A Reuters story about the issue of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, with Barack Obama guest starring has been printed everywhere,. In our news feed it showed up all over the US, in Australia, India, Ghana, New Zealand, you name it. It was even on the front page of the Drudge Report:
Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada said the idea for the “Spidey meets the President!” edition came from a statement from Obama’s campaign listing 10 little known facts about the Democrat who will be America’s first black president.
“Right at the top of that list was he collected Spider-Man comics,” Quesada told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
“I was inundated with tons of fan mail saying ‘Have you read this?'” Quesada said. “I was just floored, absolutely floored, to find out that the future commander-in-chief was actually going to be the future nerd-in-chief.”
What’s notable about all this is that we now take this kind of media saturation for comic book stories for granted. It started five or six years ago — remember the gay Rawhide Kid? Or the gay Batwoman? Or the death of Captain America? The first few times one of these stories exploded, it seemed miraculous to longtime comic book watchers. Now, it’s ho hum, another media stunt.
We remember when this kind of coverage for ANY comic book story would have resulted in everyone in comics doing the happy dance, thinking “Now we’ve arrived!” It seems we arrived a long time ago now. We also recall (showing age now) how comics retailers, publishers and other think tankers long dreamed of forming a “Milk Board” for comics that would advertise how famous people read comics and it was okay.
Who needs a Milk Board when you have celebrities, pseudo-celebrities and politicians (like…uh, POTUS) casually proclaiming their love for comics. Sometimes they even have to explain why they DON’T read comics, as if it were something to be ashamed of.
We may be standing on the brink of dark times now, but to you, my fellow comics travelers, I say, sometimes it’s important to take a moment to look at how far we’ve come. When you see how much road is behind us, it makes the road ahead look a lot better, doesn’t it?