Our opening art comes from Stan Lee Presents Election Daze: What Are They Really Saying? [Filsinger Publishing; $9.95], a disappointing humor book combining images by Lauren Victoria Burke with dialogue ostensibly written by Lee. I'm clinging to the hope "presents" means Stan didn't write all of the gags himself, because this book isn't anywhere near as much fun as those spiffy monster humor books he did back in the 1960s and 1970s.
How disappointed am I? So disappointed that, even though my copy is clearly defective (several blank pages), I haven't bothered to return it to Amazon. So disappointed that I can't bring myself to give it a full review or score. That disappointed.
But I thought the Fred Thompson gag was funny and decided it would make a good opening for the results of the Tony Polls, in which we asked voters to choose the political affiliations of a dozen comics heroes and villains.
Here are those results...
What do you think is the most likely political affiliation of THE BATMAN?
If Wonder Woman were an American citizen, I think she would find common ground on social issues with the better angels of the Democratic Party. But I could also see her going Independent when the Dems fail to walk the walk.
What do you think is the most likely political affiliation of GREEN LANTERN (Hal Jordan)?
Jordan misused the great power entrusted to him, much like our current President. He'll vote for John McCain, who, when you think about, does look a little like one of the Guardians. The other and cooler Green Lantern is a Democrat.
What do you think is the most likely political affiliation of SPIDER-MAN?
Peter Parker is a scientist and the current Republican Party is anti-science. He's also been a public school teacher and, as such, as seen first-hand how the GOP is more than willing to leave a great many children behind. He'll surely vote for the Democratic Party nominee. I'm not so sure about Aunt May, though. She might have a crush on McCain.
What do you think is the most likely political affiliation of THE PUNISHER?
The Punisher is a Republican. Wikipedia describes him as "a vigilante who considers murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence and torture to be acceptable crime-fighting tactics." I'm surprised Bush didn't try to put the Punisher on the Supreme Court.
What do you think is the most likely political affiliation of THE FLASH (Wally West)?
On the Flash, I disagree with the majority. I see Wally West as an Independent. As a super-speedster, he'd be far too impatient with the two major parties to support either of them. He'd want change and he'd want it now!
If they voted as a bloc, what do you think would be the most likely political affiliation of THE X-MEN?
These poll questions were inspired by a piece written by Mike Seuffert, a local right-wing columnist. Several voters complained that it was unfair to ask them to name the political affiliation of the X-Men, saying the individual mutants wouldn't necessarily all support the same party. I agree, but, since Seuffert lumped them together in his column, I did the same in these questions. If I go with his "voting as a bloc" theory, I agree with him that Marvel's merry mutants would most likely be Democrats. As he wrote:
"They've been used as a metaphor for civil rights in the '60s and gay rights today, plus their entire existence is based on evolution, so it would probably be hard to argue intelligent design with them."
On the other hand, TOT reader Dave Van Domelen made an excellent point in this brief e-mail:
Actually, the X-Men owe their existence to Intelligent Design. The whole "after making Eternals and Deviants, the Celestials adjusted baseline humans to allow for the possibility of beneficial mutations" thing.
Maybe some of the X-Men are Republicans.
What do you think is the most likely political affiliation of AQUAMAN?
If Aquaman is eligible to vote, I think he'd vote Independent. Swamp Thing could talk him into joining the Green Party.
I hope you had as much fun with these questions as I did...and I'm hoping you'll help me keep the fun going a little while longer. If you dispute any of the above results, or any of my choices, feel free to send me e-mails I can share with your fellow TOT readers. I'd especially like to hear opposing viewpoints from comics writers and artists and editors who have worked on these characters...and from fans who have devoted blogs of websites to these characters. But this request goes out to any TOT readers, regardless of their past or present affiliation with these characters.
If you'd like to discuss the political leanings of characters not included in these questions, that would also be very cool. Is the Red Tornado a Republican? Is the Blue Beetle a Democrat? Who gets Donald Duck's vote?
Send your political musings to me at:
This week's Tony Polls ask you to consider the impact of the recent Superman copyright ruling on comics creators, comics publishers, and the comics industry in general. The online ballot box will remain open until sometime after midnight Tuesday morning, April 15. You can cast your votes here:
On learning of the death of comics legend Jim Mooney, my friend, neighbor, and sometimes employer Tom Batiuk wrote the following and asked me to post it around the Internet:
I was saddened to hear about Jim Mooney's passing. About a year ago, Tony Isabella wrote a sweet little Funky Winkerbean Sunday strip featuring my characters as Superman and Supergirl. He suggested I contact Jim to actually draw the Superman characters. I did and found him to be one of the nicest and genuine individuals you'd want to encounter. Jim agreed to draw the Sunday and did a wonderful job. The strip will run Sunday, April 13, and could quite possibly be Jim's last published work. If so, I feel privileged to have been a small part of it.
I'm working on a Jim Mooney tribute which will hopefully post next week. For now, I'll just say that, from the first time I saw Mooney's "Tommy Tomorrow" in Action Comics...to all those terrific Supergirl, Dial H For Hero, and Spider-Man comics...to the issues of my Ghost Rider run he drew...to the convention I spent sitting next to him and his terrific wife, Anne...to this last time I was fortunate enough to have him draw something I wrote, Jim was always an absolute delight. He was a great artist and a great man. I'll miss him.
Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back on Monday with more stuff.
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.
Please send material you would like me to review to: