Marvel Comics has been making its presence felt at this year’s New York Comic Con and in a closed Q&A with the company and a group of direct market retailers, things got heated.
Marvel Comics executive editors Tom Brevoort and Nick Lowe were on hand to answer questions in the session that was specifically for Retailers only. As Lowe opened up the floor for questions, according to Newsarama and The Week, an unknown retailer took the opportunity to express his concern about some Marvel titles not selling well and his opinion as to why.
The retailer took issue with the company changing the ethnicity, gender and sexuality of some of their classic characters. According to the reports, the retailer took issue with Thor Captain America and Iceman stating “when they see that Thor is a woman and Captain America is a black man,” apparently they leave his store. The retailer called for Marvel to create new characters and not mess with the old ones because they were, in his words, “solid”.
As the rest of the retailers began to chime in, many echoing the same sentiments including a distaste for Iceman “kissing other men”, the room started to get more tense and Editor Nick Lowe tried to calm the crowd. Attendees stated that the words “black”, “homo” and “freaking females” were used multiple times in discussion of their frustrations. Marvel assured the retailers that the Legacy storyline would address many of their concerns, but ultimately the session ended with many retailers leaving and confronting Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Sales David Gabriel.
Lowe stated that the company would continue to publish characters that fans of every background can relate to before closing out the panel.
Let me know what you think of this news out of New York Comic Con in the comments below.
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DocOctober 8, 2017 - 1:26 pm
Diversity is needed and welcomed. This was a comic con – just looking at the diverse attendance at one should be a clear indicator of that. This is some of the same BS that has been stirred up around the gaming industry.
ChorblesOctober 9, 2017 - 10:19 am
Diversity is indeed welcome, which is why for decades comics have been filled with characters from all walks of life. They have at times been poorly handled, such as far too many instances of damsels in distress, or even worse: damsels in refrigerators, but diversity is nothing new to comics and it has often times been handled very well. Marvel has decided all that isn’t enough recently and in the eyes of many readers, has belabored the point of making a statement about diversity at the cost of their main products: storytelling and nostalgia. It’s a shame that a few individuals at this Q&A decided to resort to homophobic/racist/misogynist remarks, because aside from the obvious issues – it causes a discussion which needs to be had to fall apart. Retailers are the front line for the comic industry and they build their livelihoods around what publishers line their shelves with. They buy publications up front and then sell to the general public and when the general public doesn’t want what they’re selling they lose money and are often stuck with worthless inventory. Are there fans from all walks of life who enjoy comics? Absolutely. Are fans from all walks of life actually going into comic shops and laying down their money? Are the “new and diverse” consumers who are showing up enough to make up for the old guard comic buying base who are voting with their wallets? Ask a retailer. Marvel and of course Disney are too big to fail, but the retailers who stock their books are not.