He’s a doodler!


The nerd percentage of President-elect Barack Obama continues to fire the imaginations of comics enthusiasts everywhere, even though, as pointed out in the Beat comment section by junior reporter Darren Hudak, Obama is far from the first comics-loving president.

Reagan’s favorate comic strip was Spider-Man, believe it or not, he said in more then one interview that the first thing he did in the morning was read that days installment of Spidey, he even wrote Stan a fan letter, (how frigging cool is that), Stan mentioned it in an interview sometime in the 80’s. No word on wheter he ever read the comics.

FDR was also a fan of the comics, there are pictures of him reading comic strips to kids, and one picture of him holding a Superman comic with a big smile on his face. A famous story has FDR calling a newspaper to find out how Dick Tracy was going to escape from the bad guys latest and greatest deathtrap because he simply couldn’t wait till the next installment. (Talk about being a fanboy).

There you go, the two greatest presidents of the last century, both COMICS NERDS. Far from adding to an image as a mouth-breaking, anorak-wearing loser, the idea of reading comics has been a great leveler for the men in the White House — evidently sharing the concerns of common folk just like real peeps is a political plus. So maybe we will hear Obama talk about the Superman soon.

Anyway, in addition to his verified comic book reading past, the leftie Obama (left-HANDED) also likes to doodle. One man purchased this senatorial scribble at a charity auction:

Some intense bidding drove the final price up to $2,075, and Berzon later learned he had been bidding against television actress Gillian Anderson of “The X Files,” whose family is deeply involved with the charity.

But Berzon said he figured he still had a bargain in securing the doodle of the announced presidential contender.

Just to complete the “Is Obama a nerd?” news cycle for the day, here’s some picture of Obama posing with the now-iconic Alex Ross T-shirt, which we nicked from Lee Hester’s email newsletter.

  1. Many presidents doodle…

    One should differentiate between comic STRIPS and comic BOOKS. The general public reads comicstrips daily and enjoy them unabashedly. (My mother is a fan of Zits, for example.) Comicbooks, on the other hand, are still considered cutting edge, somewhat marginalized by society, and about twenty years behind the popularity enjoyed by comicstrips.

    On January 4, 1955, President Eisenhower received a group from the National Cartoonist Society, and attended a NCS breakfast on June 24, where he was presented with a silver t-square and a collection of sketches (which were later published).

    And my employer prevents any access to video, but try:
    “Bill Clinton allowed his erstwhile business partner Peter F Pauol, Hillary’s $1.5 million plus contributor to her 2000 Senate campaign, to video tape Bill’s description of his first business as a teen, selling his comic book collection, at fundraiser in Los Amgeles, Feb, 2000.”

    President Clinton also mentioned this during a summer jobs conference at Arlington, Virginia, on April 14, 1993.
    “When the other speakers were talking, I was sitting up here on the
    platform, listening and reveling. And they got talking about work, and I
    got to thinking about all the different things I’ve done to make a
    living in my life. When I was 13, I made a very foolish short-term
    business investment: I set up a comic book stand and sold two trunks
    full of comic books. Made more money than I had ever had in my life. But
    if I had saved those trunks, they’d be worth $100,000 today. [Laughter]”
    (source: Public Papers of the President, 1993, Books I & II)

    So… THREE of the greatest presidents of the Twentieth Century were/are comics fans.

  2. Ronald Reagan? The male version of Palin, is one of “… the two greatest presidents of the last century” Say it isn’t so, Heidi! Reagan should have stuck to doodling:)

  3. As with many historical figures, Ronald Reagan’s effect on history is open to debate. While he was once rather conservative (running against Ford in 1976), he moderated that philosophy four years later. He ended a decade of economic uncertainty with massive government spending, and engaged the Soviet Union actively, allowing Gorbachev to initiate reforms which eventually led to the dissolution of the Warsaw Bloc.

    As the for the last century, I’d say Theodore Roosevelt was the greatest President, followed by his cousin, Franklin. After that? It gets murky, as one has to split the Presidency from the Person. Wilson and Carter had high ideals, but were less successful implementing them. Clinton created a smaller government with a surplus, but his character tarnished his golden age. Same with Nixon, who implemented much environmental legislation and opened relations with Red China. Johnson? He tried to fight two wars at the same time. His social legislations was significant, but the Vietnam War caused much distraction. Reagan? A gifted communicator tainted by numerous scandals among his staff. Everyone else? Pretty much insignificant. (Argue amongst yourselves.)

    Reagan as Governor of California cannot be compared to Palin as Governor of Alaska. Reagan knew how to hold an interview, how to give a speach, and how to communicate. Among various states, California is probably the closest one gets to actually running a country.

    Now if you want to compare Sarah Palin with Dan Quayle, go right ahead!

  4. I agree that there’s no comparison between Reagan and Palin, and that Reagan’s place in history is open to debate but let’s face it, what’s really important is that Hiedi made me a jr reporter. That’s like the coolest thing ever. I wonder if I get a signal watch like Jimmy Olsen has.

  5. Dan Quayle was not looked upon as charasmatic, as having a presence…. Palin by many is looked upon as rejuvinating the party. Reagan was always very much looked upon as ditzy and unknowledgeble.

  6. Torstein:
    “Reagan ended economic uncertainty”
    Even Reagan admitted: about the national debt rising so much because of himself was his “greatest disapointment” -at least he copped to it.
    And any other President would have “allowed” Gorbachev to do what he did, before Gorbechev Reagan’s policies were considered warmongering -let’s mostly give Gorbechev credit.
    As for some more on Reagan’s legacy:
    1)The administration’s stance toward the Savings and Loan industry contributed to the Savings and Loan crisis.2)his administration attempted to purge tens of thousands of allegedly disabled people from the Social Security disability rolls 3)U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, said he caused “an across-the-board breakdown in the machinery constructed by six previous administrations to protect civil rights. 4) Homelessness boomed 5)”Trickle down”is a joke. 6)”Star Wars” his defense thingie was a joke. 7)His war on drugs was a joke. 8)His slow response to AIDs was, well, just plain disusting.
    Anyway I hope we never again see that kind stupidity in a President, and most of all not that kind of economical thinking again:) Yes, Bush took it even one step furhter… but hopefully now people have FINALLY seen the light. Keeping my fingers crossed. (Remember, the general populance was reallyreally stupid in the 80s remember this was the decade when Rambo 2 was way more than a movie, the Boss’ lyrics totally misunderstood, and, well, you get the idea -no wonder this is when Groening’s “Life in Hell” started, when indie rock and rap took off… the mainstream was so horrid and mind numbing)

  7. Clearly the first and last word here on Reagan was that he enjoyed the Spider-Man newspaper strip which is not something that any normal human can possibly do — I leave it to your individual political stances to interpret that positively or negatively.

  8. I always wondered how “anorak” was spelled, since I only ever came into contact with it when the Top Gear presenters would use it. I can actually look it up now!

    (Also: wow Train Spotting is a really disappointingly literal term.)

  9. Like I said, it’s open to debate. I, for one, was seething inside during Reagan’s funeral.

    While Palin seems to have the possibility of becoming a better politician, I was comparing Palin to Quayle on their ineffectiveness and perceived inexperience.

    As for Reagan’s legacy, take a look at this:

    And to close out this discussion, I give you a phrase attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “People get the government they deserve.” Sometimes that’s a curse, sometimes it’s a blessing.

  10. OK, Reagan was important. Next! Obama’s drawings look a little bit like Jules Pfeiffer sketches or even when Alison Bechdel draws men. Man, I could not have a bigger crush on Obama.

    Yes, I know I’ll be let down eventually..let me enjoy it for now.

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