Erik Larsen is a fairly popular comics creator who once drew Spider-Man for Marvel. I don't like his art; it's way too "cartoony" for my tastes and it looks like artist Mark Bagley's (who also drew -- and draws -- Spider-Man) if Bagley had arthritis in his drawing arm. But that's beside the point. What caught my eye recently is Larsen's latest column at Comic Book Resources where the teaser said he discusses politics.
Gee, for some reason I had a sneaking suspicion (with apologies to Fritz Schranck) that he wasn't going to be very congenial towards conservatives. And that's putting it mildly.
You might think you're in for an even-handed treatment when you read the following:
I'm a fairly well versed political beast. I read a lot and follow the issues and agree and disagree with both sides of the political aisle. My leaning is pretty liberal (Ed. -- stay tuned!) but that doesn't mean that I'm towing either political line. I wasn't a big Bill Clinton fan and I'm certainly not a George W. Bush fan. I like the government fixing my roads, but not censoring what I can say in my comics and what I can see on TV.
Don't be fooled. First, Larsen's [brief] history of how American presidents have been treated in comics completely glosses over the fact that one of the country's most popular commanders-in-chief -- Ronald Reagan -- was habitually treated as a total, complete and irrevocable cretin by Marvel throughout his administration. (I briefly discuss this here.) Second, while Larsen may technically be correct in that George W. Bush personally has not been the "butt" of direct denigration, his policies have to the Nth degree.
And back to Larsen's claiming to be "pretty liberal": Do "pretty liberal" folks believe in the following (emphasis mine):
Here's a guy whose criminal activity dwarfs Richard Nixon's by a wide margin, who cheated his way into the Oval Office -- twice -- and who has been hailed by many in both political parties as the single world [sic] president ever ...
"Pretty liberal"?? In my humble opinion, radical leftists believe that Bush is a "criminal" that dwarfs Nixon, and that he "stole" not one, but two elections. However, to Larsen's credit, he clearly recognizes that creators who politicize their stories run a risk -- and he makes no excuses for any negative fan feedback:
Editorializing on the comic book page is risky business. There's always a huge risk of offending or alienating a good chunk of your audience. Like religion, it's a touchy subject. Say or do the wrong thing and readers will drop your book like a bad habit.
It's no wonder my sales figures are in freefall. But we'll get to that subject later…
Maybe that's 'cause Larsen's own creation, Savage Dragon, was featured on a cover of his mag punching President Bush in the face. But as noted, Larsen knows this wasn't ... a smart thing to do:
Now, I think old George is a guy who well-deserves a good poke in the snoot but in writing the story, it really hit home that what I was doing was, well, wrong and that it wasn't possible to do it right regardless of what I did.
I'm not entirely certain, but Larsen may have not allowed that particular issue issue into print. (He says, "Ultimately, I chickened out. I decided to play it safe rather than risk offending." But was that the story or the cover? I couldn't tell.) But this doesn't stop him from more conspiracy-mongering, however:
I tackled computer hacking and stolen elections a bit shortly thereafter, but unfortunately the GOP utilized the plot I had earmarked for my villain with their hijinx in Ohio and it pretty well took the wind out of my sails. One more reason to avoid politics altogether, I thought.
Darn! That nasty Republican Party actually used a Larsen plot idea before he could get it into print! Dammit!! Next, maybe Larsen could have his Savage Dragon uncover the conspiracy behind 9/11. Y'know, kidnap the president, tie him up, and beat the s*** out of him (sort of to also make a "point" about the administration's "favorable" view of torture) until he "reveals" how the administration, the CIA and the NSA were actually behind the attack on the World Trade Center that fateful September morning.
I mean, why not, Erik? There's probably more "evidence" to back up that theory than the GOP "stealing" the 2004 election, after all!