President Barack Obama’s farewell speech in Chicago last night prompted former Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada to reveal a private commission featuring Marvel’s iconic superheroes for the outgoing chief several years ago.
The piece, dated 2011, is a Quesada original with inks by Danny Miki (Batman: No Man’s Land) and colors by Richard Isanove (Marvel’s The Dark Tower). Wolverine, Hulk, Spider-Man, and Iron Man stand with Obama and Patrick Gaspard, who is carrying Captain America’s shield, in Obama’s thank-you gift to Gaspard who at the time was leaving the White House Office for Political Affairs for a position as Director for the Democratic National Committee. Gaspard left the DNC in 2013 and is now the current ambassador to South Africa.
Quesada says he got the gig when an assistant of Obama called him, which he thought 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,” Quesada wrote on his Tumblr post. “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?!?”
Obama wanted to surprise Gaspard, a close friend, exiting with a unique Marvel gift because of the exiting director’s status as an OG “true believer” (the classic moniker Stan Lee gave fans in the ‘60s and ‘70s). “President Obama thought that a perfect parting gift for his service to the administration would be a custom piece of art … and for some godforsaken reason he was asking me to draw it.”
Later, at San Diego Comic-Con, Quesada finally met Gaspard in person, which Quesada says was an instant friendship. “While his current tenure as Ambassador to South Africa is coming to an end, I’m looking forward to catching up with him when he’s back in the States and making good on my promise to bring him on to the set of Defenders or taking him to a Mets game.”
At the end of his post, Quesada thanked Obama, literally, for being “kind, appreciative and generous” and for his “genuine love for the medium of comics.” Obama is well-known for being a comic book fan, and he was featured in The Amazing Spider-Man #583 back in 2009.