Marvel Comics has seen sales nosedive as of late, with most titles cancelled and then relaunched every six issues.
While recently speaking at a retailer summit (via ICV2), David Gabriel, Marvel Comics VP of Sales, blamed fans for “turning their noses up” at diversity and even went so far to says fans “didn’t want female characters out there.” (via ICV2).
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.
Now I’ve been covering comic book news for almost ten years, and Marvel Comics is notorious for shifting the blame on to the fans when they screw up. Brevoort’s done this probably hundreds of times on his Tumblr.
What the actual problem most fans have with these “diverse” characters is that they replaced already existing characters. Marvel did this with Richard Rider Nova, and it’s been a miserable failure ever since. Marvel replaced Richard Rider Nova at the height of his popularity (and the Marvel Comics execs, editors, writers and artists were hostile and rude to the fans on top of things).
Even Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson realizes this as she says on her web site:
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 shitty?
Wilson nails it right there. In regards to Nova (or any other character that Marvel recently replaced), they killed off the character and replaced him with a downright “shitty” character. My argument has always been: Why not just create new characters? Why piss off an existing fan base by killing or destroying a particular character? The problem is Marvel Comics has taken the fans for granted as they have always counted on their “zombies” that buy anything. Well, apparently the zombies have had enough, and it’s about time.