Robot 6

‘There hasn’t been any excitement like this … since they killed Superman’

Amazing Spider-Man #583 (Obama variant cover)

Amazing Spider-Man #583 (Obama variant cover)

With all of the publicity leading up to today’s release of The Amazing Spider-Man #583, it’s no surprise that lines for the Barack Obama variant cover began forming well before many comic stores opened.

But who would’ve guessed the event would require a bouncer?

At FishbowlNY, Noah Davis passes along word that the Midtown Comics Times Square location has “a nightclub-like bouncer at the door and block-long line of (mostly) guys waiting to get inside that stretches from 40th and 7th to 40th and 8th.”

The New York Times’ City Desk blog identifies the bouncer as the awesomely named Bronko Spaleta, 38, who said he was “frostbitten, but otherwise good.” Spaleta was tasked with crowd control: Safety codes permit only about 20 customers at a time in the store.

The story appears to be pretty much the same at stores across the country — long lines and brisk sales:

• A staff member at Jim Hanley’s Universe in New York City live-blogged the morning, and reported all copies of Issue 583 had been sold by noon.

• The Detroit Free Press reports copies of the issue, with or without the Obama cover, were flying off the shelves at the Comix Corner locations in Rochester Hills and Fraser, and at Comic Archives in Redford Township. Comics Corner owner Dan Ptaszek said he sold about 60 variant covers within minutes of his stores’ openings, and an additional 200 regular editions.

• The Free Press also reports that WonderWorld Comics in Taylor, Mich., is offering the issue for free with purchase of a $100 gift certificate. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Hero Initiative. Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, meanwhile, is offering the issue on a first-come, first-served basis, with money from sales going to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

“There hasn’t been any excitement like this in comics since they killed Superman” in 1992, WonderWorld co-owner Dennis Barger told the newspaper

Blog@ Newsarama has a roundup of the scenes at stores in New York City, Chicago, College Park, Ga., and Winston-Salem, N.C.

• You probably won’t see folks lining up for the variant cover at Comics Conspiracy in Sunnyvale, Calif. On Monday, the retailer posted a notice on its website informing customers that it won’t have the Obama cover because, “Marvel, for some reason, decided to make this book an incentive cover, meaning we had to order more copies of another book in order to get this issue.”

As of last night, the store reportedly had turned away 20 people who wanted to order the variant cover.

• John Hitchcock, owner of Parts Unknown in Greensboro, N.C., told the News-Record he ordered just 25 copies of the variant cover because Marvel “didn’t let us know Obama would be in it two-and-a-half months ago, when we had to order. So we’re making sure everyone who subscribes to it gets their copy. Then we’ll be selling them first come, first serve.”

He predicted all 25 copies would be gone by noon.

• On eBay, prices for The Amazing Spider-Man #583 (first printing) are … about as ridiculous as you’d expect. A quick scan shows a single issue listed for as much as $200. There are a lot of second printings popping up, which will almost certainly lead to heartbreak for some buyers.

Alakazam Comics in Irvine, Calif., is playing host to a signing by writer Zeb Wells and artist Todd Nauck today from 5 to 7 p.m. I hope the store is holding back copies of the issue, because it doesn’t sound like there will be too many left by the time of the event.

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Comments

21 Comments

The store that I go to they said there was a crowd of people outside from 9:30 to 11 when they opened. I just can’t believe people were going this crazy over a five page backup story and variant cover. I am hoping that Spider-Man will be getting some new readers after this.

I think the short-notice of this meant a lot of comic shops missed out on an opportunity to better promote their stores. I was kind of surprised that Midtown, who is normally good about this sort of thing, didn’t have some kind of takeaway bag insert encouraging first-time visitors to return.

http://nosleep-nyc.blogspot.com/2009/01/crowds-line-up-for-spidey-obama-team-up.html

@Liam:
No. Comics will stay a dwindling industry unless they allow mainstream success for non-superhero books (Hint: More people buy collected editions then the singles), til then…no.

Rob! Liefeld has Obama in the cover of Youngblood #8 and nobody has shown it in the news.

No lines at my store, but I got there about an hour and a half after opening. They had a sign on the door saying they were sold out.

I was at the Beguiling in Toronto at noon, where there were tons left, but they were limiting them to one per customer. They had WAY more copies of the variant than the normal cover. I hear, across town, the Silver Snail had a line out the door. This isn’t even in the US! ;o)

Damn Marvel for putting out a stunt comic everyone wants! They’re just buying in to the mass delusion that liberals want…or something like that….

JR: Who’s “they” that doesn’t allow for non-super heroes? Marvel’s doing well with the Steven King stuff. DC’s Vertigo line has strong sellers in the tpb market.

“Rob! Liefeld has Obama in the cover of Youngblood #8 and nobody has shown it in the news.”

It’s on the front page of CBR right now.

i was the second to last person to be able to purchase this at the comic store in my city. sold out in 10 minutes.
love it.

So many shops missed out on this one.
It was a late solicitation from Marvel with an email that included a paragraph half way down the page mentioning last chance to increase orders being dropped in their inboxes on the 17th of December, right in the middle of silly season shopping! No wonder so many comic shop owners missed it.

“Rob! Liefeld has Obama in the cover of Youngblood #8 and nobody has shown it in the news.”

The story from SM #583 was already used in Savage Dragon- the Impostor impersonates President Bush instead of The Chameleon impersonating President-elect Obama.

And to be fair, after Obama showed up on the cover of Savage Dragon last fall and now on Spider-man (and inside), an appearance in Youngblood is a bit late to stir up any excitement.

i was at Atomic Comics in Phoenix (Paradise Valley location) by noon, and they were already sold out. And for the hour I was there, people kept coming in the store and pre-ordering the second printing when they found the first one was out. And the phone rang every minutes with a question about the book. All this, and no one seemed to notice that a certain icon bit the- well, no spoilers, but a few of you know what I mean.

idiocy. our lcs barely had any copies because of this last-minute rubbish stunt marvel has pulled. all copies pre-sold the day before it was released.

nice sales spike there, marvel. your flagship character’s title is dying a slow, monotonous death, so you throw a varaint soon-to-be-president cover in and a piece of trash story at the end of the issue, which as noted, is a carbon copy of something another publisher did just a few weeks back. should make your amazing spider-man sales look awesome… for a week.

classy.

My LCS was sold out as of 1:00 pm Tuesday. They ordered 2nd printings, took a list of names for those, and (pre-)sold out of those by 5:00 pm Wednesday.

In total, they sold 3 times as many as normal, which, multiplied times the usual 70,000 copies nationwide, would suggest that 210,000 copies will be sold. I would think that 300,000 would be a minimum level, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the total of all printings would reach 500,000. I fully expect a fourth or even fifth prining.

The actual story was stupid as hell. Yet this shit is selling like pancakes because of the speculation that this will one day be worth a lot.

Welcome back, the 90’s, we have missed you.

That 5 page story was written for 2nd graders. Yes we can’t!

The way I see it, comics got some publicity, LCS got some traffic and attention, a number of them sold the variant cover for some real money, so they got a cash infusion during a typically dead month.

I see 0 problems with this.

This is beyond ridiculous!! I work for a comic store in SF, and we were completely frustrated with all this BS. Marvel never told the retailers that they were going to pull this media stunt to get more sheep to buy the comic. That plus the all the hoops they put you through to order the variant cover meant that our store wasn’t able to get the Obama cover. It forced us to look like a party pooper when people would call or come by to see if we had the comic. I thought the age of comics being purchased for “investments” was over.

Oh, and I have to say MAJOR Jeers to Alakazam Comics for putting on their creators signing then charging THIRTY DOLLARS for a comic that should have only cost $3.99. If I’m ever in Irvine and decide to check out their comic shops, I’ll be sure to avoid Alakazam at all costs. The only way I’d be cool with them jacking up the price is if a large part of the profits were for charity.

I called every comic shop on Long Island and none of the stores here had a single Obama variant for sale at any price! I was told Fourth World Comics got hundres of copis, but when I called them before they opened on Wednesday morning, they told me they were not available for sale at all! The other comics shops told me Diamond swiped all their copies and put them on ebay back on January 9th! I think it’s true, too, because if you look on ebay, they had hundreds of copies selling on Jan. 9th before it was even announced in the newspapers! I guess that’s the thanks the comic shops get for dealing with Diamond all these years. That’s what happens when you’re dealing with a monopoly, I guess.

scavenger…

publicity? a single comic got publicity. once the customer was out the door, he/she didn’t give a rat’s ass about any other comic book in the store.

my lcs got next to no extra traffic due to the fact that the few copies they got in sold immediately. phone calls only. anyone tha did come in walked out as soon as they were told it had sold out. wouldn’t even buy the non-obama cover of ams #583.

it’s speculative garbage stunts like this that helped put marvel into chapter 11 in the first place. perhaps making an effort at good stories combined with good art, instead of cheap sales-spiking stunts like this, would keep the industry progressing somewhat.

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