So. Enough of those guys. Let's get on to Theodore Roosevelt.
Roosevelt was the first new President of the twentieth century, succeeding to the office following the assassination of William McKinley. The differences between McKinley and Roosevelt are striking: McKinley looks the very model of a nineteenth-century man, Roosevelt a symbol of the big new booming prosperity of the twentieth. Let's put it this way: which of these two men would you rather have a beer with?:
Yeah, I thought so.
Panel from House of Secrets #10 (July 1997), script by Steven T. Seagle, pencils by Christian Højgaard, inks by Teddy Kristiansen, colors by Bjarne Hansen, letters by Todd Klein
Here's Theodore Roosevelt himself from the pages of House of Secrets, moments before he punches Swamp Thing right in the face with the power of awesome Presidencity. Then, he arm-wrestles Mark Merlin at the same time he kickboxes Eclipso back to the moon and...wait a minute, this is not the House of Secrets miniseries I thought it was. This one's about the emo girl who was serving as an agent on earth for a mystical jury. Well, Roosevelt woulda punched her in the face, too.
Especially if she called him "Teddy," a nickname he vehemently dislikedit had been given to him by his first wife, and after he death he hated to hear it. I joke about him kickin' your ass, but the fact it, he probably could have done so. Read a biography of the man sometimesI'm fond of the Edmund Morris bioand you'll see just how energetic and adventurous his life was, before, after, and during his Presidency. You expect him to sound like Brian Blessed or Don LaFontaine, but contemporary audio recordings show us Roosevelt had a thin and reedy voice. Comic books, being a silent medium, therefore are the ideal medium for Theodore Roosevelt. In short, I'd go so far as to say he's America's first super-hero president. For, example, here's brawler and time traveler Roosevelt from the (sadly out of print) graphic novel Tales from the Bully Pulpit:
Page from Tales from the Bully Pulpit (2004), script by Benito Cereno, pencils and inks by Graeme MacDonald, colors by Ron Riley, letters by Chad Manion
The portrayal may be science fiction, but the personality isn't far off from which history tells us about Roosevelt: he was a well-educated and well-off man of the Progressive Era, but never forget he was an athlete, a boxer, an ornithologist, a historian, a cattleman, a cavalry rider, and the New York City Police Commissioner.
Panels from Batman: Detective No. 27 (December 2003), script by Michael Uslan, pencils and inks by Peter Snejbjerg, colors by Lee Loughridge, lettering by Kurt Hathaway
This Batman Elseworlds story doesn't team-up Bruce Wayne and Theodore Roosevelttheir history takes place at different timesbut imagine a true team-up between the two, where Roosevelt replaces Jim Gordon as the Police Commissioner of Gotham. Think of it as a heavily detailed and psychological historical period crime drama: like The Alienist, but with the Darknight Detective. Cool, huh?
Here is, by far, my favorite Roosevelt comic book appearance:
Here's President Theodore Roosevelt coming to the aid of a beleaguered fort in Calisota, USA: regathering his Rough Riders, the Prez launches a full-on attack against the robber baron who's trying to set up his estate on top of Killmotor Hill. It's,,,yes, you probably guessed it by now...
Panels from The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck (1996), by Don Rosa
Scrooge McDuck? Why, yes it is. And it turns out, Scroogy and Roosie are old frontier-days pals:
What the?!? What the Sam Scratch is Scrooge McDuck doin' here? How did he and Theodore Roosevelt turn out to be pals? Why is Roosevelt such an important man to Scrooge? And how does Scrooge get away with walking around with no pants on?
Well, turn back the calendar to 1882 (or turn back the pages of The Life and Times Of Scrooge McDuck), a time when Scrooge was riding the range and earning his fortune in the Montana Badlands, and you'll find out just what an inspiration
Lady-bulls and gentleducks, I submit to you that Theodore Roosevelt is one of the most important persons in the Disney Universe: his philosophy and hard-work ethic has inspired one of the greatest comic book characters of all time. Without Roosevelt: no Money Bin, no Beagle Boys, no square eggs, no Magica DaSpell, no adventures to far-off lands and derring-do punctuated by lifesaving tips from the Junior Woodchucks Handbook. In short, you can take your Mopees and your Jor-Els and your radioactive spiders and your Rick Joneses: all of them responsible for the creations of great heroes, yes, but were any of them Presidents? No. Did any of them charge up San Juan Hill?No. Did Jor-El ever get his picture on a bubble-gum card, huh? Did he? Did he? Did he?!? Well, this guy did:
So. Theodore Roosevelt. Heckuva guy. And I bet you thought I liked him only because of his catchphrase: