Marvel’s been absolutely killing it with their cinematic universe and Netflix series (Iron Fist aside) but surprisingly their comic book sales have been struggling for a few years now. Marvel VP of Sales, David Gabriel, has a surprising theory as to why: women and diversity.
In an interview with ICV2, Gabriel said the following after being asking about the changes in the tastes of readers:
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.
While that sounds somewhat Trumpian, according to Gizmodo, Gabriel “clarified” his statement by asserting that titles such as Moon Girl, Ms. Marvel, and Miles Morales’ Spider-Man are popular. Not sure if that makes his original statement any better, but whatever.
That being said it’s still pretty surprising anyone would blame diversity and women as being the problem behind moving product.
Ms. Marvel co-creator and writer, G. Willow Wilson felt the same way and took to her blog to put the whole notion on blast.
This is a personal opinion, but IMO launching a legacy character by killing off or humiliating the original character sets the legacy character up for failure. Who wants a legacy if the legacy is sh*tty?
Diversity as a form of performative guilt doesn’t work. Let’s scrap the word diversity entirely and replace it with authenticity and realism. This is not a new world. This is *the world.*
Never try to be the next whoever. Be the first and only you. People smell BS a mile away.
The direct market and the book market have diverged. Never the twain shall meet. We need to accept this and move on, and market accordingly.
Not for nothing, but there is a direct correlation between the quote unquote “diverse” Big 2 properties that have done well (Luke Cage, Black Panther, Ms Marvel, Batgirl) and properties that have A STRONG SENSE OF PLACE. It’s not “diversity” that draws those elusive untapped audiences, it’sparticularity. This is a vital distinction nobody seems to make. This goes back to authenticity and realism.
She does make a valid point. Hopefully Marvel will take her heed and churn out some better storylines and stop killing off their core characters with the wackness a la The Death Of Wolverine. That was just horrible.