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Creating History with the President-Elect

by  in Comic News Comment
Creating History with the President-Elect

With President-Elect Barack Obama gracing the variant cover of “Amazing Spider-Man” #583, Americans lined up by the thousands today to pick up the collectible Marvel comic being hailed as the biggest single issue release since the DC’s “Death of Superman” issue in 1992.

And no comic shop was better prepared for the festivities than Alakazam Comics as the store, located in Irvine, Calif., played host to the creative team behind the story, writer Zeb Wells and artist Todd Nauck, for a special signing from 5 to 7 p.m. PST.

CBR News checked in with store manager Will Call for an update during the big event.

At 6 p.m., Call said there were approximately 100 people in the cue waiting for signatures and he expected to sell out all 200 of his available copies by the end of the evening.

Alakazam Comics was selling the book for $30 a pop.

“We’ve been getting calls all weekend and today my phone was ringing off the hook. It was ridiculous,” said Call. “We started selling them this morning but we had to stop because I wanted to make sure we had them for the signing. I wish I would have bought double or triple the amount that I did so I could make sure I had some for everyone.

“I am probably seeing 90 per cent of the people here today that have never bought a comic before in their life.”

Call agreed “emphatically” with the notion that today’s release of “Amazing Spider-Man” #583 was the biggest event in comic history since 1992 when the Man of Steel died in “Superman” #75.

With Nauck left to continue the signing, Call handed the phone over to Wells, who admitted he couldn’t believe the attention the book was getting.

“Everything has happened so quickly, which is probably for the best. I am an egomaniac as it is, I don’t want to be entirely insufferable,” quipped Wells, who added it’s “cool” that the President-Elect is a Spidey fan.

“Amazing Spider-Man” #583 Second Printing Variant

“I’m hoping he reads it eventually,” said Wells.

Asked if he was expecting an official invite to the White House, Wells joked, “I’d assume so. I’d be very disappointed, if I wasn’t.”

Wells only learned of the assignment in mid-December.

“I was asked on a Wednesday and Todd had to start drawing on a Friday, so there wasn’t a lot of time to consider what we were getting into,” explained Wells.

When CBR News called back at 7 p.m., we connected with Nauck, who like Wells, wasn’t entirely prepared for the media frenzy of the past seven days.

“Not to this degree,” he said. “Actually when I got the assignment, I knew I was doing a five-page story but I didn’t know exactly what it would be until the next day. And then [editor] Steve Wacker let me know at the beginning that this was going to get hyped up, so get ready. And he was right. Since last Thursday, my Facebook and MySpace pages have been deluged with personal messages and a comment posts from fans and friends and family.”

While the readers, fans and collectors
in line were picking up a piece of history today, Nauck has the real McCoy in his personal collection.

“I still have all of the original art and for now I’m just going to hold onto it,” said Nauck. “I’ve had many people wanting to purchase it but I’m not sure what I want to do with it just yet – if I want to sell it or keep it myself, because it is such a historic piece. For the time being, I am keeping it in my personal collection.”

Nauck paused and added, “I’m just enjoying all the hype for what it is while it’s going. I’m sure after the inauguration, this will all die down.”

The artist of the landmark cover said he would love to present President-Elect Obama with a personal signed copy.

“I’d be honored. I am really looking forward to seeing what he does for the country,”said Nauck, who added he loves that the President-Elect is “cool with comics.”

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