Prez’s Cabinet

I’m trying to remember.  Was Neil Young portrayed at the end of Ed Brubaker and Eric Shanower’s 1994 “Prez” (reviewed here, and with a quotation of regret here)– sitting alongside the ham-handed likeness of Kurt Cobain and a supporting band made up of … well, the comic book was kind of embarrassing.

I would like to call Brubaker and Shanower’s recreation of Prez ridiculous, but that would ignore that the original creation was rather ridiculous.  The first image on this page shows the teenage president’s Cabinet.  When I get a chance, I’ll save and post the second image, which shows the corrupt Political Boss, Boss Smiley.  I don’t know if Boss Smiley counts as a “bad guy”, but other “bad guys” battled by Prez — he’s more hawkish than you think.

In that sense, this was a more faithful to the spirit of the original than I’d suppose.  Brubaker has done better work.  The answer to the question “What?” would be roughly everything before this and roughly everything after — I’m particularly fond of the third issue of Lowlife, the DHP serialization “Here and Now”, and the Wildstorm comic “Point Blank”.  A caveat against the rule that everything else was better might be that weird and pointless tiny 8 page mini-comic “Bad Eggs”, a comic about the “Little Lowlifes” going out on a night of egging — which seemed to exist to run through a batch of green ink.

Actually, come to think of it, that weirdly haloed world of rock musicians might fit Prez into the same genre category as Sonic Disruptors … (hm.)  And Neil Young figures into Prez, if he did, because — as classic rock radio always said through the 1990s — he is the grand-father of Grunge  — (er… I … guess?  Because, as noted elsewhere, he looks a wee bit rugged… and is of the “crunchy” aesthetic as opposed to smooth).  The politics of the thing has something to do with the music as a force of uncorrupted good against a sea-shore of a corrupt political machine.

Hm.  I wonder how Liberality Now is doing in our new Obama led political epoch.

4 Responses to “Prez’s Cabinet”

  1. ericshanower Says:

    Neither Neil Young nor Kurt Cobain were portrayed in “Prez: Smells Like Teen President.” At the time, I didn’t know what either of them looked like, so there was no way I could draw them into the story. If you think that either of them is portrayed in it, that’s something you brought to your reading, not something I drew.

    We definitely were trying to maintain a continuity with the original Prez, although “embarrassing” and “ridiculous” were not our aims. We also had to sandwich in some references to Prez’s appearance in “Sandman,” but that was because the powers-that-be at DC/Vertigo told us to.

    I was strictly forbidden to make any overt reference to Prez’s connection with the Superman universe, but managed to slip in a veiled reference to it as blatantly as I could.

    I love most of Ed’s work–I share your fondness for Lowlife #3. I admit he’s produced a few clunkers, but I hardly think Prez is his worst published work. Guess I’m biased, though.

  2. Justin Says:

    Guess I’m biased, though.

    Yes. Hey, though — I liked Accidental Death. And if it matters, and while undoubtedly you can’t completely disentangle these things with you probably having some items of collaberation in writing or at least story ideas, your art is stellar. With respect to Prez, I think I probably come across here with a stronger opinion against Prez than I actually have.

    I went back, and see that I was off with my uneasy recollection on Young. The rest of the items, Cobain et al, were just sort of floating there a little too easily that they may as well have been.

    Brubaker has had a pretty interesting career. My google search in looking for these items shows some comic book pages which more or less place Prez as his first work, followed by everything he’s done for DC and Marvel. (I have not read the Captain America story for which he’s received some national press for what sounds like heavy handed political allegory, though am meaning to), with a mention to a strange early career as a precursor. That’s a little backward in my mind.

  3. ericshanower Says:

    Glad you liked An Accidental Death. I’m still very fond of that one myself.

    I didn’t have much of any input to the Prez script. I remember reading it and really liking it’s message of hope. A lot of the f-bombs were inserted later at the editor’s behest. And the nudity was censored after I’d penciled the whole thing, so I complied by obscuring the “naughty bits” in the inking.

    Ed’s career breaks naturally into two parts: first are the alternative comics and second the superhero and crime comics. On close examination, however, elements of one can easily be found in the other, especially crime elements. Unfortunately his art didn’t make the jump from the first part to the second. I wish he’d draw a comics story once in a while. But I’m hardly surprised that hard-core superhero junkies have little or no awareness of his other work.

    I think Prez was much more heavy-handed than Ed’s Captain America. I enjoy his Captain America. I really liked his Catwoman, too. Sleeper and Criminal are both excellent.

  4. Justin Says:

    And the nudity was censored after I’d penciled the whole thing

    The only problem with the nudity was the difference between the obscured male penis and the fully viewed female breasts. They could both be censored, or they could both be uncut, but as it was it was a bit jarring.
    Well, the other problem was I was 14, bought it on a family vacation, and had to somewhat awkwardly keep it from my mildly conservative parents and older sister. Though, the first issue of Chester Brown’s Underwater was okay on that score, not terribly purient depiction and my eldest sister could relate.

    As for “heavy handed political allegory” — I didn’t really mean that as a knock. Nothing wrong with that if that’s what it is, and if it’s good.

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