Whether you love him or hate him…I just hope you have enough passion to read my blog! The passing of Rush Limbaugh equates to the loss of an American cultural icon. During 3-plus decades of radio success, he parodied liberal Democratic Presidents and mostly revered conservative Republican presidents. Let’s review some comic cameos by presidents representing both parties. It’s right-wing versus left-wing comic cameos! Mark your ballot and select the candidate collectible of your choice.
Spider-Man ‘Rush’es to Support President Barack Obama
I doubt a president has been treated so favorably in comic books since Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy in Superman #170. First up, representing the left-wing team, President Barack Obama scored big starring with Spider-Man in ASM #583. Not only did America’s first African-American president dominate the cover, he did it five times. That is, the first printing of the Obama variant led the way for four more flavors of the cover. I think the last one with President Lincoln in the background stood apart. Ironically, Lincoln holds the distinction as the first Republican president.
Over 1,000 graded 9.8 copies of the first Obama printing exist. GoCollect FMV of $180 suggests the Democratic faithful are scooping up issues. I heard even Hillary Clinton bought a copy to display and another to read (Okay, I made that up!). The Lincoln 5th printing snags the second-highest FMV at $80. I’m always baffled by reprint price disconnect.
In case you are wondering, Superman #170 in graded 9.6 sold for $1,200 last year. Kennedy starred in the backup story. Amazingly, the original art for the ten-page story resides in the JFK Library. Apparently, it was planned for auction but DC Comics purchased it to make the donation.
Right Wingers to Honor Rush Limbaugh’s Passing
Two fellows named George Bush held the POTUS title during Rush Limbaugh’s reign as the king of talk radio. Neither enjoyed the adoration felt by Obama nor the scorn endured by Trump. President George the 1st fared well with a few interesting comic book cameos.
A dignified Bush appeared in Doctor Doom’s Revenge Page 6 by Rich Buckler and Tony DeZuniga. The art featured a star-struck Spidey and a President whose faith in Cap was resolute. It sold for $336 in 2019. George shared the spotlight with Barbara, Mikael Gorbachev, and Doctor Doom in a group of six daily Spider-Man strips that sold for only $207 in 2003. Other dailies in the group featured Howard Stern, Larry King, and even Stan the Man in the art by Lee’s brother Larry Lieber. I suspect if Spider-Man clashed with Green Goblin in any of those strips they would have sold higher. Though honorable, the elder President Bush probably doesn’t captivate collectors.
Possibly due to relaxed editorial standards, George W dropped in for many comic cameos during his eight years in the 2000s. One that caught my attention appeared in Authority #15. Apparently, the story is set in George W. Bush’s New World Order administration. While that seems a stretch to me, I noticed the page because of Frank Quitely’s art. Quitely is next up in my series on 21st Century Da Vincis. Did ‘W’ boost this art by his appearance? I doubt it. But it did sell for $2,040 compared to a similar page by Quitely that sold the same day for $1,440.
Though I’m not reviewing editorial cartoons, Mad magazine, or politically oriented strips like Doonesbury–George W and the next President on the list have “graced” many of those pages.
Never Passes on the Left
President William Jefferson Clinton’s foibles never got a pass. Reviewing some art sales featuring the “boy from Hope”, parody artists never passed up a good opportunity either. However, let’s keep this blog dignified.
The double-page splash by Norm Breyfogle fetched a modest $552 in 2019. Fans of Dale Keown’s the Pitt may prefer Clinton’s $746 splash sale from 2013. Rather than going political, Breyfogle enthusiasts may want to vote with their money on Batman, while Keown’s posse crowns Hulk king.
President Clinton had his detractors and his devotees, the passing of Rush Limbaugh reminds us of the two-term president from the roaring nineties.
The Revered Ronald Reagan
Undoubtedly, the modern president most revered by Rush starred in Bedtime for Bonzo. The man who told Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” also carved out a nice movie career. Fawcett Movie Comics don’t have the pizzazz of other comics featuring old movies, but some spotlighted major stars. Besides, Reagan, actors like Jimmy Stewart and Elizabeth Taylor also appeared on covers. At present, this title doesn’t have much of a market. The most recent sale of issue #14 fetched $152. Thirteen years earlier it sold for 3 times the price.
On the positive side, I love John Byrne’s rendition of President Reagan in Legends #2. Byrne truly captured ‘the great communicator’ in a page that sold for $5,760 in 2020. Byrne’s Superman art falls well short of demand for his X-Men pieces. So, nearly six grand is an excellent price for the page that features Ronald Reagan, Superman, and George Bush, in that order!
Rush, Trump, and other Parodies
Many lampooned Rush. I found one comic that sort of featured him. Mars Attack #4 bizarrely featured Martians seeking to kill all Terrans because they “wanted Rush Limbaugh’s head”. I have no idea what that’s all about, but you are welcome to the link. The last full-term presidency in Rush’s life was held by Donald Trump. The man who made “You’re Fired” a catchphrase often got roasted by various media. I won’t go into all his many cameos here.
Middle of the Road Moderates
It doesn’t always pay to take a side. Some people are comfortable walking right down the middle of the road. If you ride that political fence, I suggest Captain America: Man Out Of Time #3. Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary beautifully rendered EVERY President from Roosevelt to Obama. At least it appears Hitch hand-drew each of the Presidents during the life-span of Captain America. I hope it’s not a cheap photoshop effect! The hardcover edition is available for ten to twenty dollars plus shipping on eBay.
Seriously, though. It’s time to come together as a nation. No longer passing judgment on the collecting tastes of another. Let our nation be a place where fans of Rush Limbaugh and Joe Biden flip through comics side by side. If Captain America can proudly serve leaders from both aisles, if Superman can be the world’s most beloved illegal alien, can’t we all just get along?
Get your business in front of thousands of eyes. Click below for more advertising info!