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Blaming Women And People Of Color For Slumping Comic Book Sales

It is a historic fact that individuals in position of power frequently blame others for failures they're responsible for.

It is a historic fact that individuals in position of power frequently blame others for failures they’re responsible for. From Napoleon to Hitler and now President Donald J. Trump, it takes a very narcissistic, self-serving individual to come up with these things.

When the All New, All Different Marvel Now catchphrase was originally coined in late 2015, it was looked upon by some as signaling a positive change in which gender and race were no longer the primary indicator of who is deserving of their own titles. Additionally, it also marked a significant changing of the old guard as well. The sales were very robust right out of the gate.

Signature characters with flagship titles were changing left and right. The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor were but a few of the many characters who were replaced by individuals of a different gender or race as the original characters. Additionally, the publishing house also introduced heroes from traditionally marginalized groups to their readership.

The super strong, indestructible, dimension jumping lesbian Latina hero America Chavez is a prime example of that. The characters and storylines were being celebrated in the media, and many readers from cultures that were largely ignored in the past, all applauded the venture.


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But last week, Marvel senior vice president of sales and marketing David Gabriel got a little too real about diversity during an interview with ICv2.com. People didnt want any more diversity,” said Gabriel. “They didnt want female characters out there. Thats what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I dont know that thats really true, but thats what we saw in sales.


Although he did backtrack on his original statement, but he had already done what all too many leaders, both corporate and governmental, have been doing in America since it’s inception: blame women and minorities whenever something bad happens. As is often the case in other instances of scapegoating, the claims made by Gabriel simply are not true.

According to CBR.com, Marvel’s sales have been slumping since the end of the Secret Wars arc and only one Marvel title has sold more than 50,000 copies a month. According to the article, DC’s Rebirth relaunch played a significant part in siphoning off Marvel sales as well.

Marvel either launched or relaunched over 100 series between October 2015 and February 2017, but 25 were canceled with 10 or fewer issues published; at least another seven books that launched in late-2016/early-2017 appear on their way to the chopping block as well.


Despite what has been said, of the ten Marvel series suffering the biggest drop offs, only three of them are what one might consider to be “diverse”; The Mighty Thor, Invincible Iron Man and Black Panther because they’re led by a woman or a person of color. The rest are series starring white male heroes or teams made up predominantly of white male heroes.

As the CBR.com article, as well as other supporting numbers suggest, diversity had nothing to do with these slumping numbers, but stale ideas written and drawn by mostly white males may have been the culprit instead.


Ricardo A Hazell has served as Senior Contributor with The Shadow League since coming to the company in 2013. His byline has appeared in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the South China Sea Post, the Root and many other publications. At TSL he is charged with exploring re black cultural angles of where they intersect with the mainstream.