Sure, the news is old by now, but we all know that the Amazing Spider-Man Obama variant cover sold like candy canes on Christmas, and subsequently saw a surge of insanely high bidding on eBay. Amazing Spider-Man #583 was just the latest in the long line of publicly sought issues, joining the illustrious ranks of Superman #75 and Captain America #25, with irregular readers lining up around blocks to guarantee their copy (anything less than a 1st Printing is unacceptable!). What’s interesting about this, is only a week later, one of the most iconic heroes of all time, “died”.
I put that in quotes, because most anyone reading this blog knows that Bats was hit with the Omega Sanction and will, ultimately, come back at some time down the line, one way or another. By all accounts, judging from the track record of iconic heroes dying in their books (Superman, Captain America), Final Crisis #6 should’ve been the next book to warrant mass hysteria of Obama proportions, but it didn’t. At all. There was no article on CNN; there was nothing about it anywhere, in fact, aside from the comics based news sites. Hell, even Pa Kent got a mention on the home page of CNN.
One would assume that this same public that went Obama crazy over the Spidey issue was, at least in part, the same public that made The Dark Knight the SECOND HIGHEST GROSSING FILM OF ALL TIME. Does this say that a.) the public does not see the film portrayal of the Batman character on the same level as his comic counterpart, or b.) the general public likes Spider-Man more than Batman, which means the rule of “option A” does not apply, as Spider-Man 3 was clearly a far less functional movie, or c.) America simply has a hard on for Obama (see also: Obama Trading Cards, Ojamas, Obamarella). I’m going to go with “option C”, or none of the above.
The reason that these same millions of people that buy Ojamas or snatch up dozens of the same issue featuring President Obama’s mug on the cover is not only because of the “collectible” stigma that still surrounds the medium, but a simple marketing error on the part of DC. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely do not support the influx of “readers” that comicdom garners when a major character kicks the bucket, as it does nothing to really help the industry other than give a certain publisher the number one book of the month. There are very few readers I’ve met that started reading at Superman #75 and have continued on to this day. However, making money is making money, and I think it was an error on DC’s part to not capitalize on the success of The Dark Knight (#2 OF ALL TIME) and push Batman’s death down everyones throats.The reason people did not line up around the block for Final Crisis #6 is NOT because his death didn’t take place in a Batman title (though, admittedly, “Batman RIP” did generate a bit of a buzz in the public forum, and perhaps the cliffhanger ending left people jaded). As we all know, people in general are like sheep; they will flock to wherever they are directed. That’s not a cynical statement in the least - we see proof of this in the fact that marketing even exists. The whole idea of marketing lies on the concept that you can make people think (or buy) what you want them to. The fact that DC did not really generate any buzz of its own in the mainstream press about FC #6 is the only reason I can fathom that Batman’s death did not generate an Obama-like craze, particularly in a year where The Dark Knight reigned supreme.As I said, I don’t approve of these “blockbuster” issues, as I’m selfish and they usually only lead to me having a hard time finding the next issue of a series I was already reading, impeded by people that are buying this book simply because of hype, and who will not continue reading. Hell, they might not even read the issue they buy! I’m not bitter, I’m simply longing for the day that the “general” public and “mainstream” news sources become one, and understand each other.
Also, The Dark Knight was shafted in the Oscars. But, that’s a whole new argument entirely.