Monday, February 20, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 51: The Last Temptation of Prez Rickard

As William Howard Taft, one of our belovedest and roly-polyest Presidents would say: "Hey hey hey, It's Presidents' Day!" And it is*! You can't sneak much past President Taft, not even a bathtub.

That's why we're gathered here today to salute America's Greatest President (sit down, James K. Polk): Prez Rickard!

Panels from Sandman (1989 series) #54 (October 1993), script by Neil Gaiman, pencils and inks by Michael Allred, colors by Daniel Vozzo, letters by Todd Klein

The religious allegories are pretty obvious even in the DC Universe where Superman has been known to stretch out his arms when hovering and Mxyzptlk frequently turns lemonade into Grapefruit Kryptonite. Prez is brought out to the wasteland and tempted, not with the usual comic-book rewards of fame and power...oh, wait, I've made another one of my silly mistakes. He's tempted with exactly fame and power.

And in a dream...or maybe something more like true waking...he conversates with the Little President Who Thought He Could, Richard M. Nixon, trying to convince our pajamaless protagonist that the best creed you can folliow in the White House is every man for himself. (SHAMELESS CROSS-WEBSITE PROMOTIONAL PLUG: Don't forget to check out my article on 13th Dimension for a rundown of the 13 faces of Richard Nixon in Comics! Don't worry, we'll wipe the taped after you've been there.)

But that's not the way Prez rolls. (Prez Rolls, available at your local supermarket on the specialty breads shelf, new from Staff Bread!) Mind you, it's not that hard to resist Slimy Temptation by Tricky Dick, but I think even you and I might be seduced by the mouthwatering promise of being that one guy who could go to China. No, Prez is in this game we call politics for exactly one thing: everybody else in the United States of America.

And yes, it's truly a better world, pretty close to ours but only a slight vibratory dimension and one good man away. Look, he even saved John Belushi! (Celebrity in a Comic Book, folks!)

And his reward for it all? Well, in the end he gets exactly what we all get: he gets a lifetime.

Wait! One last act of defiance against the expectations of a President. When he discovers his temptor Boss Smiley is in charge "upstairs," Prez (with a little help from that crazy candy-colored clown called the Sandman) chooses another place, another path. Or, to paraphrase General John Stark (no relation to Tony) of New Hampshire: Die free, and live.

'Coz all Prez ever wanted to do was fix things so they ran right.

May we all make the same choice. May our Presidents and Prime Ministers and Premiers and Kings and leaders around the world and throughout the future ever strive to fix things. For all of us. For the dream.

* Offer not valid if you're reading this on not Presidents' Day, or indeed, if I forget to post it on President's Day.

1 comment:

Blam said...

Huh; I thought he turned back around, decapitated Mr. Smiley, left a smear of blood on his face, and buried the head in the wall of the Batcave.