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.  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?

dragon_obama.jpgErik Larsen isn’t too happy over Marvel stealing his idea.

As far as Marvel goes– I can’t help but feel very betrayed. They duplicated the incentive cover–and preempted my upcoming one–and even used the “terrorist fist jab.” Clearly those in the “house of ideas” looked at what I did and found inspiration.

I hear that they’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 speech–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 world–the one outside our funnybook bubble–Marvel will spin themselves as these great innovators who came up with this terrific publicity stunt–instead of the thieves they are.

And I know what they’re saying when they’re called on it–”Presidents have appeared in comics before” and “Erik didn’t create Barack Obama” and blah, blah, blah.

The thing that Marvel is attempting to do is to frame the argument. To say “we’ve featured presidents in the past–this is what we do–it’s part of a pattern.” But that’s a false argument. The “stunt” was an alternate cover featuring Obama– 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 others– they could legitimately claim that they were following a pattern and doing what they’ve done in the past– but that wasn’t the case. And theirs is not simply the appearance of a president in a comic book but one on an alternate cover– and one concocted to try and get some of the same attention that got. I did not create Obama– I did, however, have a character endorse him, long before he was elected while Marvel played footsie with Stephen Colbert– 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: It’s the story you’ve seen everywhere from CNN to the New York Times to Fox News—Spider-Man and United States President-Elect Barack Obama meet for the first time—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.  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.  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?

Quotes via Marvel, Robot 6, and Comic Impact


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. Its gotta suck to be Obama

    Taking office right after a skrull invasion.

    Its gonna be a long tough road

    I spent $14.32 at my LCS yesterday (part of my “slim down the new year”) and didnt even look twice at the idiot trying to sell his comic that he’d bought 10 minutes ago for $4 at $50 to a bunch of idiot un-regulars. I’m just glad my shop owner had the balls to tell this regular to knock it the hell off.

    This whole shit ridden stupid event is just bad for local shop owners who end up getting all the heat while the publishers make all the headlines.

  2. Like him, love him, or hate him….Barack Obama is absoulutely marketable. It may be a cheap tatic…but it sure is smart on Marvel’s part. I don’t begrudge them at all on this one. Honestly, should we ever complain when a comic book is part of a nationally covered story?

  3. I’m kinda glad DC isn’t jumping on this bandwagon because like the problem I have with all real life figures in comics it dates the book pretty badly, whether it be Obama or Reagan in DKR. However saying that I’m a huge fan of “South Park,” so I’m a hypocrite.

  4. Its a cash grab plain and simple but lets be honest Marvel is FAR from the only one cashing in on Obama. There was an Article about how the image of MLK is being stole all over the places and being put up on websites and T-shirts along side Obama. The problem is Obama image is in the Public Domain, MKL isn’t and his estate isn’t happy about it. Or lets not forget ever major Newspapers is selling a special Obama Nov. 4th paper and most likely will do the same for the Inauguration. I mean there is reason he on almost ever magazine in the country I sure some of its the historical but most of its is the fact his face sells. Come on Obama on US….

    I have nothing against people making money god know the Press industry needs the money. I think it was clear what this was as soon as I seen it. I don’t know why the people that gave us Secret Invasion and Civil War would be expect to be doing anything other than a Cash Grab. If you want and Obama Comic for your Shelf to remember these times go for better than an Obama bobie head or chewing Gum but this really seem to prove Stevens point Marvel can shovel out Content in a Hurry to beat other out others(D.C.) on an Idea or in this case yet the issue out in time to cash in on the Inauguration. And come on most people are just buying it for the cover anyways.

  5. @ Brother129

    No, I love that comic books are making headlines, but I hate that Marvel does things the way they do.

    Because of this hype and the lack of any type of warning in time to order more stock, my LCS guy (who I adore) got to hear earful after earful for not stocking enough books and he had nothing to tell them about when another issue would be available.

    Its just bad business, and if a perspective customer went to try to grab this book and wasnt able to, what are the chances they will come back to buy a Watchmen trade or an action figure or anything?

    If you didnt know better about the workings of publishers and how they treat LCS’s what would your opinion be of a comic book shop that doesnt have a comic book on the day its released?

    Bad form from publishers to the LCS, as usual

  6. A great point, Stephen. Marvel IS doing a good job of winning the marketing war.

    I add my two cents though as a former television news director: the Media, with a big capital M, right now is faaaaarr more in tune with “All Things Obama” than anything else. Look at the ads cable news networks are running for inaugration day…they go beyond “watch us; our coverage will be the best”, they’re borderline worshipful of the man, and some people out there may call even my assessment an understatement. Even local stations in my area during their newscasts are talking about live network coverage Wednesday. Live network coverage – that doesn’t happen for JACK SHIT anymore.

    But that aside, I gotta tell you, I think even the Media with a big capital M can see the “Death of Batman” for the same shit different day that it is. And NO ONE does same shit different day like the Media does! So, when you THESE GUYS – the guys who set the STANDARD for same shit different day – are going ho-hum at YOUR same shit different day – then you got HUGE problems. It’s time to come up with some new shit…or die today.

    I don’t doubt for a second that there isn’t more than one muckity-muck at Time Warner watching this and calculating what it means for the Batman franchise, the DC brand, and the future of a certain dumbass.

  7. Catching up on my blog reading – and found this great quote:

    If Marvel went with a mad overprint, slabbed them up with a certificate of authenticity and actually got on QVC, then yes, they could sell that many, at upwards of twenty bucks a set, easily. The important words in the sentence are “on QVC”. It amazes me what you can sell on QVC, and at what price.

    I am not 100% sure that there isn’t a plan to so this in the pipe, maybe not directly through marvel, but via Dynamic Forces, once king of the signed and bagged QVC appearances.

    And bear in mind, this is not a comic book they’re buying, it’s an Obama Item.

    Here’s the source:

  8. Marvel reminds me of “that guy” that is always trying to “one up” the other person….ugh. The only thing Marvel I am reading is Deadpool…..everything else…blech.

    “one more day” ugh was more like “one last day”

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