What If... Captain America Had Been Elected President?

A story that makes me want to run the President Superman Annual from Armageddon 2001 parallel to it, What If #26 was scripted by Mike Barr - my favorite!!! Never mind Obama! Superman and Captain America - now those guys are Presidential! One thing that is notable about this issue is that it is more like the What If specials of today than any other issue from the classic run. Captain America #250 had only come out 6 months prior, so it was meant to capitalize on a fresh storyline before it was forgotten by readers. Still, the premise is a classic and would have worked regardless of the original story's familiarity, I think. Unlike something like, say, Onslaught (whose biggest What If remains, What if I'd read that?).

What If Vol.1 #26 (April 1981)
Based on: Captain America #250
The true history: Captain America was asked to run for the "New Populist Party" and declined.
Turning point: What if Captain America ran for president?
Story type: New World Order
Watcher's mood: Easter egg
Altered history: Cap accepts the nomination and runs opposite Carter and Reagan in the 1980 election. He needs a running mate, and that'll be Senator Andrew Jackson Hawk.
He's got a lot of political experience, a strong voting record, and Cap's just used to teaming up with guys named after predatory birds. Not that his election committee is all that enthusiastic.
"He wants to make his own choices. What kind of president is that?" Neither a Republican nor a Democrat one, I'll hazard to guess. And what do his opponents think?
Carter calls him out for his lack of experience (you don't think he can bring those hostages home?), and Reagan plays the mask card (but the Marvel Universe has no identification requirement for running in an election, apparently). They make good points, but in the end, Mike Barr just has no handle on the electoral process. Or the number of states that are tallied in the "final vote".
So it's a win for "President America". We knew that from the story's title. He unmasks at the Inauguration, don't worry. So how ARE the United States of America under Cap's reign as president? Well, for one thing, the Secret Service has trouble keeping up with him. For another, he somehow converts the US to solar power.
It's not mentioned how, but I suspect Reed Richards and Hank Pym's involvement. Where it gets sticky, however, is with foreign policy (ain't it always a bitch). The South American nation of San Pedro has been in the throes of a civil war, and the rebels have been pestering President Rogers for help. Fearing another Vietnam, Cap opts for giving solar-powered arms to the rebels and not send a single American soldier. San Pedro's tyrannical regime falls and the rebel leader invites Cap to visit. Unfortunately, he's been replaced by a familiar face.
The Red Skull couldn't let Captain America have a country of his own and not have one too (please, boys, don't compare sizes), and his plan is to erode American confidence by broadcasting images of their president being tortured and killed on American television.
As you can see, Canada and Mexico joined the US as soon as Cap became president. Of course, Cap escapes and fights the Red Skull now bent on using the solar projectors in orbit to destroy American cities mouahaha. The equipment is damaged in the battle and the el presidente's ranch is destroyed in a massive explosion, all hands lost.
And that's how the first African American president of the United States of America came to office. FACT.
Books canceled as a result: Captain America, though more recent events have shown that his series can go on without him. He's not really gone so long as we have his shield.
These things happen: Not in the Marvel Universe, they don't. Despite the absurdity of twentysomething Spider-Man having spun his webs through 12 presidential terms, the MU is adamant that its world is our world, with the very same political landscape. However, some of the imagery may seem familiar.
Next week: What If the Man-Thing Had Regained Ted Sallis' Brain?
My guess: Myum myum myum!


SFF said...

I only wish Captain America was President. We need him now more than ever. Nice entry.

Anonymous said...

Hey Siskoid, you should put the vignette with the Thing saying: "I'm gonna vote for Cap!".

Siskoid said...

ask and ye shall receive.

rob! said...

Dear Lord, I need to own this comic.

Siskoid said...

In the meantime, feel free to grab that Aquaman panel :)

Austin Gorton said...

Aw, don't tease me like that, linking to your hilarious Outsider posts.

Siskoid said...

Stand by for an announcement about that.

Well, don't stand around, it could be days.

Anonymous said...

What is this issue worth? anything?

Siskoid said...

Whatever you want it to be worth. It's about enjoying it, not reselling it, right?

Bully said...

Now, more than ever...


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