The New Superheroes of 2019 are freshmen and their leader is a woman—at least according to Devil’s Due Publishing, based in Chicago, which recently announced that it is putting out a comic book on May 15thcalled Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force: New Party Who Dis?
The book is a satirical anthology, and the stories in it will range in tone, according to Kit Caoagas, publishing coordinator at Devil’s Due and assistant editor on the project. Some she described as “feel good” while others, she said, include “very dark” humor. Caoagas also wrote a three-page comic for the book. “We all needed to relieve how we feel about the current administration,” she said, “and express how excited we all are for the future.”
Aside from AOC, the book portrays a mixed cast of political figures, as well as mixed settings—some super fantastical, some sci-fi, and one that portrays all of the characters as professional wrestlers. Josh Blaylock, founder of Devil’s Due, described the book as a combination of comic strips, some one-page pin-up illustrations, activity pages, and more. He said there will be somewhere between 15 and 20 stories running in what will likely be a 44-page edition.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force comes 10 years after Devil’s Due published a Barack the Barbarian collection in 2009, about President Obama. The series was reprinted in 2016, with a new story that imagined Washington, D.C. as “Warshington.” The comic was modeled after Conan the Barbarian after it became public knowledge that Obama himself collected issues of that series.
When Ocasio-Cortez came into the spotlight, Blaylock said, he liked what she was talking about, and then realized that the things Ocasio-Cortez was saying were resonating with other people too. The title came from a specific moment, according to an article from The Hill: Joe Lieberman, the former U.S. Senator from Connecticut, had made a statement that Ocasio-Cortez, 29, was not the future of the Democratic Party. She tweeted a reply to that statement: “New party, who dis?”
New party, who dis? https://t.co/2cznisv8tB
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 11, 2019
The comic book will feature some two dozen contributors, including Dean Haspiel, an Emmy-winning title designer; Jose Garibaldi, illustrator, painter, and cartoonist of Captain Underpants, Lego Movie 2 , and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Jill Thompson, the creator of the Scary Godmother graphic novels and TV special; and others. Ocasio-Cortez herself responded to the idea of a comic book about her in a TMZ clip: “it’s incredibly humbling,” she said. “If I can be that for a little girl somewhere where she can see herself being a superhero, I think that’s important for us to see we all have a superhero inside of us.”
The book will cost $5.99 and will be available in most local comic shops and online.