Several months ago Bleeding Cool reported that Marvel Comics will shift its books away from politics and back to storytelling, action, and adventure. As I noted in my previous post about the change, Marvel’s sales took a hit in recent years. Their numbers are not low enough to result in bankruptcy, however, they are low enough to cause concern. The reason is that most of the books with low numbers are their newer titles. Many of these books feature so-called “diverse” characters. Despite Marvel’s active promotion of the books, the titles simply do not sell.
One person at Marvel has an explanation for this. ICv2 interview Marvel VP of Sales David Gabriel. Gabriel responded to several questions about the impact of the “diversity” initiative at Marvel:
Part of it, but I think also it seemed like tastes changed, because stuff you had been doing in the past wasn’t working the same way. Did you perceive that or are we misreading that?
No, I think so. I don’t know if those customers with the tastes that had been around for three years really supporting nearly anything that we would try, anything that we would attempt, any of the new characters we brought up, either they weren’t shopping in that time period, or maybe like you said their tastes have changed.
There was definitely a sort of nose-turning at the things that we had been doing successfully for the past three years, no longer viable. We saw that, and that’s what we had to react to. Yes, it’s all of that.
It is not a matter of people’s tastes changing. If it were, one would expect a greater audience, not the ever shrinking audience that the industry has seen in the past two decades. The problem here was that Marvel attempted to appeal to people who do not buy their product and are more interested in identity politics. The books that Gabriel claims were a success all saw dwindling numbers within a year of their release. Gabriel names several characters — Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, The Mighty Thor, Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales, and Moon Girl — so let us look at the debut and current sales of their books: Continue reading