“This is wrong.”

That was my first thought after seeing online photos of the people lined up outside New York City’s Midtown Comics waiting to buy Barack Obama comics.

The Obama comic I’m referring to is the recently released 583rd issue of Marvel’s “Amazing Spider-Man,” which contains a short bonus story in which Spider-Man teams up with the President to defeat a villain named the Chameleon. And yes, it does contain the predictably cheesy panel where Spider-Man and Obama share a celebratory fist bump after the Chameleon is subdued.

Looking back, I have to admit that my initial judgment of the situation was unfair (us comic nerds can get a little emotional). Knowing that Midtown Comics — as legendary as it is — never gets that packed, it seemed to me that a sizeable portion of these people were looking only to make a quick buck off the Obama comic. After leaving the shop, I imagined these soulless people would turn around and immediately sell their Spidey copies on eBay (where some of the comics have gone for roughly $100, by the way). And that ticked me off.

Comic books get a bad rap. According to some, they’re trashy, childish and created for the socially awkward only. But for the faithful, comic books are treasures — not because of the money rare copies can net, but because of the blissful experience that comes from reading an expertly told story through illustration.

Knowing this, it’s easy to imagine what it feels like for lifelong comic book fans to see a title like “Amazing Spider-Man” — the flagship series of one of the most renowned comic book publishing companies — be reduced by nonbelievers to nothing more than another tacky commemorative commodity with an Obama portrait on it. And while this way of thinking might encourage comic book collection, it does nothing for something much more important: comic book reading.

Coming to this realization kind of sucked. Perhaps the worst part of it all, though, was the unshakable feeling that most readers would either leave their issue unopened altogether — so as to preserve its mint condition (ugh) — or not bother to read the main 22-page story within the issue.

That’s a travesty. The main story deserves to be read. It’s a solid story containing the central tenets of Spider-Man books: lovable quirkiness and signature wholesomeness. The mainstream media predictably decided to push this story aside, though, and thrust the undoubtedly sentimental (but poorly written and executed) Obama bonus story into the limelight.

It wasn’t until I shared my disdain with a friend who works at Marvel, that I first took a breath and started to consider what good this comic could bring. First, it’s worth mentioning the Obama comic isn’t purely a marketing ploy. It turns out Obama was quite the Spider-Man fan himself during his childhood, and that’s what set the project in motion.

“When we heard that (President) Obama is a collector of ‘Spider-Man’ comics, we knew that these two historic figures had to meet in our comics,” said Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada in a promotional piece for the issue on Marvel’s website. “A Spider-Man fan moving into the Oval Office is an event that must be commemorated in the pages of ‘Amazing Spider-Man.’ ”

The conceptual basis of the issue as more of a shout-out than a revenue generator began to put my mind to rest.

But what really did the trick was Quesada’s reminder that not everyone was picking up the Obama issue for evil eBay-related purposes. Some of those people in line wanted to surprise their sons or daughters with a gift that marked a turning point in our nation’s history. And why the hell not? We can safely say a comic book is cooler than a commemorative plate.

Above all else, I hope that some people will dive into that lead story — even if only after reading the bonus Obama tale — and decide to join the true comic book believers. If the Obama issue can convert readers, even if only one, I’d be willing to sacrifice a sliver of my pride. And that’s the inherent catch: I’ve come to realize the Obama comic wasn’t such a bad thing after all, so long as the interest it sparks hangs around longer than the Chameleon did.

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