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Tuesday, April 26, 2016 

Maybe not readers, but what about writers and approach?

A writer on the pretentious Mary Sue site says we shouldn't blame readers for low sales on "diverse" titles. But they overlook a challenging reason why, or ignore it deliberately:
When a recent article at Poprama decided to blame readers for low sales of diverse comics, I couldn’t help but be really annoyed. The article made a sweeping generalization of comic readers mostly based on the sale of comics released by The Big Two and a lack of data for digital comic book sales. Yet, the reason for low sales of diverse comics isn’t so simple. It’s based on multiple factors including accessibility, affordability, and a lack of general knowledge that such diversity is even out there.
What about talent? Namely, whether the story is good enough and that this will last a long time? And what about how the Big Two's titles, diversity or not, get stuck neck deep in line-wide crossovers? Oh, and what about the editors/publishers involved, like Quesada, DiDio, Alonso and Harras?

And general knowledge has been commonplace for a number of years now, contrary to their claim. Newspapers and TV programs talk about them just because of the so-called diversity, but not because of story value. Did it ever occur to them that the wider audience just isn't interested because the stories could be boring and preachy?
Another important factor to consider is whether comic shops are friendly enough to their customers that they want to buy comics. In 2014, Comic creator and cartoonist Noelle Stevenson made a Tumblr comic about how men treated her at a comic store. While tools such as Girl Wonder help with finding comic shops that treat their female customers well, there are still less respectable comic shops that can discourage female comic book readers.
There's also less-than-respectable people at Marvel/DC who can discourage them too, and I just took the time in the past few days to write about them. Why should anybody who just realized how scummy Eddie Berganza is - and how DiDio, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are no better - want to put money into their pockets?
Comic book readers and potential comic book readers are just as diverse as the characters and stories they want to see. They are more than just numbers and statistics, but readers with circumstances and personal preferences that affect how they read comics. Instead of blaming existing readers for not buying diverse comics, we must devise better ways to make them accessible and draw in more readers—something all publishers should be interested in.
I'm afraid this makes it sound like readers aren't interested in quality writing, and this overlooks the size of the current audience to boot. Let's be clear: I don't know about smaller publishers, but the bigger ones have made it clear for years they only care about ghetto mentality to suit their selfish, narrow ideas of what makes a great superhero story, and this is why we're still stuck fast on the pamphlet format. And instead of lamenting that diverse mishmash isn't being bought, we should devise ways to make them entertaining without forcibly changing the racial background and gender of the older protagonists, and not act like nobody wants to read a book about a white character. We also have to judge the writers based on their talent, and not whether they're celebrities.

And since when has the Mary Sue ever protested Marvel's mistreatment of Mary Jane Watson, for example? I don't see the use of this argument if they don't care about co-stars who once had auspicuous writing to accompany them.

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How about other examples of diminishing status for co-stars besides Lois Lane and Mary Jane Watson?

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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