Superheroes as super Presidents? When heroes ran for public office (and won!)

What If... ? #26 cover
What If... ? #26 cover (Image credit: Herb Trimpe/Mike Esposito (Marvel Comics))

A politician needs to be a hero for the people and a fighter for what's right - sounds a lot like a superhero, huh? Well, in some cases superheroes have been elected to public office - with the likes of Wonder Woman and Captain America even becoming US President!

With the decidedly supervillainous Kingpin now firmly entrenched as mayor of Marvel's New York City and preparing for bigger ambitions in the upcoming Devil's Reign event, we look at the superheroes who have also achieved high office - from mayor to, as we mentioned, US President.

This isn't counting the heroes and villains who have become king through some non-elected means, like Namor, Aquaman, Black Panther, Doctor Doom, and (soon to be) King Deathstroke.

And though Kingpin isn't the first supervillain to hold political office - Lex Luthor was even once elected US President in the mainstream DC Universe! - that's a story for another time.

So here are the superhero politicians - who would you vote for?

Mayor Flash

As a result of events in the final days of the pre-'New 52' Justice Society of America series, Jay Garrick became mayor of the city of Monument Point (collected in Justice Society of America: Monument Point).

Thanks to the team essentially ceasing to exist in the 'New 52' reboot, we never really got to see what Jay did with the position other than moving the Justice Society to Monument Point en masse, but in some part of the DC Omniverse, Garrick is surely proving himself very good at dealing with civic problems very quickly.

Mayor Green Arrow

Green Arrow #61 excerpt

Green Arrow #61 excerpt (Image credit: Scott McDaniel (DC))

Oliver Queen had a longer tenure as mayor of Star City, one of the many changes to emerge from DC's 'One Year Later' stunt in 2006 beginning in Green Arrow #60.

Although he continued to fight crime in the traditional manner as Green Arrow in the evenings, his days were filled fighting corruption in a more prosaic manner in public office. It didn't last long, of course; 16 issues later, he stepped down as mayor, apologizing to the city for failing to live up to his campaign promises. 

Doing so did give him a chance to propose to Black Canary, so it wasn't a complete loss.

Mayor Mitchell Hundred

Ex Machina #39 cover

Ex Machina #39 cover (Image credit: Tony Harris (DC))

Unlike most of the characters on this list, we first met Hundred as an elected official; Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris' Ex Machina was, after all, more about his time as Mayor of New York City than his time as the Great Machine.

But while the other heroes on the list found themselves outside of the everyday political process, Hundred was right in the middle of things... and described the experience as a tragedy right there in the first issue. 

Let that be a warning, dear readers: Stay out of politics for your own good.

Congresswoman Batgirl

Detective Comics #424 excerpt

Detective Comics #424 excerpt (Image credit: Don Heck (DC))

Little remembered now, but before Barbara Gordon was shot by the Joker and reinvented herself as the all-seeing, all-knowing Oracle (and way before she returned to the role of Batgirl in 2011) she spent the '70s using her skills for good in Washington, DC as a US congresswoman.

Admittedly, there wasn't a lot of call for acrobatic detective work at the time, but you can't argue that she could probably do more good there than she could fighting what feels like a losing battle against corruption in Gotham City every month.

US Secretary of Defense Iron Man

Invincible Iron Man #78 cover

Invincible Iron Man #78 cover (Image credit: Adi Granov (Marvel Comics))

Before the Avengers found themselves 'Disassembled,' Tony Stark was in a pretty good place for once. Not only had he revealed his secret identity to the world once again, but he'd found himself accepting the president's offer of a role in his cabinet, becoming the US Secretary of Defense in the 'The Best Defense' story arc.

Admittedly, the Scarlet Witch quickly made that job go away by magically making Tony drunk at a United Nations meeting, where he insulted various diplomats and found himself forced out of the position, but it wasn't long before Stark found himself back in a position of power as director of SHIELD. 

Of course, that didn't really work out too well, either.

US President Thor

Ultimate Fantastic Four #28 excerpt

Ultimate Fantastic Four #28 excerpt (Image credit: Greg Land (Marvel Comics))

What's that, you say? Thor was President of the United States? When did that happen?

Clearly, someone doesn't remember the alternate reality visited by the Ultimate Fantastic Four when Mark Millar returned to the series with artist Greg Land in tow for the 'President Thor' arc. 

While you may be upset that our America has never had a leader as chiseled and buff as the son of Odin, you can console yourself with the thought that we've also never been invaded by Skrulls, either.

US President Nighthawk

Squadron Supreme #1 excerpt

Squadron Supreme #1 excerpt (Image credit: Bob Hall (Marvel Comics))

Sadly, the closest to President Batman that we may ever come, Bruce Wayne's counterpart over in Marvel's Earth Squadron Supreme found himself in charge of the most powerful country in the free world but not himself when he became President while under the mental thrall of the villainous Over-Mind in a storyline from the dearly-departed (and often wacky) original Defenders series called as 'Ashes, Ashes...'

Once released from mental control, he found himself so unwilling to assume a role of power that he even quit the Squadron Supreme when they decided to take over control of the world just to make things better.

US President Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman #7 cover

Wonder Woman #7 cover (Image credit: HG Peter (DC))

Being that Wonder Woman was born on Themyscira, she doesn’t exactly qualify as a natural-born US citizen, she’s not constitutionally eligible to be president. That didn't stop her from accomplishing that lofty goal in an alternate-universe story dating all the way back to Wonder Woman #7 in 1943 (Collected in Wonder Woman: The Golden Age Volume 2).

In the story, Diana pays a visit to her home of Paradise Island, where she gazes into a crystal ball that shows her a vision of the year 3004, in which her boyfriend Steve Trevor is elected president. After realizing that Trevor's election was fraudulent, Wonder Woman takes his place as president of the United States.

Because that’s how that works.

US President Superman

Action Comics Annual #3 cover

Action Comics Annual #3 cover (Image credit: Dave Gibbons (DC))

While it's true that, yes, the Man of Steel is technically an alien and therefore couldn't become President of the United States under the current Constitutional statutes, it's worth pointing out that you can take a few liberties with reality in stories where aliens come to Earth and can fly around saving the day on the regular.

Superman, in fact, has become President of the United States on multiple occasions in various alternate-universe stories during his tenure as the world's favorite superhero, most memorably in a possible future glimpsed by Waverider during 1991's Armageddon 2001 crossover event. Considering that Superman's arch-enemy Lex Luthor actually took office almost a decade later, maybe Waverider might consider getting his future-vision powers checked out.

US President Captain America

What If... ? #26 excerpt

What If... ? #26 excerpt (Image credit: Herb Trimpe/Mike Esposito (Marvel Comics))

Steve Rogers hasn’t held political office in the mainstream Marvel Universe despite considering or being compelled to do so several times – but he has taken the plunge into politics in alternate realities, most notably the Ultimate Universe.

Ultimate Captain America actually became the president in Ultimate Comics: Divided We Fall, United We Stand after winning a special election on a write-in vote. Ultimate Cap successfully held the US back from civil war for some time before a secret campaign to make it look like the government was attacking its citizens led to his resignation. With the Ultimate Universe destroyed by Secret Wars, I guess we’ll never see what a second term would look like.

A different alt-Cap’s tenure as US Commander-In-Chief didn’t go much better, with What If? #26 showing a reality in which Steve was killed in a trap by the Red Skull after being elected President.