Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger may have had his upcoming Governator comic killed after details of his marital infidelity were splattered in gossip magazines across the world. In Russia, though, the news cycle is actually helping rocket Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to the big league of cartoon superheroes. Superputin, A Man Like Any Other, an online comic strip, was released last week, and is already an Internet phenomenon—courtesy of its timing, which coincides with the run-up to the presidential election next year.
Superputin, allegedly the work of a Russian PR freelancer who received no input from the Kremlin, features a kimono-clad Putin darting to rescue a bus from an al-Qaeda bomb attack. Helping him is the cartoon version of President Dmitry Medvedev, described as a “gnome raised by bears” with an obsession for gadgets. The gentle parody of Russia’s political duo registered three million views in its first week, but has also stirred criticism for portraying the political opposition as brain-hungry zombies.