Yesterday was another banner day for Marvel as non-comic readers lined up to get their mitts on the Obama variant cover to Amazing Spider-Man #583.Â This was a limited variant, and some stores jacked up prices, which didn’t make too many people happy – including one ass of a store clerk.
What of other reactions?
As far as Marvel goesâ€“ I canâ€™t help but feel very betrayed. They duplicated the incentive coverâ€“and preempted my upcoming oneâ€“and even used the â€œterrorist fist jab.â€ Clearly those in the â€œhouse of ideasâ€ looked at what I did and found inspiration.
I hear that theyâ€™re even doing a story similar to the one I did four years back, where an image-altering villain disguises himself as the President (in my story the Impostor replaced President Bush and took his place for a speechâ€“in theirs the Chameleon, the shape-shifting villain, is going to spoil a speech being given by President-Elect Obama). The whole mess just feels really underhanded. I feel betrayed and, frankly, ripped off and in the real worldâ€“the one outside our funnybook bubbleâ€“Marvel will spin themselves as these great innovators who came up with this terrific publicity stuntâ€“instead of the thieves they are.
And I know what theyâ€™re saying when theyâ€™re called on itâ€“â€Presidents have appeared in comics beforeâ€ and â€œErik didnâ€™t create Barack Obamaâ€ and blah, blah, blah.
The thing that Marvel is attempting to do is to frame the argument. To say â€œweâ€™ve featured presidents in the pastâ€“this is what we doâ€“itâ€™s part of a pattern.â€ But thatâ€™s a false argument. The â€œstuntâ€ was an alternate cover featuring Obamaâ€“ which was something no publisher had done with any president in the past and one that received a lot of press when I did it. If Marvel had done alternate covers with Bush and Clinton or any of the othersâ€“ they could legitimately claim that they were following a pattern and doing what theyâ€™ve done in the pastâ€“ but that wasnâ€™t the case. And theirs is not simply the appearance of a president in a comic book but one on an alternate coverâ€“ and one concocted to try and get some of the same attention that got. I did not create Obamaâ€“ I did, however, have a character endorse him, long before he was elected while Marvel played footsie with Stephen Colbertâ€“ a joke candidate.
For those who didn’t purchase a $25.00 variant cover yesterday, Marvel has announced it is going back to press to make sure everyone has a chance to get on the bandwagon.
UPDATED: Itâ€™s the story youâ€™ve seen everywhere from CNN to the New York Times to Fox Newsâ€”Spider-Man and United States President-Elect Barack Obama meet for the first timeâ€”and to meet the unprecedented demand, Marvel is going back to press with Amazing Spider-Man #583 Third Printing Obama Variant.
The first two printings sold out immediately and Marvel urges retailers to place their orders by Monday, January 19th, using Diamond Code NOV088141.
Who is the biggest loser in this big media event?
Once again Marvel preempted what could have been DC’s big press week, as Final Crisis #6 finally featured the “death” of Batman.Â I’m sure Dan DiDio wanted to see Final Crisis #6 make it to the top of the monthly sales list, but it finally looks like Spider-Man beat Batman.
You do have to give credit to Marvel for some of its recent tactics (flooding the market one week to drown DC’s release, the whole Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited (DCU), and now this) to ensure it remains at the top of comic world mountain.Â Not sure how much longer these kind of practices can continue before the company shiny star is tarnished.
Or perhaps I’m just reading too much into this?