In honor of Election Night 2010, let's remember the bizarre historical minutiae comic books have taught us about the ol' U.S. of A. You know, like the time Henry Kissinger met Doctor Doom.
10.) Batgirl and Robin battled Benedict Arnold and Satan (Batman Family 1, 1975)
At a certain point in her pre-Crisis career, Barbara Gordon was a congresswoman down in Washington DC. During one particularly memorable adventure, Dick Grayson (who was still masquerading as Robin) visited her at the capital, where they battled Benedict Arnold and his spectral turncoat army. Of course, in the DC Universe, nobody bats an eyelash when historical figures come back from the dead with murder in their hearts.
Was Benedict Arnold an alias of Clayface or a hallucination created by the Scarecrow? Goodness, no — that would make too much sense. No, General Arnold was an agent of Satan. Honestly, Lucifer really phoned in this attempt at global domination.
Why didn't he tap Genghis Khan to darkly seduce Superman or recruit Lizzie Borden to throw down with Big Barda? You're really lowballing your aspirations when you choose a man famous for quitting to conquer two teenage acrobats.
9.) Cobra Commander loves America (G.I. Joe 100, 1990)
In the "Seeds of Empire" story arc from Marvel's old-school G.I. Joe series, Cobra Commander becomes the leader of the small town of Millville. He does this by way of a hostile takeover, but he writes a kick-ass stump speech.
On this occasion, Cobra Commander eschews the pageantry for coercion and mind control.
However, Cobra Commander does love a good marching band.
8.) Captain America watched Richard Nixon kill himself (Captain America 180, 1974)
Around the time of the Watergate scandal, Captain America writer Steve Englehart channeled public dissatisfaction with the presidency by (implicitly) transforming Richard Nixon into the head of the nefarious Secret Empire. Nixon's suicide causes Captain America to become jaded with the American Dream and to adopt the decidedly non-patriotic identity of Nomad, a footloose, allegiance-less superhero who dressed like a dungeon master (and not of the Gary Gygax variety). Of course, this run-in with Nixon is nothing compared to our next entry...
7.) Ronald Reagan turned into a tighty whitey-sporting snake-man (Captain America 344, 1988)
It was the Serpent Society's scheme, natch.
6.) Scalphunter armwrestled Abraham Lincoln (Weird Western Tales 53, 1979)
If you sleep with a copy of Weird Western Tales 53 under your mattress post-coitus, any children you conceive will be born with a full beard.
5.) George Washington came back from the dead to spout misogyny (Wonder Woman 5, 1943)
In one of Wonder Woman's earliest appearances, the villainous Dr. Psycho uses his psychic powers to impersonate the ghost of General George Washington. His scheme? To convince military authorities to arrest Wonder Woman or something. I'm just a civilian, but I'm pretty sure ghosts fall outside the military chain of command.
4.) Nixon's White House discussed SHIELD funding (Captain America 144, 1971)
In this panel, Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird discuss SHIELD funding after a powwow with Nick Fury. Given that aliens invade the Marvel Universe's Earth ever other Tuesday, there's something deliciously banal about seeing politicians discuss SHIELD's budget. As you can see, the veep is enthralled with the prospect of earmarking your tax dollars towards Femme Force. Speaking of which...
3.) Nixon once told Reed Richards to shut up (Fantastic Four 103, 1970)
Did Nixon cameo in every Marvel comic in the Seventies? That man was like the gorilla of the Bronze Age of comics. Anyway, this panel is awesome because Nixon is one of the few people in the Marvel Universe ballsy enough to tell Reed Richards he's full of crap given that A.) Reed Richards never is; and B.) the US treasury of the Marvel Universe is funded with leprechaun gold the Fantastic Four steal from the Negative Zone.
2.) Adolf Hitler, the source of American racial unrest (Fantastic Four 21, 1963)
After Hitler survives World War II, he adopts the identity of the purple-hooded "Hate Monger," visits Manhattan to host anti-immigrant rallies, runs afoul of the Fantastic Four, and dies when his "Hate Ray" malfunctions (his henchmen go blind with vitriol and kill him). The Hate Monger was later retconned to be a clone of Hitler, but the idea of the Fantastic Four accidentally killing der Führer is so out there that it deserves to be Marvel canon.
1.) Dr. Doom thwarted the Fantastic Four...with the power of Henry Kissinger (Super-Villain Team-Up 6, 1976)
Presented without comment.
Top image is via Chris Sims' Invincible Super Blog, and it's worth checking out his analysis of Lincoln's future assassination. Also, I was going to include Prez on here, but didn't. Why? One of these days, I'm going to write a 90-paragraph post imploring DC Comics to renew it.