Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Obama, Comics, and You

So, I'm sure you've all heard by now that our President-Elect will be making an appearance in the pages (and on some covers) of Amazing Spider-Man. Pretty cool, huh? Pretty savvy move by Marvel, what with the Inauguration coming next week, right? It's going to be a great way to get non-comics readers into comics shops, right? And those people will be forever hooked on our wonderful medium. Right?



Uh, no.

Sure, the demand is going to be crazy--heck, it's been crazy since before this past weekend. And sure, people who wouldn't know the difference between The Outsiders and The Defenders will innocently wander into comics shops all over the country asking for the "Obama Spider-Man for $.50 cents...please."

And retailers, in an effort to capitalize on this opportunity to gain new customers will happily say, "Here you go, as you can see, we have plenty of them in stock so please--"

Wait, wait. That won't happen. Not even close. And, why won't that happen, you ask? Well, let me hit you with some knowledge (he says, as he punches the air next to his computer and brushes off a strange look from a co-worker).

This Marvelous (ha!) stunt, while a brilliant PR move for the company...ends up being kind of...mean to retailers. You see, the "Obama Spidey Book" will ship to retailers with two covers. One cover will feature Obama, and the other will not.

Guess which one all the "civilians" walking into comics shops today will want. Exactly. Now, to complicate things further, the Obama cover is a variant, and is limited in production. So, quick math here--there will be less of the Obama cover than of the regular cover.

And, to make things worse, in order for retailers to get ANY Obama covers, they had to increase their normal orders of Spidey several weeks ago, being told that, if they do so, they'll get more of this (then) secret cover...which would be to ship several weeks into the future.


Confusing? I'd say so. In any case, if you're going to the LCS today thinking you'll walk home with an Obama book, well...most likely you won't. But, hey, at least they are on Ebay for...wait for it...$100 bucks.

Now, so as not to end this thing on a down note, the great comics news blog The Beat has reported that Marvel, in an effort to make up for this retailer slight, will be making the collected graphic novel version of Stephen King's The Stand available only to comics shops, and not to book store chains. You can check out the story here.

Also, for more on the Obama Spidey cover mess, check out Rich Johnston's latest Lying in the Gutters column on Comic Book Resources right here.

And, to all of you planning to venture out to the stores in hopes of attaining an Obama cover, I say to thee good luck. And, if you do manage to get one, please leave us a comment and let us know about it. Also, let us know what the scene at your LCS is like today, since there's likely going to be tons of new foot traffic, what with all the hoopla.

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