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Comics and Politics

Among the many wonderful things that you will find at Comicon in San Diego. will be a voter registration booth. notice: do not tell me if you are going to Comicon. Your attempts to make me jealous will only result in your death. Or at least a couple of hexes hurled in your direction This will be a NON-PARTISAN effort ... we want ALL POV's repped at the table even though no politicizing will be allowed AT the booth I think this is a great idea; it amazes me how many eligble voters are not registered. But that's another issue for another day. This non-partisan effort has me thinking in other directions. Everyone knows I am a comic book geek (for lack of a better phrase). I am also a conservative - or a neocon, depending on your definition, or even a conservative moderate, or....you get the point. Once upon a time I was a moderate liberal. So I'm wondering where comic book readers skew on the political compass. Are we mostly liberals or Republicans or independents? Do we lean left or right or do we stand up in the middle? Or perhaps there is no real political leanings of comic book readers in general, but those who lean right read different comics than those who lean left. Or - and I think this is probably most likely - do your comic book tastes not reflect your politics at all? I was talking with a friend about this and he remarked that it would make sense that conservatives would tend towards superhero comics. What would liberals read? Not sure, but I know there are quite a few recent titles where America - or a close, fictional fascimile - is the villian. As for myself, I don't read superhero comics at all. My favorite titles include Sandman, Preacher, Transmetropolitan and Lenore. One of my favorites is Too Much Coffee Man, which happens to be a very liberal-leaning comic. So what does this mean? No idea. I would like to take a little survey, though, to see if my friend's idea of conservatives leaning towards superhero stories holds true, and also to see what other people are reading and how - if at all - it coinicides with their politics. These questions can start you off: Do you read comics? If so, what is your political affiliation (not necessarily how you are registered, but what you feel your "label" is)? What comics do you read? Specific titles or just genres or authors are all good. Also, are there comics you would label as specifically liberal or conservative? Are there comics you will not read because of the politis implied? Anything else you can add to the discussion that you feel would be helpful is fine. I have no idea what I'll do with this data except disseminate it and say hmm...very interesting. Which, I suppose, is the point of this. It will be interesting to see the results.

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Comments

Heh... with all the driving I do to get to work, I thought I was Too Much Coffee Man!!

I am a Republican,and although I am not a comic geek,I cherish my Milk and Cheese collection.

Oh I am sorry.. hit POST instead of PREVIEW:

I am COnservative... can't be bothered to hammer down who the NeoCon's are or its exact definition...

I've always been partial to Spiderman; I worked with George Perez in community theater more than a dozen years ago, and we becamse friends so I became partial to his ressurection of Wonder Woman and his other work.

I like comic books in general, but haven't read any in a long time. I haven't gotten any political spin in any of the top-shelf comics (we'll leave Cheey Tart aside... ahem); if anything I'd rate most of them as Right leaning (justice for all, no free-passes to evil-/wrong-doers, etc).

1. I used to be a rabid reader. Not so much any more.

2. Centrist Hawk? Liberally conservative libertine? Somewhere in the middle with slightly more right leaning tendencies than leftward.

3. In the beginning (I was leaning left back then) I was into ninjas and superheroes. New Humans, Whisper, X-Men to be precise (many other titles but those were the ones I was "into"). Later on I fell away from the X-Men and added Sable (later Jon Sable:Freelance). When Whisper ended and then Jon Sable faltered I fell away from comics. Sandman was also a big favorite and the Crow and Ronin graphic novels rocked my world.

Interesting that you mention comics. My parents were dumping all my old stuff on me last weekend since I have the house now, and I found my 20+ year old copies of "Origins of Marvel Comics" and "Son of Origins of Marvel Comics". I can't wait to flip through them again.

I used to be really into the Marvel stuff in the late 70's, but stopped after high school. Iron Man was probably my favorite, but I also liked Thor, Cap'n America and Falcon, and the Avengers. I wasn't a big Spiderman or Fantastic 4 fan. And DC Comics were non-existent as far as I was concerned.

My politics run very conservative, which is typical for the South, but I also have some Libertarian leanings.

I don't really read anymore but i am conservative and i'm a huge superman fan. i think superman as a character tends to lean a bit to the left. for example he refuses to kill even if the villian has done really really shitty things and more than deserves it. however, i think he's more of what the ideal liberal would be. he's all for paece and love, but he isn't over the top like the current liberal is. he doesn't pass the buck, and he thinks that fighting is sometimes necessary. i find batman to be a much more conservative character because he seems to accept the world as it is rather than how he wishes it could be. batman knows that to take down monsters, you have to get your hands dirty sometimes.

I'm a political mix. 3 parts strong conservative, a shot of libertarian, shaken well, spritz with liberal. Basically very con with a big-government-is-bad-give-me-my-guns libertarian thing and some enviromental stewardship leanings that are somewhat liberal in nature.

Have been, always will be, huge fan of Calvin and Hobbes, and the Far Side. As for current stuff I find Dilbert entertaining from time to time, and of course most stuff Matt Groening does is gold (Life in Hell). Don't get into a lot of actual "comics" anymore, but in my closet there's a box of a lot of X-men stuff, plus some Silver Surfer and a few other assorted goodies. That was more of a teenage phase.

As for what liberals read - most of them don't, for the simple reason that if you are one, you've likely never learned how to read. For that select few who have figured out how to read but are still lost in their political miasma, they tend to gravitate towards Michael Moore (and I use gravitate literally, seeing as Moore has reached planetary proportions and is now generating his own weather systems).

Whoops I hit post.

I'm a political mix. 3 parts strong conservative, a shot of libertarian, shaken well, spritz with liberal. Basically very con with a big-government-is-bad-give-me-my-guns libertarian thing and some enviromental stewardship leanings that are somewhat liberal in nature.

Have been, always will be, huge fan of Calvin and Hobbes, and the Far Side. As for current stuff I find Dilbert entertaining from time to time, and of course most stuff Matt Groening does is gold (Life in Hell). Don't get into a lot of actual "comics" anymore, but in my closet there's a box of a lot of X-men stuff, plus some Silver Surfer and a few other assorted goodies. That was more of a teenage phase.

As for what liberals read - most of them don't, for the simple reason that if you are one, you've likely never learned how to read. For that select few who have figured out how to read but are still lost in their political miasma, they tend to gravitate towards Michael Moore (and I use gravitate literally, seeing as Moore has reached planetary proportions and is now generating his own weather systems).

Whoops I hit post.

(twice!)

I'm a both liberal and conservative, and somedays neither. I did read comics in the day, but haven't in a while. When I did, I read alot of different ones in the common genre, like DC and Marvel superheroes, but I mostly enjoyed the indie titles, like Grimjack, Lone Wolf and Cub, and especially Matt Wagner's Grendel. I never really bothered to look for political bias in the stories, as I was too busy fighting off teenage angst with a sledge hammer.

My politics: "conservative", broadly speaking, though my personal idiosyncratic term is more like "libertarian imperialist Republican."

My comics: Big comics reader. Most of the stuff I read falls into the general action-adventure category, which in turn means mostly superhero stuff. But also includes stuff like [i]Queen and Country[/i], [i]Brath[/i], and [i]El Cazador[/i].

On politics in comics, it's mostly like much of what we broadly term "media bias" - it's not necessarily overt or intentional, but there's an assumed shared worldview that comes through. E.g., a common "topical reference" these days is the invokation of the Patriot Act as a sort of general-purpose tool of oppression by governmental bad guys.

Usually, in comics, this sort of thing is just a minor annoyance - not usually central to the storyline, so you can just pass over it painlessly enough with a "yeah, whatever, dude."

On stuff I won't read b/c of politics, the only recent example I can think of is [i]Captain America[/i], which after 9/11 kinda degenerated into a home for navel-gazing, "why do they hate us?" type stuff. Though the title's getting a new writer soon, who'll be steering more toward old-fashioned two-fisted action against the Hordes of Hydra, and I'll probably pick it up again.

There's a fair amount of stuff (generally from the large pool of Talented British Lefty writers) that I steer clear of, since from previews it seems overtly "political," and even if they're good writers, life's too short....

On the politics of Superman and Batman, I think Jimmy has it about right. But Superman's more a "good" liberal - kinda a JFK-era type, in my mind. I always saw his refusal to kill as more a variant on "with great power comes great responsibility," myself. Captain America, I always picture as an FDR Democrat - something he probably literally was, actually. Liberal, idealistic, but never afraid to fight for what's right.

Pro-war libertarian type... I read some superhero comics (mostly Marvel), love the Sandman series, and Calvin and Hobbes (if we're counting comic strips, too). I've also read (and enjoyed) a few more literary comics such as Maus.

If I WERE to pick up comic book reading, it would be titles by an interesting fellow I knew who went to Manchester H.S. with me.

If my son wants a comic book, I relent if that author is on the cover... it's going to be set in a world where virtue matters.

My own tastes as a kid ran to Richie Rich, and some very Dark Batman comics, and some underground comics in my late teens. In the "share a house" years I formed some negative opinions about comic book collectors who were non-animated versions of comic-cook guy... and can hardly read a page of any comic before I bust out laughing at the memories.

/Ted McGinley

I know some conservatives who would kick me out of the club, but that's how I identify these days.

SarahW

Comicon in LA? Oh heavens no. It's in San Diego.

Comics are great!

I'm a conservative Republican and was an avid comic collector up until a few years ago. My tastes were fairly mainstream, with Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and Deadpool (when he had his own series).

I don't know if liberals and conservatives really differ that much on the books and the characters they like all that much. I DO know, however, that the medium of comic books has become increasingly politicized with a leftish bent. For instance, Cyclops (of the X-men) quipping "This is why I don't vote Republican" whilst fighting an anti-mutant hate group, or Peter Parker thinking "This is stupid. Tax cuts for the rich stupid," or the world turning on the Fantastic FOur after Mr. Fantastic invades Latveria because he believes Dr. Doom has WMDs or Superman lecturing President Lex Luthor on why it's wrong to invade a foreign country. And those're just the instances that come to mind. Apparently the partisan hacks have made their way into comic books...or they've been there all along and I'm just now noticing.

Kevin, I thought I fixed that right after I wrote it. Oh well...at least I figured out right away that I posted this at Command Post instead of ASV by mistake.

Never run out of coffee, folks. Or if you do, don't blog.

I did the same thing yesterday, posted a Kerry story to SportsBlog. At least I caught it a minute or two later.

Great question! I was a big comic fan until my mid twenties. I stopped reading no so much for reasons of growing up or ideology but because I realized Chris Claremont ran out of X-Men plots and the artwork went to Hell with the departure of John Byrne and Dave Cockrum.

I am conservative and still appreciate comics. My son and I read X-Men (classic) and Spiderman. Besides Superheros, I love humor. e.g. Ambush Bug, Megaton Man, The World's Toughest Milkman.

A friend of mine recently had lunch with Len Wein and Marv Wolfman. The topic of conversation was completely about the horrors of Bush and how terrible the Passion movie was even though they hadn't seen it.

Don't you think that over the last twenty years comics have turned "dark" in that there are no black and white good guys fighting evil Nazis or aliens?

Like Frank Miller's Return of the Dark Knight series, there is an anti-hero and Superman is cast as Reagan's Boy Scout Dupe.

This moral relativism (who is really "good") has long been a Liberal staple.

Sorry, didn't mean to make it an essay.

BTW, Jonah Goldberg wrote a fantastic piece on comics and politics http://www.nationalreview.com/goldberg/goldberg050702.asp

Conservative bent nowadays, mostly because the alternatives have driven me away.

I used to be a comics addict, but now I pick and choose. I tended towards the hero team comics, I liked the Avengers and Fantastic Four the best. My opinion has changed since then, and though I'm not reading it, Xmen has my fancy more lately.
I went with the independents for a while, but lost interest in most of them. The exceptions: Alan Moore's stuff, and Hellboy. I picked up the second League of Extraordinary Gentlemen collection last week, and it's great.

I try to ignore the politics in comics when I can, but if it's over the top, I'll usually not even buy it.

Very interseting question. I'm a conservative with a "leave me alone" libertarian bent. Also, a huge comic fan. Perhaps ironically, I tend to like the comics that have the most tendency to veer into the empty headed lefty politics I loathe. I don't like traditional superhero comics very much at all and much prefer the Vertigo/Indy types (horror/crime/fantasy). Although, I end up reading a lot of superhero stuff because the writers who gained (well deserved) recognition through Vertigo/Indy work are now writing them.

Current and recent favorites of mine are: Cerebus, Grendel, 100 Bullets, Fables, Bone, Planetary & Transmetroplitan. Writers injecting their lefty politics is usually creative death for a comic. The best comics barely touch on specific politics or carry a "pox on both their houses" attitude, like Ellis' Transmet.

I can't think of any overtly conservative comics and I'm not sure I want any. I keep hearing that Chuck Dixon is conservative, but I find his stuff mediocre at best.

I don't avoid any comics because of implied politics. I would miss out on too many good ones. I only avoid them when the politicking gets in the way of the story. Most writers seem to be able to avoid this. Judd Winnick (who I do tend to avoid) has a reputation for clumsy PC crusading.

I've never been a comic book fan, though I've always read the comics in the paper. I'm in the libertarian wing of the Republican Party.
I still miss Pogo.

"I waste him with my crossbow!"

Right-wing Canadian (Ontario)

Currently reading

*Ultimate Spiderman
*Ultimate X-Men
*Knights of the Dinner table (KODT)
*KODT Illustrated
*Conan (Dark Horse)
*Spawn (I'd call this an America-is-crap comic)
*Bone
*Occasional Star Wars comics
*Usagi Yojimbo

I've always been much more partial to Japanese comics than American ones; I find them to be much less political. But as far as stateside/English products go: Most anything by or started by Neil Gaiman is great, Hellblazer was interesting, if often far too screedy, and Cerebus was good but dragged out too long. "Superhero" comics never held any appeal for me, although I'm pretty heavily conservative. Too preachy, too predictable.

In no particular order: Spawn (and spin-offs), Sin City (and anything else by Frank Miller), Usagi, Conan, Green Arrow(the big commie), to name some. Have dropped many titles over the years, and others have been dropped by the printers due to poor circulation.

I consider myself fiscal conservate with some libertarian ideas. I don't mind when a comic writer disagrees with me, but I don't like propaganda.

I don't think this one really parses well, Michele. I think you can tell that many liberals write comic books (think the 70s Message Books, like when Lois Lane turned herself black to experience life as an African American, and no, I'm not making that up).

I'm a former hard-left liberal now more center-left, and I like the mainstream comics the best. The Peter David Hulk and the Claremont X-Men are my two favorites. But I read Superman and the DC mainstream for decades.

I really don't think politics comes into this. It's dependent on whether you think comic books are for kids, or are a fun light art form (with occasional forays into Real Art, like Maus).

Well, for me, I'm basically libertarian. "The greatest freedom is the freedom to be let alone."

The vast majority of my comics these days are japanese manga. My tastes are pretty eclectic, SF/Fantasy/Drama/etc. All it really needs is good art, a good plot, and interesting characters. I have, sadly, found that most American comics these days lack at least two of these three. Of the three non-japanese comics I get these days, two of them (Ninja High School and Gold Digger) are in the manga style, and the third, Girl Genius, is by Phil Foglio whose work I will buy sight unseen.

Not having read american comics for nearly a decade now, I can't really comment on current political trends, but back when I did, I didn't notice any particular leaning. That could be because at the time, I couldn't have cared less about politics.

Of the Japanese comics, I have noticed an interesting trend. "Girls'" manga tend to have a slight left-leaning slant, whereas "Boys'" manga are slightly right-leaning. More recent girls' manga (written after 2001) are more left-leaning (and the writers more left-leaning still), while boys' manga hasn't changed as far as I can tell. Keep in mind though, that I'm working from a very few samples of post-2001 manga. Most manga translated for the American audience have been out in Japan for several years already. There are very few which were written after 2001 that have already been published in the US.

One thing that strikes me, now that this discussion is here: Like Lileks' observation about the lack of Hollywood anti-terror movies (despite 3 years since 9/11), has anyone seen any comics that use terrorists of the al-queda variety as villians? The absence seems strange compared to the comics' WWII anti-nazi and anti-imperial japan plots.

I am a conservative republican with some social liberal leanings (e.g. gay people should be allowed to marry as long as it won't trash the rights of others to hold their own beliefs on the subject.)

I am getting old and no longer spend any time reading comic books. Calvin and Hobbes, Dilbert, Mallard Fillmore, Far Side, and Bloom County have lots of good stuff in them. Guess the comic strip has shortened my attention span and the cost of a comic book has gone way too high for the value.

When young I used to read all the basic comic books, superman, batman, green lantern, hawkman, aquaman, etc. Plus I would enjoy the random horror comic. Sgt Rock was great as well.

As an adult I did latch onto a few comic books that were interesting:

Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters
Howard the Duck
Dark Knight (batman)
The Tick (not the books, but the animated series was great so I assume the books would be)

Hard to say where any of these would fall in the political spectrum. I have 3 comics to my name (all ARBBH) and I will probably reread them and then try to get a few $$ for them.

BC Monkey,
Chuck Dixon (one of the few prominent "uncloseted" conservative comics writers - the ratio seems roughly comparable to Hollywood here) was going to be writing a Captain America-esque comic book with real-life Al Qaeda type villains, called American Power.

But CrossGen cancelled it before it began, apparently due to getting cold feet over being mean to terrorists or something:

http://www.newsarama.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=11643

Note the first cover, incidentally - yep, that's the hero punching out Osama himself, an homage to '40s covers that showed Captain America and other heroes literally punching out Hitler and Tojo.

I think I'm fairly conservative (at least compared to people here at the law school), and tend to read Japanese comics, mostly. The politics, I think, has more to do with my upbringing and hometown than the comics I read back in the day. The only comic I ever collected was Nexus, by Mike Baron and Steve "The Dude" Rude, which now that I think of it had an awful lot of capital punishment in it (so maybe the politics and comics do go together...). I also like Spider-Man, X-Men (long ago), Sandman, and the Silver Surfer (though I've never collected the comic). But the best thing I've read recently was a fan-translated version of a Japanese comic called "Hikaru No Go", which is now coming stateside.

I'm a conservative, Catholic, Republican hawk with some libertarian leanings (mostly becuase I don't think you can legislate morality). I also think I may have the distinction of being the only person in America who has written for both Wizard: The Comics Magazine and the National Review.

I'm a huge comic fan and am mostly drawn to superhero stories though I own my fair share of indie titles and non-superhero genre stuff. I've always been drawn to the principles of superheroes (Using power to help others while at the same time not dominating them "for their own good") which I think are fairly conservative principles in general.

Still, I loved "The Authority" even though it was easily the most liberal superhero book ever published. It was so well-done that I just didn't care. By the same token, I love "The Ultimates" even more because it has all the craft of "The Authority" but is unabashedly conservative in its worldview.

Oddly enough the same creators are responsible for both books...

I've actually written quite a bit on the intersection of comics and politics. I've posted a couple links below -- and sorry if it feels like a shameless plug, but they explain my view on superheroes and politics far more than any extemparaneous comments in a commentary thread ever could.

"A Hate America Superhero" for Frontpage:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=9298

Interview with writer Joe Kelly regarding the same:
http://www.slushfactory.com/content/EpypZVlVkuDOMeGMrQ.php

"Ambassador Superman" for Tech Central Station:
http://www.techcentralstation.com/062003A.html

Politically, I use the term 'rational anarchist' to describe myself. It puts me squarely on the right.

Comics
As a kid...
Horror Comics, Creepy, Eerie, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, that kinda thing. Vampirella. Conan. Werewolf-by-Night. Morbius. Man-Thing.
Superhero
Hulk, New Mutants, X-Factor, old, original DC Sandman, Alpha Flight

Now(I still like most of those)...
Flaming Carrot, Heavy Metal, Tank Girl, Tranceptor, The Spider Garden(most of Michael Mannings work), random current Marvel and DC, and whatever horror comics I can get my hands on, though anthology horror comics are few and far between these days.

I could write a book on this subject; I'll try to keep it to a novelette :).

I'm conservative; came into the movement as a neocon in the '80s but now I tend more to be more of a traditional conservative with some libertarian tendencies.

I've read comics regularly for about 36 years. My tastes run the gamut from superhero to "underground" to you name it. My favorite characters are Batman, the Spirit and Spiderman (only the latter of which is really "super"). Thanks to the archives and abpc, I've read almost every Batman story ever printed in Batman and Detective.

I do think conservative comic readers tend towards superhero books. The battle of pure good versus evil incarnate is appealing to my conservative nature. Unfortunately, that is tending to erode as others have commented. Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns (which I loved) probably hastened the trend due to its crossover success.

Liberal books? I would cite the wretched Captain America Sentinel of Liberty. Transmetropolitan had a pretty liberal storyline although I haven't read it in years. Of course the old Green Lantern/Green Arrow series was the trend-setter in this regard. Loved them at the time (I was very liberal back then), but they seem like parodies now. Can't think of a book right now that has espoused an overtly conservative viewpoint, although you could argue that all superhero comics that are not liberal are conservative by nature.

One of the things I absolutely despise is the way some writers attempt to graft liberal sensibilities onto superheroes. It doesn't work, guys! How can you have Batman wading into the villains if inside, he's wondering what kind of deprived childhood led them to their life of crime? The other alternative is to let them be liberal in their private lives (Bruce Wayne's philanthropic endeavors), but there's still a disconnect--schizophrenia seems right around the corner.

Yes.

Conservative.

Lots and lots. X-titles, Warren Ellis, the better Vertigo stuff. I'd say about half of Brian Bendis's output.

Authority and Stormwatch--hard left.
Y, The Last Man--mainline left
Fables--suspiciously conservative
*.Garth Ennis--Independent
Everything else just has slightly leftward background radiation.

Authority's off the list for a couple of months now, same with Stormwatch.

Libertarian-leaning conservative over here. Spiderman, Superman, X-Men(the original group)-remember when Spiderman and the X-Men battled Michael Morbius?- Batman, The Incredible Hulk, Archie, Ironman, The Silver Surfer, Tales From The Crypt. There were a lot more, but my collection was destroyed by silverfish in storage, my memory is failing and I haven't gotten back into comics since then. I know, I know: DC and Marvel fans are the twain that aren't supposed to meet, but what can you do? I loved them all.

Political leanings of comic books? I dunno. I used to think that there wasn't such a thing, but apparently I was horribly naive.

i'm a conservative comics geek, but i would say that comics readers skew more left than right, overall. i went to the con here in pittsburgh, and was very careful not to mention my politcs for fear of getting pounded by a bunch of pimply fanboys.

i read a spread of mainstream and underground stuff, from batman to preacher to indie books.

i think most folks doing comics are more left than right, a good example of this is the post-9/11 books that were tasefully done, but mostly more "why do they hate us" than "time to go stomp somebody". also, the recent atrocious treatment of cap as mentioned above, i'm actually thinking of writing a captain america story where he's more like the wwii cap, kicking the crap outta nazis without worrying about harming their fragile sensibilities.

"notice: do not tell me if you are going to Comicon. Your attempts to make me jealous will only result in your death. Or at least a couple of hexes hurled in your direction"

Not a big comics fan...but I do live in San Diego :-P

Brainster tangentially mentions another unstated liberal theme running through superhero comics: it's very hard to find a non-evil corporation or non-evil CEO type. When they're shown, they're almost always up to something nefarious.

And even the exceptions (most notably Bruce Wayne and Tony "Iron Man" Stark) tend to be shown as good guys largely because of things unrelated to the profit-making aspects of their empires. It's like their businesses are a necessary evil, only acceptable because the money they generate allows them to fund liberal-minded charitable efforts (and/or superhero teams.) You almost never see any endorsement of the idea that Tony Stark selling his wondrous electronic devices at a fair price might in itself be "doing good."

I thought I was liberal - now I realize that the spectrum of political labels just doesn't represent my beliefs very well at all (yes that includes the whole Libertarian two-dimensional model too!). Living in California has probably made me more conservative in general as well - gotta love it when small talk at a banquet is a city official proclaim how much they love S.F. because, "everyone thinks the same way here!"

I used to be a big comic fan, no so much anymore due to the cost and hassle of actually following a series. Loved Sandman, Bone, Cerebus - never really got into the super heroes. Did a bout of reading a lot of Japanese comics too, Akira, Appleseed, Nausicaa. Now not so much... I did pick up the Joss Whedon Vampire Slayer spin off graphic novel - that was cool!

I also got real indignant about comics being kiddy fare, but when it comes to politics they do tend to operate at the 3rd grade level... Ah well!

Oh yeah, that's another thing. When most comic books attempt to portray politics - I mean the activity of politics here (campaigns, governance, etc.), not the ideologies - they invariably get things horribly wrong. Civics 101 stuff too, not the more complicated and tendentious stuff.

For example, I thought the "Lex Luthor becomes President of the United States" storyline actually had some promise. If told by people who knew something about politics, it could present a lot of fun story possibilities. (One idea that I thought might be interesting is that President Luthor has less power than Evil CEO of Evil LexCorp Luthor, because the President's powers are limited.) But as executed, it was almost invariably hamhanded and full of errors no one who just reads the Washington Post every once in a while would make. And the idea that, for example, Congress could have some power to limit the actions of an evil President (who ran as an Independent, no less, thus having no built-in power base) almost never arose.

Yeah, when comics do politics, the issues usually suck. A Very Special Comic Book presents: (pick a cause).

I went to the SD Comicon years ago, Michele. I met Dick Giordano and Ray Bradbury--at the same time. They were quite charming, and I'm pretty sure I still have my program with their autographs.

All the kids were ignoring those two old geezers in the corner. Not me.

I'm a conservative with libertarian leanings, and I think my favorite has to be Grendel, though I haven't picked up a book in a few years. Other titles that have appealed are Sandman, and to a lesser degree Xmen and XO.
I generally find artistic fiction that is set in the present to be frustrating, because it always feels like a dishonest or inaccurate representation of reality. Events set in a distant twighlight time are reliably fictional. Tell me about the corrupt mandarins of the year 2400 AD, and I will enjoy the tale. Set the same story in the vaguely present tense, and I'll be thinking "Hey, that evil Vice President looks just like Cheney!"
I think a lot of artists take cheap shots in the political arena by pretending not to be in it. How can you debate a fictional characters reaction to a fictional crisis? And yet we all know who and what is being alluded to.
(For non-comic book examples, see "West Wing" "Day After Tomorrow" or any show that contains a Republican. He'll be the fat redneck who is out of touch and just doesn't understand that yaddah yaddah yadah.)
Love, (and rockets)
Dennymack

David C, great point about the evil CEOs/businessmen. One of the reasons I turned from the left was the constant demonization of businessmen (especially real estate developers, whom I work with on a daily basis).

On the subject of leftists and comics, good news from the Ted Rall Unemployment Project. Rall's comics have been dropped from MSNBC's website! Thanks to all who wrote e-mails!

Well, right now I'd say I'm a liberal hawk with some libertarian leanings tossed in. As for comics, Achewood is basically the only one I read these days. I don't detect much in the way of partisan leanings there, though I do suspect Lyle is on the more annoying end of the Libertarian spectrum.

Oh, I did come up with one comic book issue that was conservative (actually objectivist). Steve Ditko (who drew the first 38 Amazing Spiderman issues) did a comic called Blue Beetle for Charlton around 1966, and for the final issue (#5 IIRC) he did a complete story in Ayn Rand form (very similar to The Fountainhead). Worth reading if you can find it.

Michele,

I think we learned more about the policts of your audiance than readers of comic books. Still interesting though.

Absolutely and without a doubt the bulk of comics professionals (artistic and editorial) are left-wing liberals.
The fans tend towards liberal but not as strongly. Many are simply apolitical. There are very few conservatives.
That's my assessment after working in the biz for 20 years, anyway.

Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters.

You're the guy! For those of you not in the know, these guys were a parody of the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles, themselves a parody of mutant teenagers and ninjas.

No, I don't read comics regularly these days, but I am going to Comicon. Since I've had God come down on my ass (he's really anti suicide, believe me) I'm not gonna get fazed by some minor hexes.

If you're going, feel free to get in touch. Maybe we can have a Comicon get-together.

Evidently, I'm quite a bit older than most of the other posters here; I was into comic books (as distinguished from newspaer comic strips) in the early to mid-50's. In those days, my main man (as I recall) was Blackhawk (and how many people now alive can name the 7 members of the Blackhawk squadron?). I also liked Plastic Man and The Spirit. As I entered puberty, I found I was becoming interested in Sheena, Queen of The Jungle. Over the years, whenever I saw them, I also enjoyed Vampirella comics.

If a 12-year-old could have voted for Adlai Stevenson, I probably would have. Since then, I have seen a vision and have been libertarian for over 30 years. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the avatar of left-wing comics, "Doonesbury"; unless he's not thought of as being a comic "book." The only overtly conservative comic I can think of at present is Mallard Fillmore.

Let's see... I guess I'm a fiscally conservative, socially moderate, internationalist hawk.

I agree with those that have stated that many comics have a liberal slant- sometimes blatantly. If it annoys me enough I stop reading them- but usually I just ignore it.

My favorites:
Spiderman (for his smart-assedness), X-men, and Cerebus the Aardvark. Especially Cerebus.

Also, Bloom County, Too Much Coffee Man, and Life in Hell. TMCM and LiH ran in the Austin Chronicle forever, and I grew to like them. Bloom County also has an Austin connection- plus it rocked.

Yeah, Calvin and Hobbies is the best ever, with Far Side being close behind. Current stuff I like would be Mallard, Pearls before Swine and Day by Day(!).

I grew up with Scrooge McDuck and Richie Rich... so I guess I'm really a Republican...

Another leave-me-alone conservative. I was never really into comics, but there's a lot of overlap between the tabletop/pen and paper gamers and the comic book geeks. I read Knights of the Dinner Table religiously, and have read some of Hellboy, Sandman, Appleseed, Area 88, and Luftewaffe: 1946 which I really enjoyed. My problem is that I'm an inveterate completist, and won't read something unless I can read ALL of it. Oh, and I'm absent minded and poor (well, I'd rather spend money on other things), so it's hard for me to keep up on comic series'. That said, when I have more money I really want to buy the collections of some of the above comics and get caught up. For what it's worth.

Libertarian hawk here.

I don't collect anything now, but my favorites are Spirit reprints, V for Vendetta, the original Marvelman (later Miracleman) stuff, Love and Rockets (very leftist in their way but the characters are real, like people you drink beer with after you finish your opening gig at The Beachland Ballroom), Cerebus, Batman (Frank Miller's version), and Captain America...who has almost never been done well. Actually, the best rendition of Cap I ever read was in Miller's second run on Daredevil, with David Mazzuchelli(sp?) drawing. I also used to like Nexus, Badger, American Flagg! (leftist, but an America-loving leftist--or tried to be, anyway), Concrete, The Tick, Sam & Max, Lone Wolf & Cub, Journey, and, going way back, Blackhawk and Enemy Ace.

I've also always really liked Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and the Flash (Barry Allen) as characters, though I never read their books religiously.

Bruce, Blackhawk is a particular favorite of mine, not sure I can remember them all without cheating though--Stansilaus, Olaf, Andre, Blackhawk, Chuck, Chop-Chop... dang. Okay, I cheated, Hendrickson.

Brainster -

Off the top of my head, I remembered all except Stanislaus. Thanks! Also, I wasn't sure if Chop-Chop counted.

You forgot Hendrickson, the Dutch Blackhawk.