Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

People Don’t Want Diversity?: Marvel Sales Drop

Photo illustration by Noah Garcia/ El Paisano

Danielle Anzures, Staff Writer

Marvel’s vice president of sales, David Gabriel has faced criticism after saying that comic book sales were dropping because readers are not embracing the new diversity. In an interview with ICv2, Gabriel said that he was told by the Marvel Retailer Summit that fans were not into the new female heroes.

“I don’t know if that’s a question for me. I think that’s a better question for retailers who are seeing all publishers. What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity. They didn’t want female characters out there,” Gabriel said. “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.”

Gabriel continued saying, “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 added. “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.”

Since receiving the backlash over his statement, Gabriel later issued a second statement to ICv2 to clear up his remarks. He said that there were some retailer who felt some core Marvel heroes were being abandoned, but that there were readers for characters like Miles Morales and Ms Marvel who “ARE excited about these new heroes,” he wrote. “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,” he added. “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.”

Comic book sales may just be dropping due to more people reading books, newspapers, magazines and comics digitally as opposed to buying them in stores, and with that most ads have made the move online too. Add that to the fact that many creators online have their own webcomics out there for people to read for less or free, and it’s easy to see that Marvel has some competition.

The idea that diversity within movies, tv shows, and media isn’t necessary or wanted has always been around. When Star Wars the Force Awakens came out there were people complaining about the fact that Rey, the main female lead, was also the main character in the film. Similarly the Ghostbusters 2016 movie received negative comments over the mainly all female lead cast. These movies had opposite outcomes, with Star Wars making $2,068,223,624  and Ghostbusters only making a little more money above its budget. This may have been due to how each movie marketed their female leads as Star Wars didn’t make it clear whether Finn or Rey was the main character, while Ghostbusters made it clear who their main characters were.

Despite negative responses to diverse casting, there are media pieces that still do well. Moana and Big Hero 6 are two of Disney’s highest grossing animated features, according to Box Office Mojo, since 2007 and both have a diverse cast. The Power Rangers 2017 movie made $40.5 million during the movie’s opening and it only has one main white character with rest of the cast representing different races, along with one character being part of the lgbtq+ community and another being autistic. Rogue One also had mainly people of color portraying its main characters and it made  $1,055,914,122 worldwide.

Marvel comics may just be running into some hard times as the comic industry changes, but they have time to catch up.

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People Don’t Want Diversity?: Marvel Sales Drop