It’s President’s Day here in the United States, so for today, let’s look at one particularly odd fictional president. He was incorruptible, idealistic, and way too young to be legally elected in the real world. His name was Prez Rickard.
And yes, I am aware my math is wrong on the photo captioned above if Prez is an 18 year old president. But no one would sit for a “three more years” joke anyway.
Created in 1973, Prez was the brainchild of Captain America co-creator Joe Simon and artist Jerry Grandenetti. Given the real world lowering of the voting age to 18, the two played with the idea of a young man of that age getting elected to the highest office in the land due to a number of factors that probably would never work in the real world. This was complicated by the fact that the fictional Prez named his mother Vice President. That actually is illegal, but not for the reason you might think. It’s actually against the law for the president and the vice president to be from the same state, or so I heard once out in the schoolyard, and if you can’t trust schoolyard information, what can you trust?
Prez also appointed a Native American named Eagle Free head of the FBI, and naturally, he wore his “native” clothes on the job while accompanied by a variety of animal associates. I am sure that’s not racist, and that this sentence is not sarcastic.
Prez actually dealt with real politics. That may be why the original series only lasted four issues. Or it may be part of something known as the DC Implosion which saw a lot of sudden cancelations. Issue #5 would get reprinted later. But how did Prez deal with politics? Well, let’s take a lot at a sample panel:
Prez might have been a long forgotten side character, but then he came back ever-so-briefly in a single issue of a fairly influential series. I’d show him hanging out with the main character, but I found something else instead that was way cooler.
Yes, Neil Gaiman did a whole issue of Sandman in Prez’s world, recounting his backstory, his love of clocks, and his old nemesis Boss Smiley before Prez and Morpheus had a brief chat and Prez walked off into the Dreaming to find a world that needed him. That is…unbelievably cool actually. It’s much better than other attempts to create a a comic book superhero president.
Prez actually has become sort of the default character to use whenever DC wants a fictional president. Frank Miller had a middle-aged one as his holographic president under the control of Lex Luthor and Brainiac in the rather awful The Dark Knight Strikes Again. He even appeared on the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
DC recently announced a new Prez series to come about after Convergence, but it looks like this one will be a new, female 18 year old president. That said, it looks like Prez even got an Earth to call his own in the new 52, so I’m sure he’s lurking out there, poised to strike with his veto pen. Watch out, filibusters! Prez is here!