panel from Final Crisis of President Superman

Sort of an amusing confluence of events:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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

How did both companies manage to both hit and miss here?

  1. 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
  2. Jor-El lived in the city “Kryptonopolis.”