Marvel Comics have embraced political correctness and have generated a number of diverse new characters and re-imagined several old
favourites with a sex change.
Recent storylines have included black female character taking over as Iron Man, a biracial Spider-Man, a female version of Thor, and a Muslim teenage girl as the new Ms. Marvel.
However it seems that some of their retailers aren't impressed by sales figures. At the recent Marvel Retailer Summit, the issue was brought up by geek culture trade magazine ICv2 who asked Marvel's vice president of sales, David Gabriel, why sales were
down? Gabriel relied:
What we heard was that people didn't want any more diversity. They didn't want female characters out there. That's what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I don't know that that's really true, but that's what we saw in sales.
We saw the sales of any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against. That was difficult for us because we had a lot of fresh, new,
exciting ideas that we were trying to get out and nothing new really worked.
Note that Gabriel isn't saying Marvel thinks that diversity and female characters are a problem but rather that's the feedback he's getting from many retailers. In fact Marvel are very supportive of diversity and have employed may writers and artists
with like minded ideals. But nevertheless the comments offended the PC lynch mob resulting in several media articles denying that diverse characters are impacting sales, it must be that that they are not trying hard enough reach the market of PC leaning
comic book readers.
A good example is of course from the Guardian, see Marvel superheroes arenít just for white men from theguardian.com
by JA Micheline:
Marvel is a business, but it's a business that attempts to sell comics to a demographic that has demonstrated a categorical, historical (and ultimately violent) disinterest in anything that is not built explicitly for them, rather than seeking to expand
by making concerted efforts to entice other people into the fold. Marvel is certainly subject to the demands of capitalism, but it sets its attempts at inclusivity up for failure when it continues to push white men as its real audience and makes
them the metric for success.
Gabriel has since followed up with a corrective statement that spun around his previous comments:
Contrary to what some said about characters 'not working,' the sticking factor and popularity for a majority of these new titles and characters like Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, The Mighty Thor, Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales, and Moon Girl, continue to prove
that our fans and retailers ARE excited about these new heroes. And let me be clear, our new heroes are not going anywhere! We are proud and excited to keep introducing unique characters that reflect new voices and new experiences into the Marvel
Universe and pair them with our iconic heroes. We have also been hearing from stores that welcome and champion our new characters and titles and want more! They've invigorated their own customer base and helped them grow their stores because of it. So
we're getting both sides of the story and the only upcoming change we're making is to ensure we don't lose focus of our core heroes.
Perhaps a more straightforward commentary was from Jack Brooks in the comments to the article. He noted:
Marvel's classic male heroes have built a following over the decades. Marvel needs the financial coattails of the original characters for the replacement characters to survive, but then Marvel messes all over the male originals. Why? To show off their
Except that most of the female characters aren't prospering. Nearly all of the female versions are doing poorly in sales except Jane Foster Thor (though she was outsold last month by Original Thor). Moon Girl and Ms. Marvel are in the cancellation zone.
Spider-Gwen's sales are anaemic. Spider-Woman was the best-written of the group (in my opinion) and it was just cancelled. And Marvel in Civil War 2 ruined Carol Danvers' character.
Someone at the top needs to recognize that they have allowed Marvel to turn into a propaganda mill. Extreme left-wingers make up a small percentage of the total population, but seem to comprise the majority of Marvel's writers. It's wildly imbalanced.
Bring in new talent who are moderates, or who at least don't use characters to preach.