Articles

BANG! POW! SAD! Casting Trump as a Comic Book Villain

In R. Sikoryak’s The Unquotable Trump, the President plays villain after villain in popular, pre-existing comic book series, each time rendered in the style of the original artist.

R. Sikoryak, after H.G. Peter, from his “Unquotable Trump” series (all images courtesy the artist)

It’s hard to believe anything that our newly crowned POTUS says or tweets is actually part of reality, which is why R. Sikoryak’s integration of Trump’s quotes into fictional comic book covers makes perfect sense. In The Unquotable Trump, one of the artist’s newest projects, the President plays villain after villain in popular, pre-existing comic book series, each time rendered in the style of the original artist. Every quote emitting from the Donald’s mouth is drawn from real sentences he spewed during the 2016 presidential campaign, and Sikoryak has also recently began adding new covers with quotes from Trump’s presidency. Browsable on Tumblr, The Unquotable Trump is also published by Birdcage Bottom Books as a miniseries of 16 covers.

R. Sikoryak, after Bud Sagendorf, from his “Unquotable Trump” series

Pretty much every one of Trump’s greatest hits has made the cut so far, including his jabs at women, immigrants, African Americans, Muslims, the lousy media, and climate change, to name just a few subjects that ruffle his finasteride-boosted hair. Sikoryak’s take on H.G. Peter’s Wonder Woman salutes women’s reclaiming of Trump’s “nasty woman” outburst, with the superhero delivering a fierce blow to her offender; Bud Sagendorf’s Popeye is now “Pop-ojo,” pummeling through a not-so-great brick wall to cut Trump off from his blathering; and in “Super Sad,” a riff on Curt Swan and Stan Kaye’s strips, the President mounts a building, King Kong-style, as he whines about fake news to a startled Superman.

“The idea occurred to me right before the election,” Sikoryak told Hyperallergic. “Trump had said so many outrageous things during his campaign that I wanted to catalogue them. There wasn’t just one quote — it was all of his insensitive, arrogant, and/or divisive statements, combined. It was important to me to only use Trump’s actual quotes, I didn’t want to put any words in his mouth. Once Trump became the president-elect, I felt I had to do it.”

Each panel is action-packed, with all details illustrated faithfully to their original series. Such sincere dedication to storyline flings Trump’s sayings further into the realm of the absurd, transforming them into true punchlines in isolated panels usually home to narratives of the impossible. Yes, Sikoryak reminds us, Trump really did go on and on about the size of his hands; and yes, on his Inauguration Day, he really did talk about God not making it rain on his speech (that’s an alternative fact, by the way). All of this was difficult to digest when the angry man first said it, and while the jokes still sting in these covers, Sikoryak has proven that comics are truly the most fitting medium to consume Trump’s words: they relegate his voice to a world wholly scripted and fantastical, to one designed to entertain.

R. Sikoryak, after Jim Lee and Scott Williams, from his “Unquotable Trump” series
R. Sikoryak, after Curt Swan and Stan Kaye, from his “Unquotable Trump” series
R. Sikoryak, after Gil Kane, from his “Unquotable Trump” series
R. Sikoryak, after an uncredited Harvey artist, from his “Unquotable Trump” series
R. Sikoryak, after Frank Miller, from his “Unquotable Trump” series
R. Sikoryak, after John Romita, from his “Unquotable Trump” series
R. Sikoryak, after Johnny Craig, from his “Unquotable Trump” series

The Unquotable Trump is available through Birdcage Bottom Books. 50% of all proceeds from the month of February will be donated to the ACLU.

comments (0)