Reagan's Legacy, Based Only on His Appearance in Comic Books
Most of my knowledge of U.S. politics comes from Saturday Night Live sketches -- I didn't find out until I saw the movie Elf in 2003 that Will Ferrell was an actor and not the guy going to war with Afghanistan. So it was a bit of a surprise, to say the least, when I received an email from a prestigious publishing house offering me a substantial amount of money to write a biography of Ronald Reagan. Upon consulting Wikipedia, I found out that Reagan's name is pronounced:
Also that he was apparently the 40th president of the United States.
(No Presidential comic book fiction could outdo Abe Lincoln's actual physical strength. Read The De-Textbook to find out how many thousands of pounds the young Rail Splitter could deadlift.)
Why were they asking me, Maxwell Yezpitelok of Chile, to write a book about a United States politician who has been dead for (checking Wikipedia) years? Did they like my article about crazy Obama comics? Or had they perhaps confused me with another Cracked columnist who has written about U.S. presidents in the past? I honestly don't know, and I suspect I never will. "Dear Daniel," the email began, "we're big fans of your writing and want to work with you." Naturally I said yes and signed the email as "Daniel" so as to not appear arrogant by correcting them on their strange typo. I then rushed to my personal library to search for reference material to write the biography, only to find out that I don't have a personal library and the only book I own is a squandered copy of Bart Simpson's Guide to Life.
I do, however, have a massive comic book collection crammed inside a closet, and I was relieved to find out that this Reagan guy actually shows up in a shitload of comics. And so, without further ado, here are some excerpts from the Ronald Reagan biography I composed using only those comics as my guide.
Chapter 1: Humble Beginnings, and the Insecticon Crisis
Ronald Reagan first rose to prominence as Sweethearts' Dream Beau of the Month of May 1952. Prior to that he had starred in some movies and dabbled in politics, but it was all leading up to that crucial moment. Reagan's achievement was made even more impressive by the fact that he had already been profiled in Sweethearts' fiercest competitor in the romance comics arena, Miss Beverly Hills -- usually a death sentence for Beau hopefuls.
Bridge writing would remain his favorite pastime for the rest of his life.
On the strength of these early successes, Reagan had by the late '60s become the first governor of California to have co-starred in a movie with an ape (but not the last). As chronicled in DC Comics' ill-fated hippie comic Brother Power #2, Reagan had little patience for geeks and didn't hesitate to send heavy artillery after them:
The first five San Diego Comic-Cons were just endless bloodbaths.
Reagan continued to rise in the political world, but some analysts raised concerns about what would happen if a former Hollywood star were allowed to reach the White House. Here is Cracked's spot-on prediction of "If Reagan Became President" from 1980, back when websites were printed on dead trees and called "magazines":
Sure, we laughed then, but the U.S. still hasn't recovered from the damage Miss Piggy inflicted as Secretary of State.
But not all was negative. Once elected commander in chief, Reagan made significant efforts to reduce tensions between the two biggest powers in the world at the time: the Autobots and the Decepticons. Unfortunately, the peace talks summoned by Reagan were interrupted by a group of insurgents shaped like robots shaped like insects, the Insecticons.
Premier Optimus Prime, about to accidentally teabag President Reagan with his giant Transformer balls.
Although the Autobots weren't to blame for the impasse, Reagan felt he had no choice but to break relations with them:
"Regular men can make mistakes. Beaus of the Month cannot afford that luxury."
Reagan's harsh treatment of the Autobots wasn't well seen by the galactic community, and likely precipitated the shocking incidents about to unfold ...
Chapter 2: Lost in Time ... and Space! (Also, Robot Nancy)
Love him or hate him, Ronald Reagan is a man who left a deep mark in the annals of time, mainly because he traveled through it back when he was kidnapped by alien freedom fighters from the future in 1987. The sordid tale was related in over 20 issues of the British sci-fi comic 2000 AD, in which Reagan co-starred alongside such luminaries as Judge Dredd and Hitler.
The comic also had a short-lived cartoon adaptation, the Famous Fascists Funtime Hour.
Reagan was rescued by two mutant bounty hunters, the straight-faced Johnny Alpha and the bodacious Durham Red. As they traversed the tropical planet and faced numerous perils together, Reagan became close to his saviors.
Perhaps too close.
I can't show you what happened next if you're in the U.S. because just looking at it counts as high treason.
Durham Red in particular had taken a special interest in the president, "gazing more and more longingly at Ronald Reagan" and having dreams in which she throws herself at him -- and who can blame her? Look how impeccable his hair still looks, even after years in the jungle that is politics and days in the actual jungle:
The person who inked this panel was fired for suggesting that Reagan might have a single gray hair.
Of course, her interest in Reagan turned out to be purely culinary: Durham wasn't just a mutant alien bounty hunter from the future, she was a mutant alien vampire bounty hunter from the future! And as the most red-blooded of all Americans, obviously Mr. Reagan was a dish she simply couldn't resist.
A reminder that this is what British kids read instead of Superman, which explains so much.
Eventually, Reagan managed to make it back to his own time in one piece and was reunited with his loving wife Nancy, but an even bigger threat awaited him there: his loving wife Nancy, secretly a thousand-year-old killer robot from outer space.
We should have seen it coming from that glimmer in her eyes, and also
her tendency to shout "NO MAN ESCAPES THE MANHUNTERS!"
Nancy Reagan, it transpired, was part of the "Manhunter" cult, a robot conspiracy to rule the universe, and manipulated the president to hinder the efforts of the Earth's superheroes. Although the evil plot was dismantled by Batman and company, this wouldn't be the last conspiracy Reagan would unwittingly serve ...
Chapter 3: A Tool of the Reptilians, and Satan, and Satan Again
Martin Luther King once said that the measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. That has nothing to do with the time Captain America fought Ronald Reagan as a snake-person.
Even now, flawless hair. Impressive. Inspiring.
Some months after returning from the future, Reagan was turned into a reptilian by Viper, the same snake-themed villain you've already forgotten from the latest Wolverine movie. As soon as he sees Captain America, who has come to the White House to rescue him but is just a tiny bit too late, Snakeagan strips down to his undies and attacks Cap with a flag of the USA.
This is turning into a rowdy Fourth of July in Alabama.
Captain America's plan to restore the president to normalcy? "Keep him sweating at all costs," because sweat makes snake skin fall off, and the writer of this comic really, really wanted to see Captain America and Snake Reagan wrestling semi-naked on the floor.
The exact same thing was happening to Michael Jackson around this time.
Reagan was free of the reptilian influence -- only to fall under a Satanic one! The previous year, Reagan had been impersonated by a demon who nearly doomed the world to nuclear Armageddon in his name. Reagan didn't appreciate that gesture, and they got into a fistfight.
"Sir, why are your eyes glowing red, like a demon?"
"I'm, uh ... incredibly stoned."
"Oh OK, here are the nuclear codes."
Having learned exactly nothing from the experience, Reagan fell into another demonic plot when he and Mikhail Gorbachev got themselves possessed by Satan himself and a disco-loving supernatural entity known as Deadman.
Satan was like "Ew, why did I get the one with the icky forehead?"
This also led into a physical fight ... but only once Satan and Deadman had moved on to the wives of Reagan and Gorbachev, respectively.
"More like FIST lady!" -A sentence that should have been in this comic.
After the whole Satan business was settled, the president was getting tired of being everyone else's chump and decided to do something about it ...
Chapter 4: Reagan Takes Charge
By his eighth year in office, Ronald Reagan had been kidnapped, impersonated, possessed, and teabagged by a talking truck. Would this parade of indignities ever end? Earlier in his presidency, Reagan had also been the target of an assassination attempt from which he recovered successfully, mainly because it was actually his shape-shifting invulnerable Martian bodyguard who got shot and not him.
"This Jodie Foster fan club situation is getting out of hand."
Unfortunately, the Martian bodyguard wasn't present in 1988 when a superpowered individual caused an explosion right in front of the president's face -- an incident he also recovered from, because it turned out Reagan too was a superpowered individual all this time and had never noticed. More specifically, he had healing abilities that allowed him to shrug off any type of damage and return to normal in no time. Which, yes, was all Marvel Comics' intricate way of making a pun on the phrase "Teflon President."
See, without the hair he's like a different person.
No doubt emboldened by this revelation, Reagan volunteered to take part in an experimental procedure to create Alpha Soldiers and ... uh-oh, hope you're ready for another panel of Reagan without a shirt, because here it comes!
Seriously, how is this a thing?
After Reagan subjected himself to the experiment along with his entire cabinet, the group of elderly politicians emerged as, well, elderly politicians, but with the torsos and stamina of youthful bodybuilders.
Dear God, it's like Rambo IV 20 years before the world was prepared for it.
Reagan was done getting trampled by others: Now he was the one doing the trampling. Over the last year of Reagan's presidency, his Reagan Raiders tackled problems like communism, drug trafficking, and the Vietnam War, because fuck it, they could go fight in wars that had been over for decades if they wanted. (Note that most sources date this historical document to 1986, but record keeping was notoriously shoddy in this era due to all the cocaine particles in the air.)
But did Reagan's daring, ultraviolent adventures with the Raiders impact his legacy today, as we navigate the 21st century? I would say they did, since it was likely the Alpha Soldier experiment that extended Reagan's life and allowed him to remain president today despite being over a century old, most recently using his executive powers to send Superman to kill an elderly Batman in The Dark Knight Returns.
He's talking about himself, clearly.
What does the future hold for President Reagan? Only he knows, for he has been there.