This Magazine Kills Fascists looks at times that comic books and superheroes have dealt with tyrannical, corrupt and outright fascist world leaders — not because we think we can find a solution, but because art can provide inspiration in the face of oppression.

Today, for absolutely no reason at all, we're going to talk about the time a violent and unqualified businessman was raised up to a position of global importance and how he used it to give his unqualified criminal friends jobs, swindle America and was ultimately brought down by his own fragile ego. Like I said... no reason at all.

 

Leinil Francis Yu / Marvel Comics

 

Norman Osborn came to power through an act of violence, which isn't surprising for comic books. He did use violence to seize power, but he was awarded power because of violence. He was the one to shoot and kill the Skrull Queen through the head during the aliens' attempted invasion of Earth, and as he was chosen to lead a new peacekeeping force with the remit to Make America Safe Again.

The first thing Norman Osborn did in power was he called his friends. Heck, not even his friends, but just other notable villains like Doctor Doom, The Hood and Loki, and together they formed a Cabal to protect their interests and keep this good thing going for as long as possible. By presenting an air of legitimacy, Osborn and his cronies put America in danger.

 

Alex Maleev / Marvel Comics

 

The second thing Norman Osborn did was a show of force, by founding a new team of Avengers with himself as the leader in the new Iron Patriot armor. It wasn't enough that he was in charge now, he had to keep up a presentation of being a strong, take-charge leader and if that meant leading America into foreign conflicts at the behest of his dictator allies.

There were people that stood up to Osborn of course, including Clint Barton who went on television to denounce the head of HAMMER as a criminal and a literal supervillain. However, the media's commitment to showing both sides gave Osborn the chance to respond in his own interview where from his position of power he was able to delegitimize Barton's team of renegade Avengers while manipulating the American people into feeling safe.

 

Ed McGuinness / Marvel Comics

 

The third thing Osborn did once his power was secure was he made a list of those that had wronged him, and used the full power of The Avengers, HAMMER and his criminal allies to get revenge on those who had crossed him. Whether it was Nick Fury, The Hulk or his oldest foe Spider-Man, Osborn now had the resources to get even with his enemies and showed no restraint in doing everything he could to destroy them.

The final thing Norman Osborn did lead to his downfall, and as always with criminals in positions of power, they run out of ways to show off and pick a target too big for them to handle. Not only does Osborn decide to go after Asgard --- currently residing inches above the ground in Broxton, Oklahoma --- he has to manufacture a reason to do so and sacrifices American lives at Chicago's Soldier Field to frame Volstagg for the tragedy.

 

Olivier Coipel / Marvel Comics

 

Thanks to re-emergence of Steve Rogers, representing the true spirit of America as only he can, Osborn's forces were held at bay and although lives were lost and Asgard toppled, Osborn was defeated. He wasn't defeated with violence though, he truly lost when his mask was removed showcasing his Green Goblin warpaint and exposing him as the mad tyrant he is.

When authoritarians seize power however they can, one of the best things to do is expose them for the small and petty person that they are, because invariably they will always snap and show their true selves. In doing so, they will be exposed as the willfully corrupt demagogues they truly are and without the shield of respectability, much easier to defeat.

 

Olivier Coipel / Marvel Comics

 

If you are attending any protests this weekend, WITNESS has good resources for knowing your rights and helping each other out. Heavy.com has assembled a good list of the different protests happening in Washington through the weekend, and if you can't make it there are hundreds of "Sister Marches" happening around the world. Stay safe today.

There are a number of worthy causes that all need help, support and donations now more than ever. If you can, please consider donating to any of the following institutions:

For post-election resources, Holy F— The Election is a great starting point. The website uses some strong language.