Top 5: Superhero-President Fights


Superheroes: they claim to fight for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, but when push comes to shove they tend to just push and shove. Democracy, shmemocracy; here’s what our most patriotic heroes think of your “petitioning the government for redress of grievances,” you stupid Bill of Rights!


5. Superman slaps the Cold War away (Action Comics #283)

Sure, Clark was pretty high on red kryptonite when he burst in on them, but he was still pretty sure he could read their minds, and their minds were telling him they were really shape-shifting aliens from the 30th century who came back in time to needlessly torment their universe’s most powerful historical figure. Someone as strong as Superman normally has no business socking middle-aged politicians for fear of liquefying them, but he was sure enough of himself in this case to swoop in and knock the commander in chief’s block back and to the left. This panel teaches us that the Cuban Missile Crisis ended much quicker on Earth-2.

4. Captain America attacks Ronald Reagan in his underwear with an American flag (Captain America #344)

Who could forget the time the Serpent Squad put a toxin in the D.C. drinking water that turned people into snake monsters? Not me; this comic was printed twenty years ago, and I’m still looking for excuses to work the phrase “Ronald Reagan snake monster” into conversations. Cap tried to get the Gipper to safety, but it was already too late; he had no choice but to beat the president over the head with a flag while giving him a civics lecture until he sweated the poison out. This contained no political subtext I am aware of.


3. Spider-Man totally hits Barack Obama! (The Amazing Spider-Man #503)

Hey: it counts.



2. Howard the Duck challenges Ford and Carter… for the presidency (Howard the Duck #8)

Marvel’s misanthropic mallard is the only hero who took on two U.S. presidents at once, and he is the only one who resorted to the legitimate electoral process to do it. As a reward for being the only one on the list to trust the system, Howard was soundly defeated and doomed to live out his life seated next to Jar-Jar Binks at Lucasfilm reunions.


1. Captain America drives Richard Nixon to suicide (Captain America #175)

Man, what is this guy’s problem with presidents from California?

Cap spent a good chunk of the early seventies doing battle with the Secret Empire, finally foiling its attempts to take over the country only to discover the evil, manipulative, power-mad despot under the Cobra Commander mask was none other than Tricky Dick himself. Faced with no other way out, Mr. Nixon killed himself in front of Steve Rogers right there on the White House carpet. That this was a comic that Marvel published about the sitting president probably says more about Nixon than it does about Marvel.


  1. I cannot even believe that numbers 4 and 5 actually saw print.  They are completely fantastic!  The Presidential Pimp-Slap should get double duty for panel of the week.

    Ronald Reagan:  Snake Monster is a one-shot I would buy the hell out of

  2. Action Comics #283 (early 60s) fell in the Silver Age => Earth-1!!

    Was this an imaginary story? I know I have this issue bagged in my Silver Age longbox, but I’m not willing to open just to reread this story. Was it showcased?

  3. @Cheezedog – It’s a "real" story. As Jimski said, it was actually an alien dressed up as JFK and Superman had to stop by way of a chin slap. It’s reprinted in SHOWCASE PRESENTS SUPERMAN v. 3.

    @Jimski – Great list. I’ve heard of Ronald Reagan: Snake Creature but have never seen it before. Nice! Cap also tackles Nixon? For a guy named ‘Captain America,’ he seems to fight a lot with the highest office in the land. Oh, and I laughed at #3.

  4. @JeffR I wonder how many internal injuries Superman’s punches have caused over the years. How does he know how much power to put behind each one?

    Some of those Silver Age comics explicity states that they were imaginary. Others, just had to assume (and hope).

    e.g. I remember a Superboy storyline where Clark discovers the Kents had a previous alien son before Clark came along. I think they revisited that over a few separate stories, but I could never work out whether it was a silly imaginary story, or part of continuity. Come on, what are the chances of finding TWO alien babies in a lifetime??

  5. ‘hey it counts!’

  6. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    That you have such a mental catalog of comic absurdities at your disposal both disturbs and delights me. Mostly, I’m just jealous. 

    Also, seriously, the most awkwardly posed fist bump in the history of illustration.  

  7. That biatch slap from Superman must have snapped JFK’s neck … and here I’d thought all along that it was Lee Harvey Oswald’s fault.  I hope somebody informs Oliver Stone of this.

    Also, I think Reagan actually looks better as a serpent monster.  Nice look for him.

  8. "Grover Cleveland spanked me on two non-consecutive occasions."

  9. I’m more shocked Marvel got away with letting Nixon commit suicide! Bad enough you made the president the ultimate evil (then again it is Nixon, so fair game) but to make him shoot himself? That is ballsy even in today’s world.

  10. Nixon kills himself in front Captain America? Remember, it’s Marvel, so it’s your world.

  11. No Afrodisiac vs. Nixon?

  12. These are all perfect and number five is by far my favorite.

    Also did Howard the Duck have a running mate when he ran for presidency?

  13. Turning the Great Communicator, a conservative pioneer, and the most heralded Republican in the last 50 years, into a snake? And teabaggers have a problem with a few signs in a comic that sells a fraction of what that 80s issue did? My, the times have changed.

    For what it’s worth, I LOVED snake Reagan vs. non-Captain America Steve Rogers.

  14. Savage Dragon had a good skrimish w/ George W. Bush.

  15. The thing that sucks is you can’t do that’s stuff anymore. Just look at all the crap they took for talking about teabaggers in Cap.

  16. TimmyWood: I don’t think Howard had a running mate, but he did run as the All-Night Party candidate.

  17. I wish I could have included every panel from that Reagan fight, by the way. He is clothed when we first see him; upon encountering Cap, he seems to spontaneously spring out of his pajamas like a leathery jack-in-the-box.

  18. I dig how Cap is able to eloquently rattle off a noble 70+ word monologue just as he’s leaping over a charging Reagan Snakeman.  Plus "Tssss" is pithy comeback for Cap.

  19. This was awesome.

    Would have enjoyed a President Luthor honorary mention tho 

  20. I must own a copy of Captain America #175. Nothing against Nixon, but for the shear shock of the content.