Fans have been scorned, taunted, and belittled by comicbook creators on social media for — politely now, mind you — daring to ask questions about altering long-time characters and stories all for “diversity’s” sake.

You know the routine by now. Doug, myself and many others have written about it ad nauseam.

Still, the creators have continued in their snobbish, egomaniacal ways.

However, now there is this from Newsarama (emphases mine):

According to David Gabriel, Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Sales, Print & Marketing, a sales downturn at the publisher that accompanied a “big shift in the entire industry” beginning in October 2016 came as a result of many factors, including, according to the executive, the market “turning up their noses” at any title not featuring a “core Marvel character.”

Suggesting the answer to the question of why people’s tastes suddenly changed was better answered by Direct Market retailers, Gabriel told ICv2 that “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,” he explained. “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.”

Dan Slott Renew Your Vows

And Jon Del Arroz’s (love that name) article from a couple of weeks ago is spot-on:

Marvel has a diversity problem.

In that they have none in terms of diversity of thought. They are a pure social justice propaganda arm. This is dangerous when it comes to creating art, as if you have everyone thinking in lockstep, unable to get outside the box, you’ll have creative stagnation. More than that, when you turn children’s adventure fiction into adult message browbeating, you lose any semblance of fun that a product formerly had. It’s no wonder that sales have dropped by about half, when they have an entire writing core of every single one of their monthly writers hell-bent on a crusade of alienating half of the country in some social engineering through comics.  I don’t exaggerate my numbers either, and I did some leg work for you all so you might better make educated purchases, or lack thereof, of Marvel Comics. …

According to marvel.com, there are 18 writers on the current releases. I went through each and every one of their twitter accounts to give you a summary of where they spend their time on social media in terms of politics. I don’t mind people getting political occasionally, or even necessarily holding left wing views, but when it’s constant beating the drum of anger and hate, that’s what makes an SJW, and that’s where one needs to stay away (and is a primary reason for Marvel’s steep sales decline in recent years).  Here’s a brief summary of the writers’ twitter feeds, as I’ve gone through all of them for you:

Mike Costa – Constant Anti-Trump posts.

Jason Aaron – Anti-Trump, has #resist greenpeace retweet from inauguration. However, he doesn’t post politically very often, not pushing some anger crusade all the time.

Brian Michael Bendis – Anti-Trump posts, but posts so much it’s not a large percentage of his tweets.

Cullen Bunn – Rabid anti-Trump.

Becky Cloonan – a couple of snarky anti-Trump posts pre-election, but no political posts since. From the feeds, appears to be the sanest of the Marvel staff.

Gerry Duggan – Constant Anti-Trump posts, retweets Bernie (he can still win!).

Al Ewing – British, and doesn’t seem to post a lot of American politics, but very heavily steeped in globalism in immigration “rights” in his posts. Anti-Western civilization. 

Roxanne Gay –  Constant rants about feminism, anti-Trump posts. 

Zac Gorman – Complains about Republicans as “joke”, but only one recent post as such. Low percentage of political tweets.

Derek Landy – Anti-Trump, not overwhelming in political posts. Mostly sticks to posts about writing.

Kate Leth – Regular anti-Trump posts. Constant complaints about some boogeyman “privilege”, rambles at racist, sexist, etc., “white dudes”.  Rants about queer issues.

Stuart Moore – Regular posts anti-republican, anti-Trump.

Greg Pak – Complains about “representation” of different races. Lots of anti-Trump posts.

Dan Slott – Anti-trump rants all the time. 

Charles Soule – Constant anti-trump rants.

Nick Spencer – Rants about trump/republicans and calls anyone who disagrees with him flat out evil.

G.Willow Wilson – “Muslim” Ms. Marvel writer, rants anti-Trump posts all the time.

Chip Zdarksy – Constant anti-Trump posts.

That is  … “100% […] extreme left-wing ideologues who hate half of the country [and] have nothing nice to say about the USA or its president ever,” Del Arroz continues.

Comic fans of goodwill, those with nary a racist/sexist/homophobic etc. bone in their bodies, have been blasted as just that by creeps such as Dan Slott, et. al. all because they’ve asked simple questions regarding characterization and stories.

Many, like Doug and myself, have pointed out that Marvel’s permissive attitude towards horrendous creator behavior on social media is hardly an appropriate business model.

I feel like going on a Randy Quaid-in-Independence Day-style rant: “I’ve been sayin’ it. I’ve been sayin’ it for ten damn years. Ain’t I been sayin’ it? Yeah, I’ve been sayin’ it.”

I — we — knew all this nonsense was unsustainable. We knew the chickens would be seeking out that proverbial roost.

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About the Author Dave Huber

After serving Delaware's public schools for a quarter century, Dave now devotes his efforts to The College Fix (thecollegefix.com) which exposes progressive lunacy on college campuses. He maintained The Colossus of Rhodey blog for many years, and has contributed to the Advanced Iron fanzine and media bias site Newsbusters. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.

21 comments

  1. So, on one side we have DC publishing an apology letter to fans in the form of a massive single issue before launching Rebirth which then went on to amazing sales. Then there’s Marvel and what do they do? Be the passive-aggressive ex-girlfriend who’s only take away from their faults is to blame readers and accuse them of not wanting diversity. I knew being hopeful about Marvel realizing the errors of their ways was way too much to ask of them. They do seem to be trying to return to a more ‘classic’ Marvel to bring in their older fanbase, but the salt from them is almost enough to make me question picking their books up again.

  2. Stuff like this is why fans remain skeptical about Marvel changing their ways. They need to clean house with a good chunk of their writing staff. People that are so rabidly political drive off fans and are incapable of objective, quality writing. The fact that Marvel allows their writers to behave the way they do while representing their company is frankly embarrassing.

    As for fans having issues with their new characters, it isn’t because fans have a problem with women or diversity. The real problem is that fans don’t like writing that disrespects the legacy of characters that they love. We also pick up on obvious tokenism being for forced into our comics, like when say, Ice Man’s sexuality is changed, disregarding years of continuity just for the sake of “diversity”.

    Obviously biased political writing comes off as preachy, and most fans don’t like that in their comics, even if they agree with message. The answer isn’t to get a bunch of right wing writers to write similarly biased stories, but to get that crap out of our comics altogether.

    Until Marvel gets this, things aren’t really going to change.

    1. I agree with you about tokens. I am gay,and there is this big push to give Captain America a boyfriend,or make the she hulk a Muslim woman. I am all for a gay characters,and Muslim characters being superheros. However, I just want to know why the writers cannot come up with some new characters that happen to be gay or Muslim,and have them fit into the story line. To me when they try to make an already established character gay,or Muslim,or another minority it makes me think they are lazy instead of coming up with new characters. AM I Wrong?

    2. “I agree with you about tokens. I am gay,and there is this big push to give Captain America a boyfriend,or make the she hulk a Muslim woman. I am all for a gay characters,and Muslim characters being superheros. However, I just want to know why the writers cannot come up with some new characters that happen to be gay or Muslim,and have them fit into the story line. To me when they try to make an already established character gay,or Muslim,or another minority it makes me think they are lazy instead of coming up with new characters. AM I Wrong?”

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, dd416. I really appreciate it. I’ve always said that I honestly do not care if there are LGBT characters in books, but it really ticks me off when a character is arbitrarily changed for a political agenda. It’s sort of like Bendis randomly turning Iceman gay, even though the character had zero history of it for decades. Just make new characters who are gay, introduce them in an organic way, and for the most part no one will care. But Marvel can’t do that. It has to say, “We’re doing this with a snap of the fingers and if you don’t like it then you’re a racistbigothomophobe. It’s not cool.

    3. dd416, because they want the bigger names to change so that it will (a) better “support” their position and (b) get more play in the paper. Northstar having a gay wedding didn’t pop up on radars because…he’s Northstar. Who cares about him even among anyone who knows who he is? But Steve Rogers, the All-American symbol of WW2 heroism being gay? Big news and makes LGBT people who don’t see these characters as anything other than propaganda or something to tell some kind of story with rather than connecting to them can cheer with joy.

      As has been said, I have no problem with diversity in comics, but these characters matter to people who already grew up with them because writers before them treated them as people whose lives we were following rather than story fodder. You’re only supposed to remember they’re not real when the story is done..

    1. Yeah, not sure what that was about. I don’t care much for her politics, but she’s definitely Muslim, even living in Egypt for a few years, so you can’t even accuse her of being soft about it.

    2. Just a way to highlight that she is indeed muslim.

      Because nothing is better to critize who supposedly intolerant and spit to people who are different by being intolerrant and spit to people who are indeed different.

      Also what the problem to be anti-Trump? He is a really s***y president.

    3. “What does ‘Muslim’ in scare quotes mean – is Wilson not really Muslim?”

      You’d have to ask the original author, but my guess is that it’s a way to point to the absurdity of the way Marvel markets Ms. Marvel. It would be like Marvel making a big deal of Matt Murdock’s Catholicism. Instead of making a cool character who just so happens to be Muslim, the identity-politics crew regularly stresses how superawesomeprogressive it is that she is Muslim.

      Here is my review of the book: Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: Like Kamala Khan, intriguing book doesn’t know whether to go big or go small

    4. Yeah, I guess that would make sense…

      Introducing popular Atheist comic book writer Dan Slott!

      Mr. Slott has endured much suffering because of his Atheist non-faith. We thought it would be important to hire an Atheist to write an atheist superhero…Spider-Man!!! (are you surprised folks?! We were too!! we had no idea that hiring writers to promote him as an atheist would…in fact…make him an atheist!! but we felt it was important nonetheless!)

    5. Because nothing is better to critize who supposedly intolerant and spit to people who are different by being intolerrant and spit to people who are indeed different.

      “On.” “Spit on people.”

      Also what the problem to be anti-Trump? He is a really s***y president.

      You’re certainly entitled to your opinion; however, just like the creators, you’re missing the point. Many, many folks support Mr. Trump. Does it make sense for a significant portion of creators’ social media activity to be devoted to absolutely trashing the man and his policies … when a decent percentage of your audience likes the guy? Even if they don’t (like Doug and I), they still may agree with some, or even most, of his policies.

      With me, personally, I was a HUGE fan of Kurt Busiek’s work. I still think his stories are marvelous. But I will not put out another dime for any of his tales due to his relentless trashing of many ideas and philosophies with which I happen to agree. It’d be one thing to disagree and add “but this is just my view … feel free to think differently and I respect that” (which would make sense from a business POV); it’s another to essentially rant that your existence isn’t worth considering because of your beliefs.

  3. The proof is in the comments. Few disagreements consist of an argument against Mr. Arroz’s points. They mostly consist of:

    1) Framing his views as so racist (or stupid) and beyond the pale to be beneath responding to (though they already have)

    2) Personal attacks on his character, and, for the reading impaired,…his racial privilege as a white person (which he isn’t).

    3) Mocking his offering of help as if he were desperate for a job at Marvel.

    By contrast, many of the statements in agreement are sober, sometimes even critical of certain statements without being hateful.

    It’s as if we’ve moved on from a difference between ideological beliefs, to a difference between hateful, vicious people and normal people. Even a couple in there support themselves with the idea that ‘left’ represents caring for the weak, the poor and disenfranchised…There are 100 million+ arguments against this position., and their own behavior suggests people that would ridicule and harm people that do not share their beliefs.

    I will disagree with one thing however. Marvel Comics doesn’t need to be saved. It needs to be destroyed and rebuilt. There is no saving this poisonous culture.

  4. While I do not agree with everything this article said,it did bring up some very interesting points. What is the point of diversity, if the story line is so terrible that no one even bothers to buy the comic. I am a big fan of comic books specifically Marvel. Marvel has had a history of diversity dating back to the X-MEN. However,what made the X-MEN work is that the storylines were good,entertaining,and at the end most people walked away with the general message that was being portrayed. My thing with diversity in comic books is this, please do not dumb down the story line,to appear diverse. I also do not like when they try to make a black Captain America,or a gay SheHulk, I would much rather them create a new character that happens to be black or gay or whatever,and put them in the story that does not just see them as gay or black.

    1. Yeah, look at the X-men characters. Back when the new X-men were created with Giant size X-men #1, the heavy air of what constitutes ‘diversity’ these days hadn’t hit Marvel yet. So when they decided to create a diverse set of characters, they concentrated on the global implications of that rather than the ethnic…So we get a Russian, Canadian, African, German, Russian, Japanese and Irishman. The ignorant idea that the Russian, Canadian, Irishman and German (lol) were ‘white’ and therefore all the same wasn’t taken seriously by comic book creators yet. They were given diverse personalities, viewpoints and backgrounds, which is the true strength of the X-men as we know them.

      Thing is, Marvel has created gay and minority characters for years, with extensive backgrounds and stories. They’ve gone out of their way to avoid and marginalize these characters because they care less about the characters themselves and more for the optics of feeling good about their progressive bona-fides. Northstar, Karma, Shatterstar and Rictor for example are solidly in B class (C-class?). Instead of promotion, they start converting Iceman. They can tout Northstar all day to the public, but every X-men fan knows he’s one of the most abused and underused X-men. He was, by far, my favorite member of Alpha Flight, and still, the only thing he is really known for…the only thing he’ll ever be known for, is being gay and getting married…so much for being a superhero with incredible speed.

  5. I think what no doubt will make Doug quite happy is that Renew Your Vows was cited by Gabrielle as one of the three things that “worked” for the company during that fall drop-off (Venom and Thanos being the other two), given Dan’s ramblings on CBR about the marriage…perhaps he knew this would be brought up?

    Not one mention of regular Mephistoverse era ASM, not one mention of Clown Conspiracy…what gets mentioned? RYV. Another feather in the Spider-Marraige’s cap on what could be a logical year to reinstate it in 616.

    Also, Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe is what has been the biggest success story of the last three years…a mini-series thriving in the “mini-series don’t matter to sales” climate preached about in those same interviews, and which has apparently prompted Marvel to produce a sequel.

  6. It’s sad that all Gabriel took from this is “no more diversity”. Diversity is good, its interesting, and it helps make a dynamic situation that is interesting to read. But it can’t just be diversity for diversity sake. It can’t just be physical diversity, and it can’t be done in a pandering way (tokenism is really what Marvel is doing). The truly compelling diversity is diversity of thought. When two people on the same side have differing opinions.

    Daredevil and Punisher have always made for an interesting read in comics. It’s not because they are both “cis white hetero males” (is there a snark font). Its because they are polar opposites in every way. On of my favorite scenes in Welcome Back Frank was when he forced Daredevil to pull the trigger on Frank to stop Frank from shooting a mobster. Fantastic writing and art.

    Marvel’s biggest problem is they have turned their entire comics line over to a rabid ideology, that the majority of the country has made very clear they do not support. To make it worse, this ideology is not one that makes converts, but loses them as it is based solely on getting college age kids super invested before the real world changes their perception to what reality is actually expects of them.

    I’ll give it another year, maybe two depending on how nice Disney is feeling. But Disney is the ultimate expression of capitalism and they will not let the source of their most lucrative movies languish long.

    1. I’m of the opinion that Marvel has gone over the edge and is dropping into the Abyss. The listing of their writers actively using social media to voice opinions that make them little more than celebrity shills for progressive-Left politicians, or more of the crowd of violently anti-American SJW protestors, is disheartening. And if G. Willow Wilson is indeed part of this, it really does affect how I perceive her contribution to the new characters of differing background at Marvel, Kamala Khan, the 3rd Ms. Marvel. Putting “diversity” in quotes is probably the politest way to say it.

      Color me pessimistic if I must say that I can’t trust the Disney company to pull in the reins on this out of control franchise they’ve recently purchased. From what I remember, Disney has allowed progressivism to work its way into its own properties ─ I’ve heard for decades the reports that Disney World allowed LGBT activists to enjoy a proclaimed “gay pride day” at their resort. If they’ve stuck to that, they must approve of the insults to the general public that Marvel’s creative staff and editors are being allowed to toss out on social media. That they’ve chosen to keep their characters with the SJW attitude (Jean Grey in the X-Men) is a sign that the rumored “straightening out” was just that: rumors.

      So long as the same people who’ve brought us this mess are allowed to remain in place, don’t expect Marvel to improve its brand.

  7. Looks like Marvel has made an additional comment on the question if fans are rejecting the new directions or not:
    (http://www.newsarama.com/33843-late-16-sales-downturn-told-marvel-people-didn-t-want-any-more-diversity.html)

    Long story short, the second official statement seems to boils down to: “In actuality, the new characters have been embraced by readers at large and will be staying for good (or as much as “for good “means in comics). The fear was actually that the older characters would go away for good. That won’t happen and both will coexist.”

    Not sure how true that is, but there it is.

  8. Marvel is going to run their properties into the ground, accept no responsibility for having done it, and blame the customers. Even apart from the fanatical politics, their stories aren’t creative, and they haven’t been creative for a long time

    1. “Marvel is going to run their properties into the ground, accept no responsibility for having done it, and blame the customers. Even apart from the fanatical politics, their stories aren’t creative, and they haven’t been creative for a long time.”

      I find myself wondering just how bad of a job Axel Alonso must do before the cane comes out and yanks him off the stage. On some level it’s fascinating to watch the former House of Ideas implode before our very eyes.

  9. First, being anti-Trump is not necessarily a sign of overt liberalism. I know a lot of people who voted for Trump (conservatives and Republicans) who were disgusted by him during the primaries and have little to no confidence in his ability to govern. Half the people in the US voted during the ’16 elections, and Trump won by less than half of those votes. His lack of popularity is not surprising. (Hopefully, we can work on getting better candidates to run in the future.)

    That said, I don’t think comics should be a forum for evangelizing a political (liberal or conservative) agenda. Comics can deal with topics that are more inclusive without being overtly partisan. For example, we can deal with issues of bigotry and discrimination looking at mutants in the X-Men comics without rubbing people’s noses in guilt or shame. Political correctness is poor pandering at best.

    As a whole, Marvel’s big issue is a lack of interest in their fans or sales of their books. They don’t take time to develop characters and stories. If they want to focus on SJW issues and pander to partisan interests, they deserve to lose sales.

    Finally, could we PLEASE get back to having superheroes be the good guys and have them fight supervillains? Please. This henchman needs to get back to work.

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