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The comics vote

November 4, 2008 | 11:57 am


Obama's comic book is outselling McCain's by 18 percentage points (Obama 59%, McCain 41%), according to IDW, publisher of the graphic novel style biographies of the candidates (more at Hero Complex). Mike Malve, owner of the four Atomic Comics stores in Phoenix (in McCain's home state of Arizona), reports that Obama is outselling not only McCain, but also Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men and Captain America — and as far as we know, the senator from Illinois isn't a mutant and doesn't live in the Bat Cave.

Malve also reports that both candidates are outselling Stephen Colbert, who's running for president in the Marvel Universe, though as of Friday, McCain had only a two-comic-book lead.

"Without a doubt, these were the hardest books I've ever done," says IDW editor Scott Dunbier, who, without contacting either campaign, laboriously fact-checked them over several months. They're straight-forward biographies, and McCain's is arguably the better comic book. His life — graduated near the bottom of his class at Annapolis, war hero, survived torture, married a rich heiress, became a powerful senator — is ready-made for the medium. Obama's past — his childhood conflict over whether he should be called "Barack" or "Barry" — doesn't exactly scream "action hero."

The comics lack advertising, save for the Rock the Vote ad on back, space that IDW gave away for free. On their respective covers, Obama faces left, and McCain faces right. McCain wears a red tie, and Obama wears a blue one. Each candidate is surrounded by a faint, ghostly halo, Obama blue, McCain, red, and each stands against a sky also tinted their party's color. For Obama, it simply looks like blue sky. For McCain, it appears tinged the color of sunset.

Malve is adamant that these comics (like many, he believes) are more for adults than kids. He hasn't given them to his children, but he told his wife that, if she wanted "to know something about the candidates that wasn't plastered all over CNN, read these."

-- Laurel Maury