Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada once created a piece of commissioned art for outgoing President Barack Obama. No - not the famous Spider-Man cover featuring his likeness, but a private piece commissioned by the President himself as a gift for an outgoing member of his administration.
"I was sitting in my office at Marvel when my phone rings and a gentlemen claiming to be an assistant to the President of the United States tells me that the POTUS would like to commission me to do a piece of art for him," Quesada explained on his personal blog. "Thinking it was a prank I told him I’d love to discuss it further but I was rushing off to a meeting and would gladly call him back. I took down his info, did a quick Google search and confirmed that the number on my caller I.D. was indeed coming from an office in the White House. Wait, what?!?"
"As it turned out a close friend of the President, Patrick Gaspard, who was the Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs, was leaving to take on his new role as the Director of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Gaspard happened to be a HUGE Marvel Comics fan. We’re talking a full on True Believer since childhood, and President Obama thought that a perfect parting gift for his service to the administration would be a custom piece of art featuring Mr. Gaspard, himself and several Marvel heroes standing in front of the White House and for some godforsaken reason he was asking me to draw it. I of course had to get approval from the highest levels of Marvel where it was met with nothing but enthusiasm and a big thumbs up...Once the piece was finished inked and colored by Danny Miki and Richard Isanove respectfully, I received word that the President was thrilled with the results and Mr. Gaspard was over the moon with the final framed surprise gift."
Quesada later met Gaspard at a convention, striking up a friendship based on a shared love of Marvel Comics. Quesada also relayed a story about President Obama personally responding to a letter written by his daughter upon his inauguration.
President Obama is a well known fan of Marvel Comics, especially Spider-Man and Conan - a fact not lost on Quesada in his tribute to the outgoing President.
"I was lucky enough to meet President Obama. like I said, I don’t usually like to post things of a personal nature, but today I feel compelled to simply convey my own humble experience of having the great honor of meeting the most powerful man on the planet when he was in office. A man who was nothing but kind, appreciative and generous to me, who demonstrating a genuine love for the medium of comics and took more time than he ever needed to to express his appreciation for the work I created and the medium of comics itself. "
Check out Quesada's blog for more details, including the letter Obama wrote to his 8-year-old daughter.
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