Last week, readers of Oni Press's post-apocalyptic series "Resurrection" listened in on a rumor that a very powerful figure has survived the ten-year invasion and occupation of Earth. In issue #3, there is talk that William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States -- and the last person to hold that office before an alien race ravished the planet -- somehow still lives. Now, just over a month after the aliens (which humans call Bugs) have mysteriously departed, society is in tatters and there is no clear path to rebuilding.
Oni has revealed that President Clinton will join the series as a regular cast member in the next issue, injecting an intriguing new element into the struggle for power in this brave new world. CBR News spoke with writer Marc Guggenheim about what the President's appearance will mean for the "Resurrection" cast.
Clinton first appeared in the first issue of "Resurrection" volume 2, but at that point things weren't going well for him. While addressing the besieged nation from Air Force One, the presidential aircraft was attacked by the Bugs. What he's been up to in between will make up a central mystery of the current arc. "I don't want to spoil too much, obviously, but he does survive the crash landing of Air Force One. But there's a very real question of whether he's in charge of the country after that point," Guggenheim told CBR.
"Resurrection" has already shown several groups and potential leaders jostling for power and the right to rebuild society, and the fact that America's last Commander-in-Chief is still alive may upset their plans. Except, of course, that Clinton's term of office has expired. Then again, it's possible that everyday folks might be eager to have a familiar authority figure leading the country. "It's those questions and more that I'm looking forward to exploring with Clinton's introduction -- reintroduction? -- into the narrative of the book," Guggenheim said. "We see in volume 2, issue #3 that the Constitution itself suffers a rather dire fate, and one of the questions I want the characters to ponder is whether the Constitution is a document that can survive its physical destruction. Are laws something that are written down, or are they part of something more enduring? Interesting questions that I hope will make for an interesting story."
As to how the forty-second president came to be in the town of Red Lion, Guggenheim would only say, "Two of the characters we've met thus far have a prior, pre-invasion connection to Mr. Clinton." Guggenheim did reveal, though, that appearances by the Clinton's famous family are unlikely at this point. "Clinton was separated from Hillary and Chelsea and he presumes they're dead. You never know, particularly with this series, but I'm very interested in exploring Clinton's reaction to the deaths of his wife and daughter in a very real, human way. That's really my goal with writing Clinton in the book -- to write him as a fully fleshed out and developed 'character' rather than some two-dimensional 'icon.' In other words, I'm writing him as a man and not merely a former (current?) president."
Presidents including JFK, Nixon, Carter, and Bush I and Bush II have appeared in comic books, and of course this year Barack Obama has had nearly as many guest appearances as Wolverine. But Guggenheim believes Clinton's role in "Resurrection" will be the first time a president has joined the regular cast of a comic book series. "I believe we're charting new territory here," the writer said. "Should be interesting."
There are, of course, challenges to writing a well-known, real-life person. "For me, the challenge is remembering to write him the same way I would write any of the other characters in the book and not shy away from moments that make him seem real, human and/or vulnerable," Guggenheim said. "The whole point in bringing Clinton into the book as a regular cast member is to treat him like a regular cast member. It's tempting to put him on some kind of presidential pedestal, but even the 'real life' Clinton is, after all, just a man. I'm not making it a story point or anything, but he puts his pants on one leg at a time, y'know?"
Beyond President Clinton's appearance, other major events are upcoming in "Resurrection." "We're revealing two big things about Sara and Ben -- who are the closest to 'core characters' as the book comes," Guggenheim told CBR. "Fans of volume 1 can also look for the return of characters from that arc, including Paul Dolan and a certain Bug. In volume 3, we introduce the 'Church of the Cosmos' -- a new religion that actually worships the Bugs as gods. Plus, Clinton spends an entire issue talking about the pros and cons of having a line item veto.