Marvel executive says emphasis on diversity may have alienated readers

How many things can be blamed on diversity?

Sian Cain’s article in today’s Guardian makes it clear that Marvel VP of Sales David Gabriel’s reasoning isn’t reasoned. Recently, Gabriel told a gathering that some comic store owners say their customers “have had enough” of new female and ethnic minority characters.

What customers?

Is there a limit to diversity?

Gabriel is not alone in the effort to make diversity appear unprofitable and to present good diversity practices as charitable acts. . .and bad business. Such false beliefs are widespread. Yet, they are counter to research that proves otherwise.

As always, the comments from Guardian readers are worth perusing.  There’re more than 1,000 of them to date. These letters provide great fodder for thinking about the power of representation and the shifts in visual culture.

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Author: Jacqueline Francis

Writer, teacher, curator, and arts consultant in San Francisco, California. Follow me on Twitter @JackieFrancisSF

2 thoughts on “Marvel executive says emphasis on diversity may have alienated readers”

  1. Code Switch has a good podcast on the topic: “Gene and guest host Glen Weldon (our play cousin from Pop Culture Happy Hour) explore how comics are used as spaces for mapping race and identity. Gene visits Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse in Philadelphia and chats with proprietor Ariell Johnson, who is reclaiming the comic book store, which once made her uneasy as a black fan. Meanwhile, C. Spike Trotman, another black woman, has made a name for herself as an online comics publisher of Iron Circus Comics in Chicago. We also talk to artist and designer Ronald Wimberly for his perspective as a black creator who has worked for Marvel and DC, the titans of corporate comics.”

    Link:
    http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/04/05/522749425/changing-colors-in-comics

  2. Not to pile on or anything (!), but the NY TIMES followed THE GUARDIAN story yesterday: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/books/marvel-comics-diversity-thor-hulk.html

    The NYT piece quotes a San Francisco comic store owner who offered a different analysis regarding slumping Marvel sales: “the frequent restarting of series with new No. 1 issues; fan fatigue over story lines that promise changes but fail to deliver; the introduction of a deluge of new series. . .[and] the expense of comic collecting.” Comic author G. Willow Wilson’s blog post was also quoted: “Let’s scrap the word diversity entirely and replace it with authenticity and realism. . .This is not a new world. This is the world.”

    And so it was written….

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