If this is Monday, there should be about 133 days until the U.S. presidential election...and it's already pretty ugly. Hell, it was ugly six months ago, we've crossed into grotesque, and it would be a class-one miracle if it somehow improved between now and then. It's polarizing, mean-spirited, hateful, and depending on who you listen to, probably includes a few secret agendas. Like today's comic, except the comic is funnier: from 1992, the Demon #27, "Political Asylum, part 2: 'Etrigan, he's our man, if he can't do it, no one can!'" Written by Dwayne McDuffie, pencils by Val Semeiks, inks by Bob Smith and Denis Rodier.
Before picking this up, I had no idea McDuffie, or anyone else, had written for this series except Alan Grant and Garth Ennis. In the second issue of this four-parter, the Demon Etrigan begins his presidential campaign in earnest. Running as a Republican, he announces his run in "recession-plagued Detroit" (the more things change, huh?) and denies accusations of being a hoax; although the press and general public so far don't seem to think he's actually from hell. President Bush--the first one--declines to comment, although Quayle mangles a quote in support of his boss.
Jason Blood had agreed to the Demon's request to run, although his friends Randu, Glenda, and Harry (currently a seat cushion, after a sojourn in hell) aren't sure what Etrigan's game is. His speech writer, Patty Nonage, seems committed to her candidate; and Etrigan's book is on top of the best seller lists...even though it's a 32-page picture book for $12.95, titled "America Rules." (Noted right-winger Guy Gardner likes it!) He even has campaign managers, although I'm not sure where they came from: did Etrigan hire them, or did they just show up to run the campaign? Not like one just runs itself, does it? They are concerned about handling Etrigan after he sets Sam Donaldson on fire, a little, but that gives him 16 more points in the polls. Perfect time to crash a debate!
Some of this year's prospective candidates weren't great, but the primaries in 1992 had David Duke and Pat Buchanan, and they weren't exactly prize pigs either. Somewhat surprisingly, these aren't close-enough, not-quite versions of those guys--McDuffie uses Duke and Buchanan, although he doesn't exactly paint either in a flattering light. Outside their debate appears to be nothing but Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and cops; although the cops are primarily to keep Etrigan out. No chance. Beating up the Klansmen and the Nazis before sitting on Buchanan and Duke, Etrigan rises to within 10 points of Bush. Glenda asks Jason if this hasn't gone too far, but Jason is sticking to his end of the deal, reasoning the Demon couldn't possibly win: he wasn't a U.S. citizen! I thought Blood was going to say Etrigan wasn't born in America, and that may be a plot point later; here, Nonage catches the tailend of that conversation and Blood's transformation.
Still, not everything is going Etrigan's way: at a rally, an assassin takes a shot at him, hitting him in the eye! Which just pisses him off. Etrigan is about to tear his would-be assassin apart, when he's stopped by...Superman!
Let's see, outsider candidate, oddly-colored, talks a lot of trash and sloganeering, incites violence...well, I suppose Etrigan actually causes most of the violence, he's a little more hands-on. We'll see if we find the next chapters, hopefully within the next 133 days!