UPDATED: Web-Slinger in the White House, Quesada on CNN

Spider-Man Meets Obama

Image from Amazing Spider-Man #583 featuring President-Elect Barack Obama
Image from Amazing Spider-Man #583 featuring President-Elect Barack Obama
Image from Amazing Spider-Man #583 featuring President-Elect Barack Obama

Updated: Marvel has informed Newsarama that Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada will be talking about Spider-Man meeting Obama on CNN three times: Today between 4:30 and 5:30 on The Situation Room, tonight between 8 and 9pm on Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull, and Friday morning between 6 and 9 am on CNN American Morning.

Sure, Barack Obama will meet leaders of the world. But who knew he was important enough to meet Spider-Man?

Next week, Obama will meet the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man face-to-face during his inauguration ceremony in Amazing Spider-Man #583. But according to Marvel, the president-elect's starring role is not just because he's the country's new leader. This meeting came about because Obama has acknowledged that he collected Spider-Man comics growing up.

"Obama is a Spider-Man fan," said Steve Wacker, the current editor of Amazing Spider-Man for Marvel Comics . "When that news about [him collecting Spider-Man] came out, we were all talking about it. We got tons of questions about it. I got a bunch of j-pegs sent to me Photoshopped with Obama reading Spider-Man. So we thought, after the election, with the inauguration coming up, we decided to have him meet Spider-Man in person."

In a five-page story by writer Zeb Wells with art by Todd Nauck, Spider-Man will interact with the president-elect after saving his inauguration from certain doom at the hands of the villainous Chameleon.

"Spider-Man, I think, more than just about any other character, lends itself to this type of story because the comic books, going back for decades, have tried to present a realistic view of New York City," Wacker said. "The natural extension of that is you start seeding in pieces of the real world. And Marvel's done this before, like with [the Avengers meeting] David Letterman, and Spider-Man meeting the cast of Saturday Night Live back in the late '70s, and we just had a story where Stephen Colbert met Spider-Man."

Appearing in a comic is also not exactly a first for Barack Obama, who showed up in an issue of Savage Dragon, published by Image Comics, and while still a candidate, had a biographical comic published about him by IDW. But this is his first foray into the Marvel Universe, where Spider-Man, Captain America, and Iron Man reside along with, now, Barack Obama.

Once the results of the election came in, Wacker said he had to pull together the plans for the comic book story in one week. While he gave the writer general guidelines for what they wanted, Wells came up with the story's premise and worked with the artist to turn it around quickly.

"We had to come up with something that was not politically sensitive. I didn't want to do anything that showed the family or invaded their privacy, and I also didn't want to take a political stance because, hopefully, the comic books have a wide appeal," Wacker said. "But Zeb came up with a cool little mistaken identity thing with the Chameleon. And we threw in a couple of fun jabs at Joe Biden in the script. And we were off and running. It all just came together really quick."

While presidents often appear in Marvel comic books, they're most often referenced as just "the president," although they usually resemble whomever is the current seated Commander-in-Chief. So while Barack Obama may be showing up from time to time in the Marvel Universe, Wacker said he's not going to get a recurring role thanks to this appearance in Amazing Spider-Man.

"In future stories, when you see the president and he's a black male, you'll know who he is. But I don't know that we're doing a Barack Obama Marvel Team-Up book," the editor laughed. "He's not joining the New Avengers."

Image from Amazing Spider-Man #583 featuring President-Elect Barack Obama
Image from Amazing Spider-Man #583 featuring President-Elect Barack Obama
Image from Amazing Spider-Man #583 featuring President-Elect Barack Obama

As for Spider-Man's reaction to Obama, Wacker said readers can expect Peter Parker to have the same humorous lines he always does when he fights crime, including a moment in the story when Spidey jokingly compares Joe Biden to The Vulture, an elderly Spider-Man villain.

"Peter Parker's a freelance photographer for major newspapers, so meeting someone like Obama is no big deal. I mean, Spider-Man's met Norman Osborn -- he's the king of the world right now in the Marvel Universe. I think, at the very least, Spider-Man's hoping Obama isn't going to put on a Goblin suit, because the other guy running the world is someone Pete has some history with," Wacker said.

The issue will have a "variant" cover by artist Phil Jimenez featuring Obama giving a thumbs-up as the webslinger quips, "Hey, if you get to be on my cover, can I be on the dollar bill?" The Obama cover was revealed early to retailers so they could adjust their orders accordingly.

When Marvel announced the Spider-Man/Obama meeting and showed off the cover for the first time Thursday morning , some die-hard comics fans questioned the publishing company's motives for placing a president on the cover of a Spider-Man comic, but Wacker said it's all motivated by Obama's fandom.

"If any other public figures want to come out as Spider-Man fans, I will put them on the cover of my comic," Wacker said. "Obama's a Spider-Man fan. Although, I sincerely hope he's got more important business right now than reading Spider-Man. Then again, if you have to read one comic, I guess this is the one you would read."


  • 9 to Watch in 2009 - Television

  • 9 to Watch in 2009 - Comic Book Characters

  • 9 to Watch in 2009 - Video Games

    Twitter activity