Home Publishers Marvel Spider-Man’s team-up with Obama gets attention…lots of it

Spider-Man’s team-up with Obama gets attention…lots of it


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.

Nutty, huh?

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?


  1. I was in my local comic shop yesterday and overheard one of the clerks complaining that while Marvel trumpeted the Obama appearance to the media, they didn’t tell the retailers about it in advance. Consequently, they under-ordered and also didn’t really have anything to say when local media called them up. I don’t know if this is true, but if so, it seems like a minor missed opportunity.

  2. There’s no way the retailers could have known about this in time. I still remember my retailer, years and years ago, complaining at length about not being properly notified about the twist in Thunderbolts 1.

  3. There’s no way at all that retailers could have ordered enough copies. Marvel seemed to pull this out of nowhere. I remember my retailer complaining at length when I was a teenager about Marvel not giving him enough notice about the twist in Thunderbolts #1.

    I hate saying it, especially here, but seriously, if someone wants to make some good pocket cash, hit the store early and pick up a few extra copies and sell them on ebay later in the week. We’re probably going to see a Captain America 25 effect here, if not more so since that was at least ordered fairly heavily.

  4. > It started five or six years ago — remember the Gay Rawhide Kid? Or
    > the gay Batwoman? Or the death of Captain America?

    Heck, I remember analagous media frenzies around the Death of Superman and the Alpha-Flight’s-Northstar-comes-out-of-the-closet comic books. And those were (not to make anyone feel their age too much) happened about fifteen or sixteen years ago…

  5. While the cover art has a decent rendition of Obama, the interior art is just a complete JOKE! It looks NOTHING like the man. In fact, I’d argue it looks like J Jonah Jameson colored brown!!! They couldn’t even get the color of his tie correct!

    Least they could have done was pull a Dennis Calero and traced photos from a Google image search!

  6. What’s unfortunate is that they didn’t give us much warning to capitalize upon it (I know several with-it, AAA+ retailers who missed the notice in time to order up), and that the level of orders required to get the Obama cover was, shall we say, unrealistically high for most stores to consider.

    There are two covers on the book, but the one pictured is the one that the civvies are going to want, and only a small fraction of stores will have ANY of them available (even for preorder/subscription customers)


  7. Retailers knew about Obama appearing in the comic, but Marvel made us jump through hoops in order to get it. I passed, since I’m sick of playing the “Variant Game”. I ordered a few copies of the 2nd print, for those that really, really want the Obama cover, though. Here’s hoping Marvel will eventually learn.

  8. I now understand that Marvel’s rushing the 2nd print for Jan 21, a week after the first print and a day after the inauguration. This is *much* better than four weeks, but is still problematic.

    Given the current economic woes, I’m concerned that there will be more speculators trying to make a quick buck, however our subscribers will get first crack, so we’ll only have the non-Obama cover for the civilians. One per customer, no phone orders. We’ll take names & phone numbers for the 2nd print, but I’m skeptical most civilians will be interested.

  9. If Marvel wants to help the retailer:
    1) Issue a promotional poster which can be displayed in a store window. Allow stores to order one case of posters for free to give away. (This will discourage speculation.) Retailers can then use the poster to advertise the second printing.
    2) Have the artist sign one copy of the poster for each Diamond account.
    3) Ship the second printing on a fully returnable basis. Retailers pay shipping costs both ways. Deadline would be April 30, 2009, giving retailers a three-month window to sell the copies.
    4) Print a third variant for the HERO Initiative and ComicsPRO.
    5) Partner with the Comic Shop Locator. Hire street marketeers to hand out fliers during the Inaugural festivities listing regional comic book stores and how to find the comic in other parts of the country. Schedule the creative staff (uncertain… press release lists one set, issue solicitation lists another, is the Obama story a backup?) to make scheduled appearances at each comicbook store in the DC metro area that weekend.

    From Marvel.Com
    “Marvel is rushing this to the printers over the weekend and urges all retailers to use Diamond Code NOV088096 to place orders by Monday to best ensure that they have quantity in stock…”

    246 items for sale on eBay… some are the second printing (version “C”)…

    Oh gods… have you seen the regular cover that everyone is going to see?
    “Special Tribute-to-Dating Issue!!”
    Peter is flanked by two attractive women. His word balloons read: “Sorry, web-head! I’m taking the night off! Face it, COUGARS– you’ve just hit the JACKPOT!” (CAPS = BOLD)

    Written by Mark Waid. Dunno who wrote the cover copy.

    Is this another example of Marvel shooting themselves in the foot while said food is in mouth?

  10. Marvel has missed the ball (and the story) with everything in the past few years. Their philosophy of story is ‘nothing matters, because it’s not important as the next pointless thing’ and they delay stuff so much it loses it’s hype by the time it gets there. Anyone remember ‘I quit’?

    The saddest thing is Amazing is the worst comic book I’ve ever read. It’s has had the most empty promises I’ve ever seen in a book. It’s used to be really good… even with the marriage and the clones. Yes. That’s what I said. Because stuff actually happened.

  11. the pathetic moaning here is why nobody listens to any of you. Marvel did this to get on cnn, thats it. they dont care about their piddling sales on this title going up 3% because noone’s going to a comic book shop to get this if they dont already shop there.

  12. Well,
    I was lucky enough to get the inaugural one and the tribute to dating issue for $8.00 today from a comic book store. No one knew that in thetribute issue, in the back there is a special insert re” Obama.

  13. Marvel is too busy making billions off of movies to give a rat’s ass about selling a couple more comic books which is why they probably messed up the retailer stuff, cuz frankly, their mind is in LA with Robert Downer Jr.

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