Looking for Barack Obama keepsakes so you can celebrate today's (historic, we hear) inauguration as any good American will, with kitsch?
Go get yourself an Obama Pedicure. Or a Barack Thong. Heck, get a T-shirt or a baby bib with his mug shot pasted onto it.
But do not go looking for a first edition of The Amazing Spider-Man #583, released Jan. 14 -- especially the one with Obama on the cover. Your quest will fail.
You will begin with Google, of course. You'll read about how the issue features a bonus story wherein Spidey saves the inauguration.
The words "collector's item" will be used. You'll hit eBay, scoff at $100-plus prices and vow to go get a copy yourself.
You'll compile a list of comic book stores.
You'll note with a smile that your quest begins on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which seems fitting.
"Yeah, we've had a lot of people wanting that one," says Robert Tovar, who's running the counter Monday morning at Dark Tower Comics on West Charleston Boulevard across from the College of Southern Nevada.
So, no copies?
He offers a second edition, due in Wednesday.
Nope. Sorry, says Diane Joplin, whose son owns A Collector's Menagerie over on West Lake Mead Boulevard. Could I interest you in a second edition, due in Wednesday?
Comic Oasis on Rainbow Boulevard near Cheyenne Avenue will have it. It's one of the biggest shops in town.
"It was just crazy," manager David Taylor says.
He's talking about last week when the comic came out. It was just like when Captain America died. Comic newbies went nuts.
A collector's item!
An eBay cash bonanza!
He offers a second edition, due out guess when, but doesn't sound enthusiastic.
Maximum Comics. That's the savior. It's on Fort Apache Road near Tropicana Avenue, by Wal-Mart and I-Hop.
"We were disappointed," the store owner, Jay Bosworth, is saying, "that they didn't warn us about it. In this economy, we could have had a great week."
Marvel, these comic proprietors keep saying, didn't tell everyone that they were going to do this.
So no one ordered extra copies. And then they went ahead and issued a news release.
Lines. Phone calls. Sold out in five minutes.
Bosworth saved a copy. He shows it off like it has just been removed from King Tut's tomb.
But sorry, he says. Not for sale. Would you like a second edition?
"Even the second printing is sold out," says Ralph Mathieu, who owns Alternate Reality Comics across from UNLV. "It's a moment in history. You would have thought they would have printed enough."
Yeah, what's going on here? Surely the publishers over at Marvel knew there would be a demand, could have printed a few thousand extras, right?
Get your head out of the clouds, says Jim Brocius, owner of Cosmic Comics on East Tropicana Avenue. Comic books publishers aren't really publishers. They're development tools for a conglomeration of related industries.
"Comics exist as a strip mine for Hollywood," says Brocius, tattooed, bearded and a tad bit irritable. "The answer to all of this is, ultimately: underoos," the matching undershirt/underpants combo for kids.
You wanted kitsch? Well there it is. Barack Obama Underoos. Coming soon to a mall near you.
Contact reporter Richard Lake at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0307.