Weisshaupt

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President Adam Weisshaupt From the cover of issue #57. Art by Dave Sim
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President Adam Weisshaupt From the cover of issue #57. Art by Dave Sim

Appears in issues 21, 22, 54, 57, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 76.

Cameo/mentions in 83, 84, 103, 104, 188 and 300.

Contents

Character History

First seen in Beduin as the President of the United Feldwar States, he tells Cerebus how he discovered the Cockroach after Cerebus left him Beduin (issue 12) and how he manipulated the Cockroach to be a "hero" of the people. He thinks the people don't care about the differences between Cirinism and Kevillism, but by pointing out their differences with the "Hsiffies" he can take control.

Weisshaupt believes he owes Cerebus leaving the Cockroach passed out in Bediun, because he used the Cockroach to gain wealth and power.

According to Weisshaupt in issue 21: "I use movable type. . .Individual letters cast in lead molds. It's an invention of my own."

When he shows Cerebus his signed papers about the United Feldwar States we his signature and his full name: Adam Weisshaupt. (Issue 54, p. 62 of Church & State I)

According to Weisshaupt his uncle is Suenteus Po. Issue 76

Basis

Weisshaupt is partially based on the historical figure Adam Weishaupt, founder of the Bavarian Illuminati, and partially on the portrayal of the historical figure in the Illuminatus! trilogy (in which, among other things, it is alleged that Adam Weishaupt replaced George Washington and served as the first President of the United States). The wig he wears is in the eighteenth-century style.

Dave on Weisshaupt

Issue 26, Letters

"Weisshaupt was a millionaire nut. He is not unlike the current crop of 19th century conservatives who figure that you can run a country like a corporation. Once his face was known and there was no hope for Elrod to assist in getting his activities sanctioned, he was only going one place; military jail and then the gallows. The Military Government of Lower Felda doesn't tolerate any movement from the private sector into their domain; governing.".

Swords of Cerebus, volume six, Introduction to issues 21-22

As for Weisshaupt himself, I had decided with these two issues [21-22] to do a parody of Captain America, patriotism, xenophobia, revolution, literacy, "publish or perish", Bucky Barnes (Captain America's sidekick), Deadman, the "can-do" presidency (a la FDR and JFK), the aristocracy and mass appeal. Central to this story-line would be the most aristocratic, unorthodox, indefatigable obnoxiously self-confident and creatively schizophrenic individual in all of the Feldwar Valley.

As long as we're on the topic of my relentless quest to piss all of you, extremely, off, more than one fan has criticized the fact that Weisshaupt escapes his fate at the end of issue 22 and reappears some thirty issues hence with his plan for the United Feldwar States intact and nearing fruition (something of a mixed metaphor, but you get the idea). I even asserted something to that effect in Aardvark Comment when someone asked if Weisshaupt would be coming back and I replied that he would undoubtedly end up on the gallows for crimes against Lower Felda's military tribunal.

It was one of those times when I tried to move the storyline in a direction it wouldn't follow. Why? Because Weisshaupt is too smooth, too self-assured, too aware, ... too Weisshaupt, to just accept a verdict and start writing his will. He sold out.

You have to read between the lines to pick up on that, but then Weisshaupt is hardly the type to reappear and announce "Guess what? I abandoned all of my previous convictions and now I'm cooperating with the authorities because I've discovered it's an easier way to get what I want".

Notice how in this storyline he isn't talking about the peasants and the livestock? No disparaging of the common people. Quite the contrary. He's using the people against the established order. He's fighting a guerrilla war with established banking institutions, adopting a common, grass-roots perception of current events and offering it as an alternative to the present government. Then he got caught. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

His success in the more recent issues (circa Church & State I ) stems from aligning himself with the vanishing aristocracy, the new merchant class (not so new by this point) and, basically, anyone with enough money and influence to help him move things along. And guess which previous allies he had to desert to achieve this goal? No. No hints.

The point I wanted to get across was that the Captain America-style character steeped in patriotism, thinking with his muscles and xenophobic as a son-of-a-bitch ... plays right into the hands of a ruthless schemer and opportunist like Weisshaupt. The presidential use of xenophobia as a means of unifying widely-differing factions behind a single leader was central to the story line."

Issue 64, letters page

"Weisshaupt is based, to a degree, on the historical Weishaupt -- primarily, as you say, in his aversion to the Church and its superstructure. In the Illuminati, it is implied that he replaced George Washington at some point between the time Washington was a General and when he became President. I used him as a sort of quintessential American President -- an FDR, JFK type. Charismatic, self assured, can-do type. I am fascinated by individuals who nurture, encourage and generate their own personality cults in order to achieve and hold positions of power. That's what Weisshaupt as a Character allows me to explore in self-indulgent depth.

Quotes

"I firmly believe that if you can't fool all of the people all of the time, you should start breeding them for stupidity..." (issue 21)

"It never ceases to amaze me that the lower classes are as fascinated by money as they are...Money of all things! Hahahaha!" (issue 22)

"Whenever I get the urge to do something, I just give a few orders and it goes away..." (Issue 57)

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