Ok, I’m sure by now you’ve all seen the Bleeding Cool article quoting David Gabriel, that readers were “turning up their noses at diversity.”
Gabriel’s remarks are particularly disappointing coming just a few days after this interview with Sana Amanat.
See, now here is where I don my cranky old lady hat, and point out for easily the third or fourth time in my lifetime, that Marvel has once again, responded to fan pressure for diverse comics, and then either doesn’t support them, or after really amazing early runs, gives them to people who don’t understand what makes them awesome who then do things to alienate the fanbase. And when they founder sales wise, they throw their hands up in the air, and say, “I guess you didn’t want diversity after all.”
Or, you know they piss off a bunch of people who ARE buying their diverse comics by making Captain America and Magneto nazis, thereby driving readers away in droves.
But, no, people don’t want diversity.
Fuck me running with a chainsaw, you guys.
One of the TWO Marvel titles that made the top ten selling comics of 2016 was Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther.
In 2015 Marvel fared far better, riding the rising tide of Star Wars, with seven titles in the top 10. Two of which were expressly female led (Princess Leia and Gwenpool), and at least one featured a female character, you know, Star Wars #1?
We could keep going. But I think I’ll leave you with Colin Spacetwink’s analysis of Marvel’s current marketshare on twitter for that. I want to talk about how they don’t fucking market their diverse properties well, if at all.
It wasn’t with a big splashy Marvel ad campaign, or even articles on sites like BleedingCool.
Nope. It was when she showed up to a panel I was doing at Geek Girl Con. And on tumblr. And Twitter. Where women and girls were raving about how awesome her run on Captain Marvel was.
And they were right. It was awesome.
You want to know how I found out about Ms. Marvel with Kamala Khan, written by G. Willow Wilson? Practically the same fucking way. At least I didn’t meet Willow until after I’d read a few issues of Ms. Marvel.
We’re not finding out about diverse comics because of Marvel’s marketing. We’re finding out IN SPITE OF Marvel’s marketing. And it’s the exact same song and dance they pulled in the 90s and the 00s. They would introduce diverse comics, and then not support them, and like as not by the time anyone who was interested in them found out, they’d be on the chopping block. Marvel is like Lucy yanking the football away from Charlie Brown and calling him a blockhead for not kicking it through the goalposts.
Or if they DID market them, it was the comics written by some of the poorest choices to write characters that were not white heterosexual dudes. Anyone else remember the steaming pile of crap that was Marvel Divas? I can just picture that marketing meeting. “I know what we’ll give girls who like superheroes? Sex in the City in spandex!”
Just imagine me relentlessly pounding my head on the floor screaming, “No!” That was pretty much my reaction to this comic.
Instead they want to publicize making Captain America and Magneto nazis, because that’s “cool” or “edgy,” a word which has come to symbolize “so painfully stupid I feel like I’m dumber for knowing it exists in the world,” in my house.
Anyway, now that I have vented my spleen at the consistent poor life choices made by Marvel’s marketing guys, I will leave you with G. Willow Wilson’s excellent response to Gabriel’s statements here.