This weekend’s light-hearted and escapist superhero story will deal with DC’s political comedy character Prez, given how this is Presidents Day weekend.

prez 1PREZ Vol 1 #1 (September 1973)

Title: The Making of the Prez

NOTE: Decades ago, Theodore White was known for his series of books titled The Making of the President, with the year of the election after each new volume. (1960, 1964, 1968, etc) In 1973, many readers would have gotten the implied joke of “The Making of the Prez.”

Villains: Boss Smiley and Misery Marko

Synopsis: On the alternate Earth known in the DC Universe as Earth 72, America not only lowered the voting age to 18 but also made 18-year-olds eligible for holding any elected positions in the U.S. – even president.

Enter stock-car racer Prez Rickard (a riff on the famous Tex Rickard), whose mother named him Prez because she was convinced her son would go on to be president some day. Prez’s political career took off when he synchronized all the clocks in his hometown of Steadfast. (Remember, this is political satire like Al Capp’s Li’l Abner on some levels.)

boss smileyThis caught the attention of corrupt political handler Boss Smiley, whose head was one of those syrupy and kitschy smiley faces that had become widespread by 1973. Boss Smiley and slimy advertising mogul Misery Marko recruited Prez to run for the Senate as their pawn, using the slogan “He made the clocks run on time.” (a Mussolini joke, of course)

Prez ultimately rebelled against Boss Smiley and Misery Marko and, with fellow 18-year-olds, ran his campaign honestly and won. In 1976, Rickard ran for president and won again, filling his administration with colorful youngsters like himself, thus kicking off even more satirical adventures in which Prez and company thwarted political villains.

Among the characters introduced in this 1st issue were Eagle Free, a Native American teen who became Prez’s FBI head, and Rickard’s female Vice President, his mother Martha. (“Why did you say that NAME?!”)  That VP was added to the ticket to attract older voters.     

prez 2PREZ Vol 1 #2 (November 1973)

Title: Invasion of the Chess Men

Villains: The Chess Men

Synopsis: Amid other political goings-on, Prez and Eagle Free attend a chess match between American champion Robbie Fishhead & his team and the Soviet Union’s team led by the Russian woman called the Queen Errant.

NOTE: Robbie Fishhead is a joking reference to Bobby Fischer and the overall story centers on the fierce chess rivalry between the U.S. and Soviets back then.

chessmenThe match is held in a football stadium with the field redone as a giant chessboard and with costumed humans as the chess pieces for both sides. The Soviets use electric rays against Robbie, causing an international incident. (A riff on the real-world scandal about the Soviets supposedly beaming microwaves at American chess players.)

The Soviet chessmen turn out to be androids who launch bombing attacks all over Washington D.C. Rickard’s foes in Congress try to impeach him for all this. Prez and Eagle Free manage to foil the Soviet plan to seize Washington and Prez’s face replaces George Washington’s on the one dollar bill. 

prez 3PREZ Vol 1 #3 (January 1974)

Title: Invasion of America

Villains: Gregor Washington and his fellow conspirators

Synopsis: While the political left may have objected to the Soviets as villains in the previous story, this issue makes villains of the political right in the form of Gregor Washington. Gregor is a descendant of George Washington and supports gun ownership to the extent that he and his army launch a rebellion when Prez calls for gun control legislation. 

Gregor’s forces besiege Washington D.C. and the siege drags on through the winter, making for a parody of Valley Forge from the Revolutionary War. Further comedy comes from the fact that the rebel conspirators begin making counterfeit one-dollar bills to pay their troops.

gregor washingtonUltimately, Prez Rickard tries to end the bloodshed by facing Gregor Washington in a one-on-one battle to the death to determine the war’s outcome. Prez wins, but Gregor refuses to honor that victory. An FBI infiltrator in the rebel forces brings down Gregor.

Prez tries to reconcile the country by not pursuing his gun control agenda, angering most of his own supporters as this confused and all over the map attempt at satire comes to a close. 

prez 4PREZ Vol 1 #4 (March 1974)

Title: Vampire in the White House

Villains: Dracula and the Wolf Man

Synopsis: What started out as a promising, clever political satire series became even more muddled and confused in this final issue to see print in the 1970s. (The issue after this one was prepared for publication, but the series had already been officially canceled with #4.) 

Rickard’s administration provides aid to the country of Moravia, but has to assure Communist China that America has no intention to take over Moravia. Transylvania, led by the now-legless vampire Count Dracula, is an enemy of Moravia and sends the Wolf Man to Washington D.C. to demand that the U.S. cut off aid to Moravia or Transylvania will declare war.

dracula leglessPrez refuses, and Transylvania declares war on America, sending its supernatural armies against us. Once again, Prez’s political enemies call for impeachment, so Rickard and Eagle Free kill Dracula and Wolf Man. Eagle Free frets that the U.S. will probably spend money to rebuild defeated Transylvania.

And so, another rambling and politically confused Prez tale ended, taking the series with it. 

prez 5PREZ Vol 1 #5 (Series canceled, but published years later in Canceled Comic Cavalcade #2)

Title: The Devil’s Exterminator 

Villain: Clyde Piper, the Exterminator 

Synopsis: This tale opened up with a state dinner for the president of the fictional nation of Lamonica. A large number of rats emerged from everywhere in the White House and ruined the entire affair.

Prez hired Clyde Piper, a pied piper who used his enchanted pipe to lure all of the rats and insects from the White House, then charged the government 5 million dollars for the service. Prez and Eagle Free refused to pay it, causing the angry Clyde to lure away all the children attending the White House Easter Egg Roll. Naturally, Prez rescued the children before the piper could lead them into a lake to die.  

Clyde PiperThe narrative also used pastiches of Richard Nixon, plus his men Haldeman and Ehrlichman (called Balderman and Curlyman here) to make a double meaning from the “bugs” that Clyde Piper led from the White House and the real life “bugs” at the center of the latest Watergate Scandal news. Balderman and Curlyman had implanted electronic listening “bugs” into the real-life bugs.

In the end, Balderman and Curlyman helped track down Clyde Piper, confessed to their wrongdoing, and resigned. Once again, we see some vaguely promising ideas that just petered out and died in this story. 

supergirl 10SUPERGIRL Vol 1 #10 (October 1974)

Title: Death of a Prez

Villain: Master Killer

Synopsis: The Supergirl of Earth 72, in her secret identity Linda Danvers, was among a crowd attending a speech by President Prez Rickard. Master Killer, an unresolved plot thread from Prez’s short-lived series, tried again to assassinate him.

Linda turned into Supergirl and saved Rickard’s life. The heroine kept an eye on the president in case this mysterious assassin tried another of their periodic attempts on Prez’s life. 

master killerAfter some more action, it appeared that Master Killer succeded in manipulating Supergirl into dropping Prez to his death, only for the heroine to reveal that it was just a mockup of the president instead. She then defeated Master Killer and his thugs and turned them over to the authorities.

NOTE: The Prez character brought his series’ curse with him, as this was the final issue of Supergirl Volume 1.

Prez started out promisingly, combining Li’l Abner style satire with Bullwinkle and Rocky absurdities and a pinch of Howard the Duck and Mad magazine. Unfortunately, it quickly lost its way and failed to properly balance the humor with the need for action in each issue. 

Decades later, DC tried rebooting the series twice, the second time with a female teen president who had the now older Prez Rickard as her Vice President.   







Filed under Superheroes

8 responses to “PREZ: HIS 1970s ADVENTURES

  1. Odd how the Superhero Woman is rarely 5′ 4″, 160# and shaped like a midwestern housewife. But then the male hero doesn’t usually look like Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances.

  2. Americaoncoffee

    A while back when video games surfaced, I was told that the new game technology would prepare the next generation for wars. Today, I am saying that never really took off. But on the other hand, a change of comic superheroes has skirted in bringing vision to a real, existing, identifiable spiritual warfare. Yep.🤔

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