Repeated references on the campaign trail by then-candidate Barack Obama to Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln sent Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book rocketing up the sales charts.
Likewise, when the president-elect mentioned Sunday on 60 Minutes that he’d read “a new book out about FDR’s first 100 days,” he caused a bit of a stir as authors and publishers scrambed to lay claim to the title. (It turns out there are several “new” books about Roosevelt’s first 100 days. However, Obama actually was referring to two titles: Jonathan Alter’s 2006 book The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, and Jean Edward Smith’s more recent FDR.)
However, the influence of the 44th president may not end with historical nonfiction. Note that I wrote may.
According to this article in Canada’s Financial Post, news that Obama collects Spider-Man and Conan comics has given a boost to sales of the wall-crawler’s title. At least in Victoria, British Columbia.
“I used to sell three or four Spider-Man comics a week,” says Gareth Gaudin, owner of Legends in downtown Victoria. “Now I’m selling 30 or 35 a day and almost everyone who is buying is mentioning Obama.”
Hardly empirical evidence, I know. But it’s probably enough to make a few retailers and publishers cross their fingers and hope that Obama gives a nod to a few other comic books.
Why should Obama limit himself to Lincoln’s “team of rivals” concept for assembling a Cabinet when he could go with, say, “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”?