“He is Abraham Lincoln,” writer Humphries says of Cap, “if Lincoln had had access to a jet plane and a devastating right hook.”
As far as his presidential résumé goes, Cap — like Eisenhower, Kennedy and George H.W. Bush — is a notable World War II hero. Alonso emphasizes that Cap will approach his presidency as a soldier. “He’s not a politician — he’s not interested in focus groups.”
(Marvel Entertainment/MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT) - ’The Ultimates’ issue 16.
“Are we going to see 12 issues of Captain America behind a desk? No, that’s not exciting to anyone,” Humphries says. “Captain America is not going to behave like any other president behaves. He takes the oath of office and barely takes a breath as he goes to hot spots. . . . Cap is out there because he’s so concerned about the state of the Union that he doesn’t have time to think about the State of the Union.”
When Humphries pitched this story line in February — after spotting the seed of the idea in the notes of previous writer Jonathan Hickman — he says Marvel had concerns that he recognized as justifiable.
“This just can’t be a novelty story,” says Humphries, noting that the Avengers entities are worth billions of dollars to the entertainment company. “This does have to be a story that has resonance. It’s like the Marvel motto: reflecting ‘the world outside your window.’ ” (That motto is what inspired Alonso and his Marvel team last year to introduce the Ultimates’ Miles Morales, the first biracial Spider-Man.)
“It's a fantasy world where everything outside the window is amped up — not to 10, not to 11, but 30,” series editor Mark Paniccia says. As for the politics, the editor notes: “People will make connections where they want to make connections.”
Although Alonso says the Captain America presidency story will make a statement about the United States and the White House, “we avoid taking a party stand,” he notes. “There are essential truths about leadership and dignity, and we certainly have an opinion on that. Cap’s ultimate statement about the presidency is elegant. . . . What America wants and what America needs may not be the same thing.”
So how does Cap’s sense of presidential courage, bravery and vision square with how Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, or Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, might view the kind of leadership that needs to come from the White House?
“All four candidates would lay claim to what Cap thinks the presidency is and should be,” Alonso says. “The candidates, in some shape or form, all aspire to be like Cap and what he stands for.”