Spider-Man Met Barack Obama 10 Years Ago (and Sold a TON of Comics)

As hard as it is to believe, this week marks the 10th anniversary of The Amazing Spider-Man #583's publication on Jan. 14, 2009. While the main story, written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Barry Kitson, featured a one-off tale about Peter Parker's trials and tribulations with single life after the magical undoing of his marriage to Mary Jane Watson, it was the five-page backup story that propelled the issue into headlines and to the top of sales charts.

Commemorating the inauguration of 44th President of the United States Barack Obama, the short story, "Spidey Meets the President!," saw the friendly neighborhood Web-Slinger travel to Washington, D.C. to cover the inauguration as a photojournalist for The Daily Bugle.

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Once inside the nation's capital, Peter Parker assumes his superhero alter ego after discovering a plot by the Chameleon to impersonate the incoming president and be sworn into office instead. Faced with two seemingly identical president-elects, Spider-Man quizzes the Barack Obamas on the true president's personal history and basketball trivia, exposing the fraud.

With his imposter arrested by the Secret Service, Obama shares a fist bump with the Wall-Crawler before Spidey observes the new president being sworn into office while perched atop the Capitol Buildig.

The backup story was written by Zeb Wells and illustrated by Todd Nauck and Frank D'Armata, with the creative team first working in a digital comic prologue that showed Peter Parker's arrival in Washington as the Chameleon attempted to detain the real Barack Obama while he enacted his master scheme.

Something may be lost on readers today is that the cover for the issue, illustrated by Phil Jimenez and featuring the new president giving a thumbs up, was actually a variant. The standard cover actually highlighted the date night story serving as the issue's main feature.

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At the time, sales for a single issue of The Amazing Spider-Man would average around 70,000 copies. Published a week before the inauguration, The Amazing Spider-Man #583 would go on to sell over 350,000 copies and become the bestselling regularly numbered ongoing series single issue of the '00s.

The issue would go through five printings, with the variant cover becoming highly prized after a subsequent reprintings made changes, like adding the American flag to the background or recoloring the backdrop entirely.

NEXT PAGE: The Success of the Spider-Man/Obama Team-Up Was Unprecedented

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