If you think Sarah Palin's going away after the election, you don't understand the world of comic book publishing.
A lot of us don't.
Bluewater Productions of Bellingham, a publisher of popular, non-satirical hero adventure comics, plans to put Gov. Palin on the shelves of a comic book dealer near you, in February. The biography concentrates on her rise from middle class Alaskan homemaker and Outdoor Woman to being a political heart attack away from the office of President of the United States.
Darren Davis is owner, publisher, creative director and endlessly enthusiastic founder of Bluewater. He runs it from a two-person office in Bellingham, but it's a much bigger deal than that. He and his business partner, Jason Schultz, hire fifty or more artists around the world to do the penciling, inking, and lettering required to get Davis's story lines onto the page. His first independent publishing venture, "10th Muse," was the sixth-largest seller among comic books in 2001, Davis says, beating out the further adventures of both Batman and Superman.
They published the highly successful "Wrath of the Titans," based on the adventures of Ray Harryhausen, a household name among comic book households, and will soon issue a series based on the novels of William "Captain Kirk" Shatner of the USS Enterprise.
Perhaps signaling the advent of the Palin biography, "10th Muse" features a very strong, real, live woman on the cover. Her name is Sable, and don't mess with her. Only those whose boring, mundane lives — mine, for instance — fail to intersect with comic book characters or television rasslers, will need to be told that Sable is a star of World Wrestling Entertainment.
This is no Mad Magazine outfit doing comic send-ups of Sable and Sarah. They're serious. "We want to attract a new demographic, not just the 12-year-old but the 40-year-old who will recognize and respect a strong woman who has changed history, as the first woman to run for vice president as a Republican," the 40-year-old Davis says. "We hope the book will help bring her the respect she deserves."
"Whether you like her or not, in the past few weeks, she's proved that she can really take it. They make fun of her on Saturday Night Live, and then she shows up on SNL and gives it right back."
"They make jokes about her expensive wardrobe, and she comes back in her second-hand outfit from the consignment store in Anchorage. She shows that she is someone who gets it. I don't necessarily like her, but I respect her."
The Palin comic book will hit the streets about the same time as a parallel treatment of another strong female character, Hillary Clinton, whom Davis does like and who, he feels certain, would have been elected president had the Democrats nominated her. However, he stresses, "You won't know from reading our books whether we're Republican or Democrat."
"We're publishing an entire Female Force series, featuring women who are making history," Davis says. "We may include people like Oprah and Barbara Walters, for the great contributions they've made to society."
Is there a risk in committing to a biography of a person who might fall off the earth in the manner of Lloyd Bentsen (Dukakis, 1988) or William Miller (Goldwater, 1964), remembered primarily by the Bentsens and the Millers, who may not read a lot of comic books?
"That's not going to happen to Palin," Davis says. "We're publishing two versions of her life story. In one she's off to the White House. In the other she goes back to Alaska as governor, where she'll continue to meet challenges and make history. In real life she's not going to disappear. She might even become a commentator for Fox News."
Bluewater's also working with the estate of Vincent Price to publish a series of horror stories.