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Friday, August 10, 2018 

This is why independents and crowdfunded efforts are becoming more common

Jon Del Arroz at the Federalist addresses the current state of the industry. For example, how Marvel hasn't changed since Axel Alonso's departure as EIC, if at all:
A year after Cebulski’s tenure began, things look exactly the same at Marvel. The company still has largely the same creative staff, but has shuffled their teams on different titles. Marvel launched a new run of Captain America by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who wrote a rant in The Atlantic arguing the election of Donald Trump surfaced a long-standing culture of “white supremacy” in the country.

His handling of the character came soon after Nick Spencer, right after Trump’s inauguration in 2017, turned Captain America into an allegorical Nazi in order to attack right-wing America. Spencer wasn’t fired for his offensive performance on the patriotic character, but rewarded with a higher-profile book: “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

Since The Federalist exposé on Marvel creators’ anti-conservative social media rants last April, several backed away from Twitter and Facebook. Writers Dan Slott and Mark Waid deleted their Twitter accounts after coming under immense fire for their political tweets directed at fans. Spencer protected his account, meaning only approved readers can view his tweets, and has posted he is no longer updating on Twitter.

Not all of their writers have disappeared, however. Black Bolt writer Saladin Ahmed posted a tweet on July 19 accusing Israelis of being “part of the white supremacist fascist order that’s cohering globally,” continuing a long-standing tradition of Marvel contractors making bizarre political rants.
Yes, I noticed a screencap of one of those horrors written by Ahmed, (and in fact, here's the aforementioned one where he attacks Israel) which he may have since erased as Cebulski's staff at least has the decency to rein in some of their writers to avoid politics online, even though it's clear they're continuing to allow overt politics at the expense of the entertainment into their books. They may have toned it down in some of their books, and improved some of their artwork as well, but the sad reality is that the bad elements are still lurking there in many ways, and could always get worse in time. Ahmed's act is a basic example of an ingrate with nothing but contempt for the Jewish founders, Lee/Kirby included.

And we're reminded that DC's staff can be - and are - just as bad:
A lot of fans turned to DC Comics in the last several years because of Marvel creators’ behavior toward half of American voters. But DC Comics has been no better. The Batgirl comic recently moralized about how terrible it is to be “misgendered,” which is social justice-speak for someone mistakenly calling a person by the pronoun that accurately describes his or her sex.

DC followed up on gender identity politics by running a storyline about Supergirl having a “non-binary friend,” a rare mental illness where a person believes he or she is neither male nor female. The promotion of extreme identity politics within DC Comics storylines has been steadily escalating over the past several years, and readers have been slowly dropping the books that were once seen as a good alternative to Marvel’s political grandstanding.

DC Comics recently doubled down on their political hires by announcing they would publish a comic by Zoe Quinn, an ex-nude model famous for exploiting gender politics for her career advancement. Quinn publicly admitted to using quid pro quo sexual intimacy with video game designers and journalists to gain favorable publicity for her projects.
I'm sure they had this particular shift planned all along, mainly because it's not like they hadn't embraced extreme leftist narratives before. Let's remember: Identity Crisis was one of their worst of the early examples, and no matter what they're coughing out now, it's unlikely they're sorry, nor do the current contributors even care. One of the Vertigo projects, Border Town, contains the following:
The third is perhaps the most egregious of the three. The “Bordertown” preview shows several white Americans shouting “Make America Great Again Mother-F-cker” and rambling incoherently about immigrants before they head into the desert to presumably hunt down minorities. The company’s content is highly politically charged, and they appear to be going down a path similar to Marvel’s in recent years.
And as Dan Jurgens' recent Superman story makes clear, their flagship superhero universe isn't immune to this kind of propaganda either. May I also make clear that even back in the mid-2000s, their content was already getting very bad, even without the overt politics, no thanks in part to Geoff Johns, who engineered some of the most loathsome garbage in modern history.
The big comic companies are no longer entertaining a mainstream youth demographic, but actively attempting to socially engineer Americans through propaganda-style storylines, dialogue, and characters. It’s clear through their continued attitude toward fans that they don’t care about sales or reader reaction.

The audience is, accordingly, turning away in droves. According to BookScan, graphic novel sales fell by 12 percent by units in 2017, which followed two years of large gains. That large drop is a similar number to what we saw in the National Football League, when players began kneeling for the national anthem and displaying politics on the field.

Customers paying for entertainment don’t want angry politics interjected into their fun. Comics is an industry designed around escapism. It’s no surprise to see these terrible sales numbers in the wake of so many political controversies.
When Dan DiDio whines about over-saturation, it's clear he resents success of the independent scene that's taking their place. And no doubt, neither he nor Joe Quesada cares that their antics have gradually led to the closure of dozens of comics stores, most recently one in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Let's be clear: besides whoever's the editors at Marvel/DC today, DiDio and Quesada also have to shoulder blame, and I think the audience would do well to stress this more often, and make clear they have to go if they don't like the profession they work in.
...Marvel and DC need to pay attention to what the fans want if they intend to remain competitive in the comic book industry for years to come.
If they do want to remain competitive, they also have to get rid of the managers holding them back - Quesada and DiDio, as mentioned before. Whatever role they play behind the scenes has to be considered, as does their influence on project choices and decisions made. They've been with Marvel/DC practically since the turn of the century. It's time now for them to be called out and a demand made to dismiss them from the staff payrolls.

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  • 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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