Political Power: Presidents
Political Power: Presidents

When Bluewater Productions debuted their Political Power and Female Force comic lines back in early 2009, many in the industry wrote off their initial sales successes - featuring larger-than-life politicians like Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama - as simply capitalizing on the buzz generated by a historic 2008 campaign in which the aforementioned three all became household names. they felt it was only a matter of time until the line lost its luster and eventually disappeared.

However, Bluewater has served notice that their political biographical comics are here to stay with the announcement that Jerome Maida has been named editor of their Political Power line. Maida will work in conjunction with Bluewater Publisher Darren Davis in choosing which individuals to feature in future political biographical comics, as well as working with writers and artists to make sure the quality of the comics continues to improve and copy editing them as well.

"I am excited to name Jerome to this position", says Davis. "Jerome is an excellent writer, editor and sounding board. He also works hard to promote and market the political comics. Most importantly, he has a keen political mind and seems to have a solid idea of where he wants to take the line - which has obviously been very successful - and, most importantly, has a keen sense of who we should profile in the future that will be successful as the line continues and possibly grows in the future. I have full confidence that Jerome will take our political bio comics to new heights going forward."

Maida says he is extremely pleased by the news and feels he is up to the challenge that now awaits him.

"I am really excited to be given this opportunity", says Maida. "I feel the Political Power books have only scratched the surface of their potential. I feel the three keys to achieving that can be summed up in four words: Characters. Talent. Focus. Drive."

"It all starts with who we choose to feature", Maida continues. "We could have an outstanding writer and a fabulous artist working on a Political Power comic and if it's about a politically powerful person that no one knows or cares about, chances are that's not going to sell very well and then we've wasted everybody's time."

"I mean, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton are absolute no-brainers", Maida adds. "They're political rock stars. They're celebrities and true household names. That's why their comics went into multiple printings and their upcoming sequel comics should be sales slam dunks. But they are the exception and not the rule. Most politicians and pundits we have featured and are currently thinking about featuring are at least a level or two below them."

Maida feels despite that, there are a plethora of possibilities for Bluewater to do political bio comics on. He says he will likely be looking at three groups of people to profile: Political pundits. New political stars. Ex-presidents.

"With the 24-hour news cycle, many of the political pundits today are more well-known, powerful and influential than the politicians they comment on", says Maida. "Think about it. Who do you think would generate more buzz and likely more sales? Comics on Jon Stewart or Barney Frank? Rachel Maddow or Senator Diane Feinstein? Sean Hannity or Senator Lindsay Graham? The answers are obvious."

Maida says whether politician or pundit, one strong indicator of whether or not an someone's story could potentially sell lots of comic is if they have already sold lots of books.

"Anyone with a bestseller or two under their belt has shown people are ready to plunk down their cold, hard cash to read about them", says Maida. "So if Ann Coulter can get hundreds of thousands of people to read her latest book at $25 or more a pop, time after time after time, doesn't it make sense that quite a few people would be willing to pay four bucks to read some more about her? That's just one example. The converse is that our bio comics on Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi sold below expectations, which at first given their name recognition and the fact that they're powerful democrats might seem surprising. But when you take into account the fact that Gore's last book was barely a blip on the sales chart and Pelosi's most recent tome fared even worse. It shouldn't have been surprising at all. Yes, they're powerful and well-known, but obviously not that many people want to read about them."

But Maida says he is waiting for the November 2 election like a kid waits for Christmas, because he is convinced fresh new faces will become slam dunk choices for getting the political bio treatment.

"One way or the other, there will be stars born or reborn this November 2", says Maida. "Either Meg Whitman becomes the fresh, new, exciting governor of California or Jerry Brown receives national attention for becoming the Comeback Kid and beating the odds. Either Sharron Angle becomes a star or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid defies the odds and overcomes a lot of factors to win the race of his life and stay one of the most powerful people in America. They're all compelling stories and I'm dying to tell all of them under the Political Power banner."

Maida feels ex-Presidents are a no-brainer in certain aspects but not so much in others, depending on who is profiled.

"We've already done or have scheduled to do all the ex-presidents of the past 40 years except for Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush.", He says, "Marketing them can be tricky. I don't see a ton of people clamoring over a Gerald ford comic, but we've been surprised before. One huge plus with profiling the ex-Presidents is that they are naturals to be collected in trades and sell well in that format. A trade of Presidential tales would be of high interest to schools and libraries and we've had great success with a similar trade already."

Maida says one of his main goals is to focus on publishing two Political Power books a month and to have them come out on time.

"There are more than enough politically powerful people to profile in the next few years", says Maida. "There is no reason the women we have been profiling in Female Force can't be folded into the Political Power umbrella. Of course, once the subject is settled, the next most important thing is finding the talent to tell the tales."

"I will likely be writing most of the Political Power books myself", says Maida. But for those I don't, I will choose writers who have at least some knowledge of the political world and not have to rely entirely on research. I will also make sure that key events in these people's lives are covered, because in my opinion there have been a few glaring omissions in the past. That will no longer happen. I won't be over other writer's shoulders telling them everything to include. But to me there are certain events we cannot omit in these people's lives if we want to have credibility with those who would be interested in these books in the first place."

"As far as art, I really want these books to stand out and have hunted down artists new and old to do just that", he says. "We have a remarkable painter named Jill Fives who I have known for years. She is an extraordinary painter and had never done a comic cover before but is pumped to do one for 'Bill O'Reilly', so I am excited about that. I met Laura Guzzo, who is doing the cover for our "Hillary" sequel at this year's Wizard show in Philly. She has a fresh, unique style I think people will like."

Maida even enticed fan favorite artist Mark Sparacio, a veteran with plenty of work for DC and Marvel under his belt to do a cover for a certain high profile political pundit's bio comic, which comes out next February.