What do you do when the CEO of a company that has pandered to you for half decade supporters new Hitler?
This is the problem faced by progressives who read Marvel comic books. Their problem begins with Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, a long-time Donald Trump supporter. Perlmutter has a sordid history concerninh his penny-pinching and general indifference to his employees. However, that has history has little to do with the current situation.
The current situation, the #deletemarvel boycott, stems from Perlmutter’s support of Trump. That is it. There is no concern about the CEO’s handling of Marvel, how he treats his employees, or that his primary concern is money. It is solely that he committed the crime of supporting new Hitler.
That seems one of the pettiest reasons to boycott any company. Perlmutter has little to do with the day-to-day grind of the company. Progressives, however, do not like to miss a chance at virtual-signaling. If that means boycotting a company that scrubbed its line-up of iconic characters to meet their demands for more “diversity”, so be it.
Of course, the boycott will likely reduce the already dismal sales of the social justice themed books. The “diverse” creators will lose their jobs. The low sales will be blamed on the new characters, and those replacements will be replaced themselves, either with new, less progressive characters or with the original characters. The progressive experiment at Marvel, which has limped along for the last five years, will end in a whimper.
As Kaitlyn Booth explains on Bleeding Cool what Marvel did and the potential impact as outlined above:
Marvel Comics have spent the last several years expanding their roster of costumed heroes away from the handful of white men that have dominated superhero comics since their inception. The title of Wolverine has gone to a woman, Ms Marvel is a Muslim teenager, and heroes such as Black Panther, Hellcat, and Mockingbird have been getting solo series that pushes them to the forefront of the comic world. Characters are also coming out of the closet as the world of Marvel begins to look more like the inclusive world we live in today. Those creative teams are helmed by voices that are finally getting heard. If the public were to boycott Marvel then Perlmutter could look at the comics and decide that the reason for these low sales isn’t because of anything he did but the current line up. The reason for the low sales are all these new inclusive characters so we need to cancel all of those books and return everything to the status quo. Not only have many people lost their jobs but we, as readers, have lost the opportunity to see new faces in the Marvel universe.
Those new faces have not done well. The All-New Wolverine is tanking, as is Ms Marvel, and Black Panther. The same goes for books like Spider-man (featuring Miles Morales), Captain America: Sam Wilson, and Mighty Thor (feminist Thor). Books like Mockingbird and Angela: Queen of Hel were cancelled due to low sales. Books like Captain Marvel have been repeatedly cancelled and relaunched, and each time the book suffers for low sales.
As I noted in July 2016, it does not appear that these progressive-themed books do that well in the long run. Some books are very successful when they launch, yet even they lose their audience within a year. It would appear that despite all the clamoring for “new faces”, progressives do not buy the books. The numbers prove this.
Some people may argue about the digital sales numbers. It is possible the books do much better in a digital format. Unfortunately, Marvel does not release the digital sales information, preventing anyone from confirming how many units were sold. The other issue is that sometimes the books are sold at a discount or in bundle, which would belie the actual popularity of the books.
Yet that is a moot point as most comic book sales appear to be of the single issues. When one looks at the numbers, it is difficult to parse how anyone can claim Ms Marvel and Miles Morales are so popular when their books do not sell in the top 25 titles. It would appear that they are popular online in progressive spaces, but that few of those people want to spend their money on the books.
Booth, however, is not deterred, asking:
So what can we, as consumers, do to let Perlmutter know that we don’t support him supporting Trump without putting a bunch of good people out of a job?
You could direct your comments to Perlmutter. You could search for an email address or Twitter handle and share your feelings. While I am certain that Perlmutter will not care at all about the complaints, directing the comments to him would be the most effective way to ensure he knows your complaints.
Of course, there is the odd element of telling someone who they are allowed to support and vote for. Threatening a multi-billion dollar business because one man who has little to do with the products the company produces supports a politician you do not like seems a petty reason for a boycott.
It’s a question of morality which means that it is subjective but there are ways to hurt the bottom line without hurting the creators of these books. The reality of the situation is that Perlmutter likely cares about toys and merchandise a lot more than the comic side of the business. If you must boycott Marvel then boycott the merchandise.
I would like to see you try. That is not a threat or a joke. I would genuinely like to see someone try to boycott a franchise as popular as Marvel, or rather Disney. How would this work? How would you keep your child from demanding Avengers toys? How would you avoid random tie-ins? If a fast food chain promotes a Marvel film, will you boycott that food chain as well?
Better yet, how will this boycott work if you ask people to the following?
It is also best to support progressive books, the ones that are pushing the boundaries and being more inclusive, because there is nothing more irritating to a bigot than seeing progressive books fly off of the shelves.
That is not true. Poor sales, which the progressive books have suffered from repeatedly (look at the solicitations for Black Panther #1 versus #9), would certainly irritate a profit-obsessed bigot. Of course, we do not know that Perlmutter is a bigot. We only know that he supports Donald Trump. Yet according to progressives, guilt by association is perfectly logical.
Setting that aside, how would this work? How do you encourage people to read books and enjoy these new characters but never purchase anything with the characters’ likenesses? No t-shirts, no backpacks, no wallets, no socks, no ball caps, or even a pin? You will like the characters, but not enough to want to own anything with them on it?
Perlmutter has little to do with the movies so there isn’t any real reason to boycott those but holding out on merchandise likely wouldn’t hurt either.
Yes. Go and see a movie half a dozen times, but do not dare buy that Avengers hoodie. Talk about the films, but do not show your love by supporting the company that made them.
If cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy had a child, its withered, fragile being would be this woman’s logic. How do you support a thing and never want to own any part of it?
There is also the pesky problem — and it is really small — that comic books and films are themselves merchandise.
How can anyone be this monumentally ignorant?
Comic books are collectible items. This is why there are dozens of conventions across the world every month built around buying and selling comic books. The books are the point of the publisher existing. They are the merchandise.
Films are collectible items. This is why there are usually several versions of the film released in theater in 2D, 3D, Imax, or Imax 3D. This why they are also released on DVD and Blu-Ray, complete will deleted scenes, featurettes, and steel-case boxes. They are merchandise.
So her argument is not “boycott the merchandise” but rather “boycott certain merchandise, and we’ll pretend the things you bought don’t count”.
The reality of the situation comes down to “what are you willing to risk to make a point?”
What risk? It is a book. It is an over-priced clump of paper that you do not need or even necessarily want. There could be no comic books and you would have lost nothing. So what is at “risk” other than losing an avenue for the perpetually offended to virtue-signal to the other idiotae?
It’s something protesters ask themselves every time they go out and risk the chance of getting arrested. As consumers, we have to ask ourselves is the risk of losing Kamala Khan, Miles Morales, or Laura Kinney worth telling Perlmutter that this will not stand.
I do not think “losing” third-rate token characters is much of a risk.
There is a line to walk but there is always the chance that boycott would hurt the wrong people. It’s what happens when the problem is at the very top of a major company; there are layers upon layers of grunt level workers that could be hurt before you get to the top.
To hurt Ike Perlmutter we risk losing all of the progress the various creative teams at Marvel have made over the last several years. However, if we do nothing then we risk complacency and nothing changing. What are we willing to risk?
Firstly, why do you want to hurt Perlmutter? What has he done? Who has he harmed? He supports a politician you do not like. That is reason for you to want hurt him? Financially? Physically? Why? Marvel Comics are a social justice cesspool. Marvel has scrubbed most of the straight white males from the core titles, and destroyed, emasculated, or vilified the remaining ones. Thanks to the company’s pandering to the progressives, Marvel lost its ground over DC Comics. What more do you want?
Secondly, what progress? The most progressive books suffer from low sales. Again, in nine months Black Panther went from 253,259 books to 39,123. It went from #1 in rank to # 61. It is barely selling better than Deadpool: Back In Black, a What-If story about Deadpool getting the Venom symbiote.
One can look at a number of other progressive books, from Marvel and DC Comics, and find the same pattern. The numbers fall dramatically after the novelty of the characters wear off. Despite all the effort to make people love these progressive characters, the numbers simply are not there. That happened because people like Booth do not actually buy comic books.
Instead, they tweet and reblog virtue-signaling memes. They will spend more time attacking someone on Twitter than reading an actual comic book. Even if they do read it, there is no guarantee they bought it. They can just as easily download the book illegally. No industry can sustain itself with that type of problem, yet it is further compounded by the antics of Booth’s crowd.
All a boycott will do is show that people like Booth are only concerned with their political agendas. It does not matter to them what they will destroy in the process of seeking to achieve that agenda. That includes destroying a company that panders to their every wish and whim.
The saddest part is that none of results in good storytelling. If the characters were compelling and the stories interesting, one could get around the politicizing. Instead, we are met with this, this, and this. No engaging stories, no interesting characters. We only get pandering, and pandering so bad even the feminists who demanded do not like it. Worse, the more the one caves into the demands, the more petty the demands.
This results in creators being more concerned about ticking every identity box than telling a good story. And because those characters now “represent” those identities, they cannot have character flaws. They can be clumsy, forgetful, and snarky, but they cannot have anger issues, a drinking problem, or suffer from guilt over their mistakes. The characters must be perfect lest someone take offense at the “negative” portrayal.
One ends up with uninteresting characters who always win, who are never wrong, and who can never struggle outside of whatever political issue their group supposedly experiences.
It is no wonder then that the books suffer from poor sales. How many times can someone read the same story told dozens of times with the only difference being the characters race, sex, sexuality, or religion? If those are the only differing characteristics, and the stories are laden with leftist politics, what reason does anyone have to read the books? If you read one issue, you have essentially read them all.
As for the boycott, go ahead and do it. Marvel is pop culture at this point. Trying to tell people not to buy Marvel products because of its CEO will be as effective as telling people not to buy Chick-fil-A.