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Friday, July 29, 2016 

Does Marvel really care about Cancer Awareness Month?

A retailer in San Diego says their alleged efforts to help the American Cancer Society raise awareness for health topics like cancer aren't really being done to raise charity for the group at all, let alone any group dedicated to these subjects:
1. Prostate Cancer Awareness? They neglect to work with an actual Prostate Cancer group, instead going to the American Cancer Society to come up with a message that subverts attention from Prostate Cancer and offers no education or resources about it.

Where is the warning that "The number of new cases of metastatic prostate cancer climbed 72 percent in the past decade from 2004 to 2013" or that the frequency of Prostate Cancer is higher than that of Breast Cancer?

2. Limiting this incredibly important message only to VARIANTS. If Marvel truly wanted, "to continue bringing awareness to further increase the survival rate," why guarantee that only a small subset of the small subset of people buying Marvel Comics in September see their message? Doesn't the message belong on EVERY COMIC that month?

3. Limiting this incredibly important message only to VARIANTS redux. Speaking of limiting this to variants… Retailers cannot simply order these variants and support Prostate Cancer Awareness, they must order the equivalent of a previous month's issue to qualify to buy these variants! This means most retailers will have to order far more copies of the book than they actually need or want or risk looking like jerks by not supporting the effort.
Let me take a moment to note that, while I understand they don't want to feel awkward by making it look as though they're not supporting the effort, it's absurd the retailers want to order variants at all. Yes, seriously. Because they only appeal to collectors, and it's hurting both image and the companies' own wallets by spending so much on variant covers. There's plenty of ways to raise awareness to the topic without relying on variants to do so.

But here's where it really gets troubling:
4. Oh yeah. Let's forget everything else. This is an important effort and after all, all of this extra money that Marvel makes from the additional sales of these variants is going to fight Prostate Cancer, right? NO! Just like the Breast Cancer and Bullying covers, Marvel is keeping the windfall.

Most retailers probably can't even consider donating profits from the sales of these covers because the extra expense involved in ordering them means there will be no profit. Risk not selling any of the regular issue covers you were forced to buy because people were moved to buy the PC variant or not order the variants and look indifferent to the disease and those affected, should they come looking for them, while Marvel profiteers, yet again. With great power indeed! Disgusting!
"Profiteering" is the perfect word to describe a lot of the stunts mainstream superhero comics have pulled for many years. This is just one of the most cynical yet. Phony advertising for a health campaign, and none of the money they make goes to the organizations researching it, nor does Marvel donate a penny. That's very reprehensible conduct on their part, but hardly shocking when you think in hindsight about many of the worst steps they - and even DC - have taken for a long time. And that's why, if they won't donate any of the sums they've made to decent health organizations, then nobody should be buying the books, variants or no variants.

Marvel's probably doing these stunts to cover for some of their worst storytelling. But all they're doing is making themselves look worse, like they really care about vital issues, even as in reality, they care more about money.

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Instead of aiding Marvel's cynical profiteering, I will donate directly to the ACS and/or the Cancer Research Institute.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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