How Marvel's actually lacking in diversity, in the politics of their contributors
Marvel’s transition from fun superhero adventures to political shilling began in 2011. Brian Michael Bendis, Portland resident and rabid left-wing writer, announced that he would be writing a “half-black, half-Hispanic Spider-Man” in a relaunch of the reboot version of Marvel they call the Ultimate Universe. The comic received an exorbitant amount of free media from the Huffington Post to USA Today, bringing Marvel Comics to the mass media’s attention for one of only a handful of times outside of major movie events.Obviously, none of these stunts have ever translated into long term sales, because they're not built on talented writing, just on gimmicks. They clearly printed as many copies as they did just to "prove" there was big demand, when there wasn't.
The gimmick worked, bringing a comic that was lagging with sales of approximately 33,000 unit to more than 89,000 units—a bestseller by comic book standards. Those sales did not last, as their drive-by and rubbernecking readers proved to be fleeting. Today, the Miles Morales Spider-Man book has settled back in the 31,000 unit range, a nearly 10 percent drop from when the book last featured its traditional lead, Peter Parker.
A year later, Marvel went for marketing to the social justice crowd through clickbait news again, this time with the X-Men. They announced that they would have the first gay wedding in comics, and again received droves of media coverage, which propelled “Astonishing X-Men” from its lagging sales of approximately 31,000 units to over 82,000 units. “Astonishing X-Men” was cancelled a year later due to low sales.
And no doubt Bendis has to shoulder much of the blame for where they've gotten to. After all, he was also one of the architects of the first Civil War back in 2006, one of their most politically motivated books during the Bush era. On which note, in case it's not clear, Marvel's degeneration into a leftist swamp of the worst kind began post 9-11, and J. Michael Straczynski's exploitive Spider-Man issue, published soon after, was just one example of the bad trip they've taken since.
A comic book retailer in the San Francisco Bay Area voiced his frustration, saying Marvel went from 48 percent to 25 percent of his sales. His shop and livelihood are at risk because of Marvel’s continued dedication to their shallow faux-diversity. If this type of cheap virtue signaling doesn’t work in San Francisco, what audience do they think they’re selling to?So it's not working in California's most leftist bastion either. How about that. I do know it's a bad idea to rely entirely on a major publisher for a living, and store managers who understand what Marvel/DC are doing wrong should by all means make an effort to promote smaller publishers more than bigger ones. At the same time, let's remember even some of the smaller publishers have run the gauntlet of leftism, and if they won't avoid overt politics, then they can't be surprised if their products don't sell well either.
DelArroz took a look at how the politics of the pseudo-creatives, at Marvel and elsewhere, are governing their conduct. Over 30 whined about Donald Trump, including Nick Spencer, Dan Slott and Greg Pak. Plenty more strongly suggested they're anti-religious. And:
I did find one oddity: out of the entire group, I did not find one writer that openly professed Christianity. On the contrary, many of the writers made comments mocking Christians or the Bible. It begs the question: does Marvel hold a latent religious intolerance toward Christians? Based on this research, it would appear so. I reached out to the Marvel writers listed above and Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief, Axel Alonso, but they declined to comment.It makes me wonder, what's the state of Daredevil today? Out of the various superheroes Marvel created since the Silver Age, Matt Murdock was by far a standout example of a guy with a Christian upbringing. So too is Nightcrawler. Even the Punisher had some of this background. But that could easily have changed in just a few years, and not everybody may have noticed.
And there's also the case of contributors who've been blacklisted for conservatism:
Over the course of my research, several artists have spoken to me in private about Marvel’s business practices, stating their support for my efforts to expose the bigotry and intolerance in this company. These artists maintain that blackballing from those offices is standard practice. One such artist is Brett R. Smith, who used to have regular contract work at Marvel and D.C. comics. He worked as creative director, editor, and colorist of Peter Schweizer’s “Clinton Cash.”DelArroz posted the whole text of his interview with Dixon on his site. It's vital to note DC once blackballed him too, and during the mid-2000s, when leftist Dan DiDio was the main editor, he was one of the worst personalities dominating the company, and still is. Blacklisting over rightist politics has been a serious problem at least since the turn of the century. DC may have recently recanted and is willing to hire him again, but if it's only selective assignments, then they may still hold contempt for somebody who did once turn out decent storytelling, for which they've never really thanked him (and, as anybody familiar with their conduct in the mid-2000s knows, they practically set about dismantling almost everything he worked so hard to set up).
“They stopped returning my calls,” he said.
Writer Chuck Dixon has sold millions of comics and created the infamous Batman villain, Bane. Even those credentials, he is intentionally overlooked for current comic work. “I am blacklisted at Marvel and have been for 15 years,” Dixon said. These days, he self-publishes novels on Amazon, such as his most recent, “Levon’s Kin.” “The effect has been direct on me, resulting in less potential work, less potential income.”
IMO, the best way to fix major publishers is to have more reliable owners who care about story quality buy them out. So why doesn't somebody on the right make an offer? I think there's potential to rebuild a good fanbase of buyers under a reliable ownership that recognizes the value of escapist entertainment.