Sort of an amusing confluence of events:
- DC decides to do a political story called DCU: Decisions around election season featuring its characters choosing sides in the race. Except they use fictional candidates, and the story is poorly drawn and written. No one cares.
- Marvel decides to do a Spider-Man issue that features Barack Obama in a 5-page back-up story of serviceable writing and art quality. It’s a huge, sellout success. (Despite that they botched the covers, releasing the Obama cover as a rare variant, which most customers don’t understand. Still, big success. The second and third printings feature Obama on all the covers. Last night when I was in my comic book store someone came in and bought three copies. The clerk then failed to bother to upsell him on anything, thereby squandering a great chance to sell him something else for himself or his kids that might turn them into regular customers.)
- At the same time, Marvel bets on the wrong horse in the actual election, having Norman Orsborn, a big-time villain, take over the operations of SHIELD and generally staying with the tone of the Bush administration where we can’t trust our government. No hope to be found.
- DC releases a book that was supposed to come out in December, but due to artistic delays only just came out this week, eight days after President Obama’s inauguration. It features an alternate- Earth black president who’s also Superman.¹
How did both companies manage to both hit and miss here?
- DC actually once published a story about Vathlo Island, a nation on Krypton that featured dark-skinned Kryptonians. Morrison here is taking this fairly embarrassing part of DC’s history and turning it around, imagining a world where a Vathlo citizen sent his only son to Earth instead of Jor-El.²
- Jor-El lived in the city “Kryptonopolis.”