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Prez!

Posted by Joshua Glenn  April 30, 2007 02:39 PM

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I am older than Evan, so I forgive him for not being familiar with "Prez: First Teen President," a very weird 1973-74 DC comic book series, written by Joe Simon, that was canceled after only four issues. I have at least three issues in my attic, I'm pretty sure.

streetz.jpg

Like so many other DC titles of the early 1970s, "Prez" was a cleaned-up, de-fanged ripoff of far-out, subversive themes and memes floating around the culture already. ("Kamandi," about post-apocalyptic, animals-in-charge America, is more subversive than "Prez," less subversive than what it ripped off: "Planet of the Apes.") In this case, the preexisting meme was: long-haired teens take over the US government. Ripped off from: the terrific 1968 boomersploitation flick "Wild in the Streets," directed by Barry Shear, based on the Robert Thom story "The Day It All Happened, Baby!" In the movie, Max Frost (Christopher Jones, shown above) is a pop star whose multiracial band/housemates/think tank (inc. Richard Pryor, shown above, as anthropologist/drummer Stanley X) conspire to lower the voting age; once that is accomplished, Frost is elected president, and he immediately starts putting everyone over the age of 30 -- including his mother, played by Shelley Winters, shown above -- into psychedelicized concentration camps.

Prezzz.jpg

In "Prez," by contrast, although Prez Rickard's election is made possible by a voting-age amendment, Prez is an incorruptible idealist who appoints his mother VP. (He seems more Gen Y than Boomer.) Prez, too, is surrounded by multiracial teen comrades. Most important is: FBI chief Eagle Free, a Native American youth who communicates with animals, lives in a cave, and is master of all the martial arts. Eagle Free is constantly thwarting the efforts of evil adults who'd depose or assassinate Prez.

I hope this clears up any lingering confusion!

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.

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