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:
• 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.