Damn your logic Seb. Damn your logic to hell.
Ok, ya know what…I was gonna go with one idea for this week’s column, but then I received an inspiration in the form of Mavlock’s post about The Army of Darkness/Obama cover and the countless Obama appearances that came before it.
Now, before you get all Republicans vs. Democrats on me, chill. This isn’t a political column. My voter’s registration card has me listed as a proud “Other”. In fact, so does my birth certificate, but that’s neither here nor there.
I’m not here to defend political parties or policies, but I AM going to defend the current phenomenon of putting President Obama in our comics.
First, let’s start with a brief history lesson. We all know that the comic book evolved from the comic strip, right? The earliest comic books being collections of newspaper strips, so, really comic books were the Trade Paperbacks of their day.
But, did you know that the comic book was not only first put out in America; it is the ONLY form of literature native to this country? That’s right, the idea to gather comic strips into a magazine-like format, and later to create NEW stories and run them in the new format, are all American.
So, what can be more American that depicting America’s leader?
Plus, let’s look for a minute at the comic book’s place in our society. Whatever else comics may be, they are definitely a part of pop-culture. Comics have always changed and adapted to the trends of American youth culture. Not kids, youth, I’m talking about 15-25 year olds, here. Comics have gone through changes ranging from serious to silly, dark and realistic to light and surreal. They also reflect the rest of pop-culture. The songs, TV shows, movies, books, fashions, likes, and dislikes of modern culture are always reflected in comics.
Right now, Obama is hot. He’s young, he’s new, he’s the first African American President of these United States. Like him or lump him, Obama IS pop-culture. And let us not forget, the man has openly admitted to buying, reading, and collecting comics. He gave comic books a PRESIDENTIAL ENDORSEMENT, so it’s perfectly natural that comics would want to return the favor. Heck, look at the Army of Darkness cover. Obama is in a comic shop flipping through back issues. That’s kind of cool.
Now, is every company using his image just because they are so very cutting edge? Hells, no! They are businesses and they are out to make a buck. Obama sells comics. He does. Look at the gazillion printings of Spiderman with the Obama back-up feature. Look at the Obama bio comics. They sell. There’s money in Obama’s visage on your cover. Economic bail-out plans aside, the man is good for the comic-economy. You may argue that the companies are selling out by cashing in on the Prez, but they will counter that they are doing EXACTLY that….SELLING OUT! Each and every issue! Multiple printings! Remember, SELLING OUT is what comic companies WANT to do!
Plus, these appearances are good for comics. They draw people in to comic shops that wouldn’t ordinarily be there. And, yes, some of them COME BACK. I’ve seen them. If your LCS is on the ball, they will be able to garner some new repeat business out of this trend, if nothing else, to the Obama “collectors”. Now, we’re all comic readers here, so I don’t have to explain the collector mentality to you. And yes, there are people out there who collect Obama paraphernalia. If they come back (and many do) for each one of the Obama covers that gets media attention, that can be a decent amount of “extra” income for a store. Even without the media attention, I’ve seen people come into FAMOUS FACES & FUNNIES just to ask Rick if any new Obama stuff came out that week. There was a little old lady who teaches at a local Elementary school who came in for the Spidey/Obama book. She was buying copies for her class. She came back for several of the subsequent printings, and even picked up some of the Obama bio-comics. I’ve seen her in the store semi-regularly since then, including at FCBD. Not only has the Obama-trend created a little niche in the industry that she and others like her are quick to fill, a niche for comic buyers who would NOT ordinarily BE comic buyers, but it opens doors for the regular books. Take this teacher for example, she brought the Spidey and bio- comics into her class for the kids. The kids now have a chance to get into the Spiderman storyline AND, thanks to the bio-comics, the kids, their parents, and other teachers, come to see comics as more than just mind-rotting fantasy. They see that comics can be used just like any other educational material.
That’s an impressive amount of pro-comic industry chutzpah for something as silly as having the President meet a super hero.
Now, sure, it can still be cheesy and highly over-done, but come on, what isn’t? Most of the comic industry is BASED on things that are cheesy and over done! ESPECIALLY the popular things. Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you Wolverine! Commuting from the San Francisco X-books to the Manhattan Avengers titles weekly!
Now, will comic fans be pleased by the continued use of the President’s mug in their comics? Well, no. But, let’s face it. Comic book fans aren’t pleased by much, really. We, as a group, like nothing more than to bitch about the very same books that we buy week after week, month after month. So pleasing us is irrelevant because the companies know a) it can’t be done – and b) we’re gonna buy our pull list anyway. Even if we drop one of their titles, most likely we’ll use the $4 to pick up something else.
So, for now, we’ll deal with the constant appearances of our 44th Commander in Chief, basking in the revenue and attention it gives our beloved genre. Eventually, it will, like all the trends before it and all those still to come, run its course.
And to our President I say, “Sir, I’ll see you in the funny papers.”
Damn your logic Seb. Damn your logic to hell.
"Now, will comic fans be pleased by the continued use of the President’s mug in their comics? Well, no. But, let’s face it. Comic book fans aren’t pleased by much, really. We, as a group, like nothing more than to bitch about the very same books that we buy week after week, month after month. So pleasing us is irrelevant because the companies know a) it can’t be done – and b) we’re gonna buy our pull list anyway. Even if we drop one of their titles, most likely we’ll use the $4 to pick up something else."
Ok- that made me laugh, it's true we do bitch alot. I still think it's a gimmick though, i just don't like gimmicks in general. although varient covers don't bother me as much as other gimmics.
honestly i gave up buying comics a couple of months ago because i'm so broke, so it's really no skin off my nose. I'm just getting sick of seeing comic companies whoring themselves out, but hey, i spose that's how they make money.
Of COURSE it's a gimmick!! But, seriously, WHAT in main-stream comics ISN'T?
Bruce Wayne is "dead"!
The world's worst villains are the new Avengers!
There are back-up features in the new $3.99 books!
Cross-overs! Cross-overs! Cross-overs!
There are STILL more subjects getting the Weapon-X treatment.
I love you, seb.
It is not to be helped. I am so very dreamy.
OOoo, is this thread getting some man X man lovin?! *perverted giggle*
haha good picture. kurt russel is a mad pimp!