Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Oddball Super Heroes: Simon Says...Hail to the Chief, Dude!

Hi there! Dave-El here and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, a mere door knob of a blog in the great White House of the internet.

As we count down to the release of Captain America: Civil War, I'm using this regular Wednesday blog feature, Oddball Super Heroes, to look back at some of the strange characters that sprang from the mind of Captain America's co-creator, Joe Simon.

By the 1970's, Joe Simon was a middle aged man but he was determined to tap into minds of young people. After the aborted attempt at examining the hippie lifestyle with Brother Power the Geek, Joe Simon looked to tap into the youth culture of the tumultuous early 1970s with his next series, Prez: First Teen President which he co-created with artist Jerry Grandinetti. 

This series followed the adventures of a teenage boy whose mother thought so much that her son would grown up to be President of the United States, she named him Prez. Young and idealistic, Prez Rickard runs afoul of Boss Smiley, a disreputable businessman with a smiley face for a head.


Prez Rickard becomes a US Senator and then, when the Constitution is amended to lower the eligible age for being President to 18, Prez goes on to become President of the United States.

Because...why not?

He names his mother as Vice President and gives his sister a job as his secretary. Nepotism, it seems, is not an issue for President Prez. For director of the FBI, Prez appoints his Native American buddy Eagle Free (he was called that because he was completely devoid of eagles) who had taught Prez in multiple fighting techniques.

Which came in handy when it came time to negotiate with Congress on balancing the budget.

Nah, I'm kidding! Prez used those fighting skills to take on evil vampires, evil chess players, the evil great-great-great-great-great-grandnephew of George Washington and, of course, the evil dastardly machinations of evil Boss Smiley.  

Prez survived an assassination attempt in issue #4 but Prez: First Teen President did not survive to a 5th issue.  Like Brother Power the Geek before, there was an issue of Prez ready to go but the book was cancelled abruptly. Later, the story saw print in DC's Cancelled Comics Cavalcade#2*.

*And if you're wondering what a Cancelled Comics Cavalcade is, well, that would make a very good topic for a future blog post. 

Prez Rickard did make one more appearance in 1974 in an issue of Supergirl. Although the Prez comic book series was clearly in its own continuity, writer Cary Bates presents Prez as the US President of Earth One in the DC Universe. Although a likeable lad, it seems President Prez is once more the target of assassination but gets saved thanks to Supergirl. (Hey, where's the Secret Service? Hello? Secret Service? Hello?)

Versions of Prez Rickard made appearances in the 1990s in DC's Vertigo imprint in a couple of stories by Neil Gaiman and Ed Brubaker.

A brand new Prez was launched in 2015 from writer Mark Russell and artist Ben Caldwell. This time the teenage President is a girl named Beth Ross who gets elected in 2036 via Twitter. The original Prez is represented in the form of Preston Rickard who serves as Beth's Vice President

And that's that for Prez Rickard. Which is a shame because given the current state of politics and the Presidential campaign, I think we could really use that dude right about now. 


Next week, we look at two (count 'em, TWO!) creations from Joe Simon, a pair of strange teams, one of whom used money as a super power.

Meanwhile, there's a new post up tomorrow. Probably going to bitch about Ted Cruz some more, I guess.

Until next time, remember to be good to one another.   

Prez for the 21st century by Mike Allred 

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