Perhaps no artist is adopting President Trump’s words for comic effect more literally, or effectively, than R. Sikoryak.
The New Jersey-sprung cartoonist is best known for his “Masterpiece Comics,” in which he creates clever mash-ups by visually recontextualizing the words of literary giants. Earlier this year, he published the book “Terms and Conditions,” in which he illustrates Apple’s iTunes agreement with a deft comedic hand.
Now, Sikoryak is adapting “all the best words” of the president for the new book “The Unquotable Trump” (Drawn and Quarterly), a large-format, boldly tinted collection of nearly 50 comic-book cover spoofs that imagine Trump as classic cartoon characters.
There is Trump as Godzilla, or as the stand-in for the Joker, or as a menacing zombie walker. He is not the villain, necessarily, in these cartoon-universe scenarios. Rather, “I think of him as the antagonist in any situation,” Sikoryak tells The Post’s Comic Riffs.
One of the most straightforward cover mash-ups depicts Trump as a foe to Wonder Woman. The spoof’s tweaked title: “Nasty Woman.”
“I loved parodying H.G. Peter, the first Wonder Woman artist,” Sikoryak said. ” ‘Nasty Woman’ is the most succinct of what I was trying to do.”
Batman, another D.C. character dating back to the Golden Age, inspired Sikoryak’s sendup of Detective Comics. Trump is now the “clown prince” for “Subjective Comics,” towering over Gotham’s Dynamic Duo as he assures them that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not lose voters. (Adding a layer of meaning here: Batman’s own parents were shot near Fifth Avenue.)
That cover was part of Sikoryak’s original 16-page, self-made minicomic that he created last fall. “I felt an obligation to do it in November” after Trump’s election, the cartoonist said, “because I think he’s harmful.”
Inspired, too, by the mash-up approach of “Tea Party Comics,” Sikoryak decided to illustrate Trump’s own verbiage.
“Trying to put Trump’s words in a new context was important to me,” he said. “I really didn’t want to live in this reality where he was president.
“If I were only deploying him as a comedic doofus,” the left-leaning Sikoryak adds, “that would not be enough for me. I wanted to touch on all the aspects of what is wrong with him.”
And so the artist inserts Trump into the world of the Nixon-era “Watchmen.” There he is threatening to use libel laws to shut down the taunting Bugs Bunny. He rises ranting in “Pawn” (a spoof of Todd McFarlane’s “Spawn”), and rails against ballot fraud in “306 Electoral Votes” (which nods to Frank Miller’s “300”).
And throughout, “Trump is the only character who speaks in the book,” the author said, “and everything is in direct quotes.”
That way, he said, “I wanted to not make it fake news.”
All the while, he said, drawing these parody covers is cathartic. “I’m glad people are seeing the humor in it,” he said, even if “I think [the reality] is horribly sad, as well.”