater accountability from superheroes, President George W. Bush meets with Stark, Reed Richards and Hank Pym in “Civil War” #1, by writer Mark Millar and artist Steve McNiven, to develop the Superhuman Registration Act. He expresses his concern that Captain America is the figurehead for the rebellion, and asserts that they will need their own figurehead before Iron Man steps forward to tell him that they will deal with Cap.

2. THE CHAMELEON TRIES TO REPLACE BARACK OBAMA

Amazing-Spider-Man-Barack-Obama

In “Amazing Spider-Man” #583, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Barry Kitson, the supervillain known as the Chameleon attempts to impersonate and kidnap President Barack Obama on his Inauguration Day so that he can take his place as the next President of the United States. The real Obama manages to escape and his Vice-President – Joe Biden drives – him to the inauguration to stop the Chameleon.

Peter Parker is also in D.C. trying to sneak into the inauguration without a press pass. Just as he’s about to be arrested for trespassing, Senator John McCain recognizes Peter as a photographer for the Daily Bugle and gets one for him. Once inside, Peter sees that two Obamas have arrived to the inauguration, so he becomes Spider-Man and exposes the imposter by asking the two of them a series of questions that only the true President Obama would know how to answer.

1. DONALD TRUMP THREATENS TO SUE LUKE CAGE

Luke-Cage-Donald-Trump-Marvel-Comics

President Donald Trump’s appearance on this list is unique because, due to his celebrity status prior to the election, he’s the only President whose appearance happened before his actual Presidency. In what is arguably the least flattering appearance on this list, Trump is briefly shown getting into a conflict with Luke Cage in “New Avengers” issue #47, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Billy Tan and Michael Gaydos.

When Trump’s limousine is blocking the way of an ambulance trying to respond to an emergency, Luke Cage lifts the vehicle out of the way before carelessly dropping it back on the street. Trump jumps out and threatens Luke with a lawsuit, but Cage responds by slamming his hands on the hood and screaming at him to “Get (his) ass back in the car!” This causes Trump to retreat to his limo and rolling up the window as a crowd of civilians applaud.

Which Marvel series do you want to see President Trump show up in first? Let us know in the comments!

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