Comics featuring presidents are nothing new - even Nixon showed up in the Fantastic Four, and everyone hated the guy. But the comics industry's obsession with Barack Obama is a little more intense than usual, resulting in some bizarre, baffling and sometimes even disturbing stories. No one ever did a comic where George W. Bush battles zombies, or one where ... well, read on to find out.
#5. Barack the Barbarian: Obama the Epic Bodybuilding Warrior
Barack the Barbarian is exactly what it sounds like: a comic about a muscular, half-naked Obama fighting people with swords.
Back in 2008, The Telegraph published an article titled "Barack Obama: The 50 Things You Might Not Know" that mentioned Obama's childhood love of Conan the Barbarian comics. A few months later, someone published an actual comic inspired by that idea:
Slightly more inspiring than the Hope posters.
It was written by Larry Hama, the same guy who wrote the G.I. Joe comic in the 80s, who says he has no interest in doing a wacky parody and tries to think of this as a real "sword and sorcery" series. A serious sword and sorcery series featuring the president fighting evil wizards who just happens to look like this:
One is clearly George Bush, and the other is clearly Emperor Palpatine.
And they're not the only familiar faces here. The comic is packed with "subtle" cameos in the same vein, like Barack's enemy Red Sarah ...
"Well if the comic is already retarded, what am I supposed to do?" - Cracked Photoshop department.
His valued ally Hilaria (wife of the cowardly Biil) ...
And a wisecracking sphinx shaped like David Letterman.
The stories are loosely based on the highlights of Obama's political career, meaning this is either the most bizarre piece of propaganda published or the most boring adventure comic ever, depending on who you ask.
Any 10-year-old who got this comic as a birthday present must be really pissed at his parents, we know that for sure.
It's really a disappointment for everyone. If you're a kid who likes action and adventure, you're in for a bunch of boring talk about health care reform and Red State vs. Blue State rhetoric. If you're one of those kids whose interests include presidential trivia, you'll be depressed to find out that this comic has absolutely nothing to do with being the president.
Also, your interests are stupid.
The plots are thin, the characters are two-dimensional and predictable, and the not-so-hidden message is that the author of this comic really likes Barack Obama. Basically, this comic is perfect for the "People Who Want to See the President Swing a Sword While Wearing a Loincloth" demographic and absolutely no one else.
But boy oh boy will that demographic be satisfied.
#4. AirGear: Japanese Girl Obama Goes to the Change
AirGear is a manga series about a group of young people who use mechanical flying shoes to compete with one another and fight. Like most Japanese comics, it makes no sense. In 2008, shortly after Obama's election, it introduced a character called "John Omaha," who happens to be president of the U.S. and happens to look like this:
"It's right over there!"
It's not just a cameo; this guy actually appears in several episodes. It turns out the U.S. government has an interest in the Air-Trek technology, as adolescent air-foot-sky-boxing is a valuable emerging market with a lot of international potential. Omaha is attempting to explain this to the characters when some guys show up out of nowhere and attack him.
It's Japanese, so you're supposed to read it from right to left, and as a lunatic.
The president is saved by a young Air-Trekker called Adachi, and as you can probably guess, this causes them to switch bodies. No explanation: It just happens. The president is now trapped inside the body of a busty Asian teenager, which hasn't happened since that time [insert your own obligatory Clinton joke here].
Fox News' top story that day was "OBAMA GROPES YOUNG GIRL."
But Omaha comes to terms with his (um ... "her") new condition disturbingly fast, declaring:
Well, OK then!
Later, U.S. soldiers come to retrieve the president, but she knocks them out with sleeping gas, using the flying shoes to escape into the city (with the help of the other kids). As she explains to them, Omaha never got to know Japan when she was a he and really wants to experience the country. Which goes about as well as you can imagine.
"Man, I was right -- this country really IS all stair-ghosts and nose-boners."
And that's not the only thing Omaha takes the time to get acquainted with: Another scene shows her coming out of the bathroom, looking strangely relaxed.
But it's not all fun, games and veiled implications of inter-body masturbation. The president opens up with the other kids, sharing his/her lifelong dream to become the next Maradona and his tragic past in Africa, where he had to witness his entire village being wiped out by a nuclear explosion.
Really didn't need to turn into a teenage girl to tell that story.
They also talk about the implications of the Air-Trek technology in human society and a vast conspiracy to take over the world. We'll spare you that part, mainly because we didn't understand any of it. Eventually the time comes for the president to give up his new body, which happens with as much explanation as the original switcheroo (or anything else in this comic).
That would be a reasonable assumption, yes.
This story would have been ridiculous enough if it had been told in a humor comic, but the fact that this is a series with real characters, real villains and a complex Robotech-like mythology makes it even more baffling. Then again, so are most things to come out of Japan.
Well, it could have been worse. It could have been an erotic manga.
#3. Tonari no Taro-kun: Obama Costars in Erotic Manga
Further proof that Rule 34 makes no exceptions. If the vaguely sexual tone of the last entry offended you, you might want to stop reading right now. There's nothing vague about this one.
My Neighbor Taro is an erotic manga starring former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso. Because that premise wasn't bizarre enough by itself, the authors decided to have Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain stop by the prime minister's house for some bizarre depravity:
OK, yes, we'd have sex with manga porn Hillary Clinton. God, you shouldn't make us say that.
This one actually uses their real names, despite being a trillion times more inflammatory than the "JoHn Omaha" manga. The plot starts innocently enough: Obama and Prime Minister Taro are making chitchat when the latter mentions how "formidable" he finds Mrs. Clinton. A little incredulous, Obama says he prefers "young and obedient women," like the prime minister's petite housemaid. This gives Taro a wicked idea.
"I want you to have sex with my maid," he expressed through a series of identical dots.
The story goes on to show Obama graphically getting it on with the maid ...
Sure are a lot of "oohs" and "ahs" for what looks like a miserable time.
... and Taro "seducing" Hillary in a way that only Japanese subway gropers could find arousing.
We said we wanted to have sex with her already, leave us alone.
The former first lady is hesitant to join the orgy, even though President Obama himself tries to persuade her using his famous oratory skills (for once, that's not a double entendre).
Remember, right-to-left reading order. We don't want you to miss any part of this fascinating plot.
Eventually she succumbs to Taro's charms, yelling, "It's been so long!" at the moment of climax. And that's when she hears the eight words every man involved in a threesome fears the most:
At one point in the middle of all this, Taro looks over at Obama and says, "With this, we're brothers in sex." A touching moment of true friendship and emotion that unfortunately we can't show you, because 90 percent of the image is filled with exploding genitals.
As they part ways, Taro says to Obama that they should do this again sometime soon, to which Obama replies:
That probably sounded hilarious in Japanese.
By the way, that's the first time McCain has appeared since the beginning of the comic ... which means that he spent the rest of the evening just standing there. Watching.