Ocasio-Cortez: The comic book hero we didn't want ... but probably deserve

We missed this on Friday — somehow — but the launch of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a comic-book superhero raises troubling questions. For instance, what’s her superpower? Unnatural imperviousness to basic economics? Making vast sums of money disappear? A pregnancy buzzkill ray?  The options are limitless.

Devil’s Due Comics founder Josh Blaylock celebrated the event on Friday with pictures of the prospective AOC covers:

CNN caught up with the latest superhero news last night:

The newly elected US congresswoman stars as a sassy superhero in an upcoming comic book titled, “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force: New Party Who Dis?”

In one of the just-released book covers, Ocasio-Cortez stands over a knocked-out Republican elephant while a Democrat donkey looks on nervously in the background. Her superhero outfit is a white pantsuit, and her gadget is a smartphone, through which she wields her 3.2 million Twitter followers. Another cover shows her in a Wonder Woman-like outfit. …

Although the title and cover prominently feature Ocasio-Cortez, Blaylock said the comic book is going to be “a collection of stories that all embrace the theme that we’re excited about all of the energy and positive change this new crop of Congresspersons is going to bring.”

Er …sure. Just remember that the last Democrat who wore the pantsuit superhero outfit self-destructed dramatically three years ago. As for the other “energy and positive change” coming from this crop of Democratic “Congresspersons” (why not “representatives,” I wonder?), does that include the anti-Semitism from Ilhan Omar and ties to Louis Farrakhan from Rashida Tlaib?  Their superpowers must be equally interesting, if much less “comic” in nature. No wonder the donkey’s nervous on the cover.

When this first appeared, it seemed like it had the potential to be a political satire of the media and grassroots Democrats who have seized on Ocasio-Cortez as a political superhero. As Blaylock’s tweet suggests, it’s more of a direct celebration, and it has others cheering right along. One writer at Hello Giggles wrote a paean to AOC’s “badass” nature being captured in the new series:

Her grassroots political campaign took Capital Hill by storm and showed the world that Democrats—especially young Democrats—are ready and eager for a truly progressive platform on issues like tax reform and the environment. She’s also a social media maven, articulating her points and clapping back at critics in a way that proves she’s a new breed of politician who’s far better at connecting with voters than some of her older and more traditionally minded counterparts. Basically, AOC is shaking up the status quo, and even though she might not nail everything 100% of the time, she’s helped create a much-needed paradigm shift in business-as-usual politics.

And she’s so freaking inspiring that there’s now even a comic book about her. …

In a statement to HelloGiggles, owner of Devil’s Due, Josh Blaylock, said, “This has been a passion project from day one, and I think the kick in the butt the new congress is giving to both sides of the aisle is so needed.”

He continued, “Personally, I wanted a way to not only entertain, but to to get my own cathartic release and vent some frustrations I think a lot of people share. And when you’re a comic book creator, that means it’s time to make a comic! What’s been overwhelming though is the amazing response from our fantastic, diverse group of contributors. The energy of everyone’s art shows that I’m not alone.”

I’m more of a fan of Psalm 146:3, which advises, “Put not your trust in princes,” but hero worship in politics is big business on both sides of the aisle. There’s even a pro-Trump comic book series called My Hero Magademia, a takeoff on a Japanese manga about academia, although it’s tough to know how seriously to take it. One of the villains is the “crooked techno beast Metal Hiraree,” and Trump’s punches generate the sound Drumpf! 

All this does raise questions about the role of hero worship in politics, but … throwaway comic books are the least of its symptoms. Elections are the worst of them, or perhaps the abiding belief that our “superheroes” are always right even when they’re demonstrably, obviously, and unequivocally wrong simply because they fight, or “kick butt,” as Blaylock puts it. We need less Deus ex machina in politics, not more.

In the meantime, don’t expect the sales of The Freshman Force to fund the Green New Deal, in other words. Get woke, go broke.