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Sunday, June 03, 2018 

C.B. Cebulski spoke with CBS about Marvel's diversity-pandering and his own use of an Asian pen name

Marvel's current EIC talked with CBS about how they're doing now that he's allegedly the one in charge (let's not forget Joe Quesada still lurks in the background). It starts off with the following:
Marvel superheroes dominate screens big and small, shatter box office records and mark milestones. So, sometimes, it can be easy to forget that these heroes and villains got their start on the pages of comics. But is the on-screen success translating to the books that inspired them? According to Marvel Comics editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski, very much so.
What, did sales for floppies suddenly jump to millions of copies sold in stores? Not from what I can tell; it's still the same low thousands as has been for many years already, and that Marvel hasn't brought in any new talent with apolitical standings is just one more letdown.
Cebulski, who recently took on his current role with Marvel, has been with the company for 16 years and is best known for publishing "Runaways," which was turned into a TV series for Hulu. Now, he's in charge of drawing in new readers. His strategy? A "fresh start" with new storylines for "The Avengers," "Black Panther" and "Captain America," among others.

"It's one big tapestry, one big soap opera. And our job is to keep adding to this tapestry in new and original ways and every now and then we have to come up with new ideas, create new characters switch up the creative teams and that's what we're doing now," Cebulski told CBS News' Michelle Miller.
They may have created some new characters, but not new roles. The several diversity-pandering characters they introduced a few years ago were just intended to replace white protagonists in their costumes and such. The part about switching the writers/artists onto different books is telling, of course, because that's all they actually did - musical chairs. Dan Slott and Nick Spencer are still there, unfortunately.
But 2017 was a tough year for Marvel Comics with some comic store owners shunning an earlier relaunch, a PR crisis when a senior vice president seemed to blame a sales slump on diverse characters and the revelation that Cebulski himself had written under a Japanese pseudonym. He admitted not doing right by the company, but hasn't talked about it until now.

"I've always wanted to write and tell stories and it was a different time in cultural politics. And I made some very bad choices at that time, ones that I regret and that I've since made amends for and have been working to, you know, really kind of put behind me," Cebulski said.
Again, this is something he didn't need to apologize for, and if it wasn't an issue before, it shouldn't have to be one now.
"We're 100 percent committed to diversity...Marvel is the world outside your window and we want not only our characters but our creative talent to reflect that world and it hasn't been an easy road to be honest with you. Going back to the 60s when Marvel were created it was created by a number of white men here in New York City who were working in our studio… But now, we do not have any artists that work in Marvel. All our writers and artists work -- are freelancers that live around the world so our talent base has diversified almost more quickly than our character base has."
Umm, should the racial background of folks like Lee/Kirby be an issue here? I think that was pretty shallow of Cebulski to act like that's some kind of issue. Besides, one of the reasons a lot of artists and writers work outside and overseas today is because modern technology's made everything a bit easier, that's all.
One of the people in charge of making Marvel more inclusive is vice president of content and character development Sana Amanat. She created Kamala Khan -- Marvel's first Muslim superhero -- who helped sell more than half a million Ms. Marvel books to date.

"People paid attention because there's something about the idea of Kamala Khan and it has nothing to do with being Muslim or South Asian or whatever….But something about the idea of representation and having a character like that who is totally unexpected that I think people had been craving for such a long time," Amanat said.

She is also credited with bringing author Ta-Nehisi Coates on board. Coates authors "Black Panther" and will also write for "Captain America."
It's entirely erroneous to say the Khan character is their first Muslim superhero. The Arabian Knight, created by Bill Mantlo in 1981, was probably the first (yet not well handled any more than what followed), and Dust in Grant Morrison's X-Men the second, with another character in the Captain Britain series from the late 2000s named Faiza Hussein making a possible third. And what's galling about any of these characters is that the religion itself is whitewashed, with no genuine dissent allowed. That's what makes any and all of these renditions atrocious and offensive. Why, if communism was ever whitewashed in comicdom's history, that too is bad.

And how fascinating Amanat played a part in hiring Coates to work on their books. She probably had a role in hiring Saladin Ahmed as well.
"I hope to be very much like a lifestyle brand," Amanat said. "And also, the other big thing that's going to happen at Marvel is, I don't think it's going to be associated as a boy brand. Marvel has always been inclusive and I think it should be a place that anyone looks at that red logo and they realize, 'Oh yeah, that's just a really cool entertainment company.'"
It was never literally a "boy brand"; that's just a whole lot of propaganda conceived to undermine the status of many famous products in pop culture as it is.
"Everyone who works in this role at Marvel, be it, you know someone who's an assistant editor, or even the people who letter the books, or someone who works in our accounting department, everybody here works at Marvel because they love it. And we all have ideas. And we all are creative in our own right, you know. And we all contribute to the success of this company and have put Marvel on the path where we are now," Cebulski said.

A path that Cebulski hopes will continue to give fans something to marvel at.
Well I'm sorry to say, but with such awful people still working at Marvel under him unquestioned, that's why they won't give much to admire, unless they make sure to let go of all those who could be detrimental to their reputation and success, which still doesn't look bound to happen any time soon. Cebulski, alas, just isn't willing to admit, above all, that sales receipts in today's industry just aren't anything to celebrate.

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There's nothing wrong with content that appeals to young men.

Remaking Wolverine over to something that appeals primarily to women ,gay people can and will alienate boys but that's what Marvel's strategy is and it's not just driven by the quest to make ever more money--it is driven by ideology, as well.

A good example of what Marvel's entire strategy is, to see what happened when The Boy Scouts recently decided to allow girls into the Boys Scouts, on the grounds of gender equality. The Girls Scouts, which is still allowed to exist, will lose members, and some boys will leave.
What appeals to girls and what appeals to boys are different. Gender differences are not a social construct and outliers don't prove what they are.

Marvel publishes about 75-80 titles a month, plus reprint collections. The parent company Disney also publishes other graphic novels outside the Marvel imprint. No one can read that many titles a month on a regular basis. Different titles are going to have to appeal to different groups of people.

Marvel has been trying to appeal to girls since the golden age. They had more superheroines with their own comic book titles in the 1940s than any other publisher. The comic book that Stan Lee was associated with for the longest period of time wasn't the Fantastic Four, it was Millie the Model and all her spin-off titles.

The issue is that prevailing ideology among the ruling class and their servants, educated professionals, is feminism. Feminism stipulates that anything that appeals to men is a threat to all woman, and therefore, should be suppressed or banned. The feminists at Marvel,and elsewhere in the entertainment landscape don't believe in different strokes for different folks they believe that men should be forced to consume only things that appeal to women. (and lgbt people.) Marvel's campaign is basically to get new female fans by getting rid of as many of the male fans as possible.

Even at the height of comics popularity, it was very rare for any
title to sell over a million copies. Superman and Captain Marvel on
their good days, maybe Donald Duck, a few others. In 1942, there were
about 100 comic book titles put out by about 20 publishers, with a
total circulation of about 15 million. That means an average
circulation of about 150,000 copies per title; the median would have
been a lot lower. And that was before television and video games.
Nowadays, Marvel alone publishes almost as many titles per month as
all those publishers combined. It is crazy to keep taunting publishers
now for not selling a million copies. That is not reality anymore; the
market is just too fragmented, digital editions give free bootleg
access to a large segment of the reading public, there is much more
competition from other media, and there are many more titles from many
more publishers. That is great for readers, who have a lot of titles
to choose from; but it means that publishers have to work for a

I didn't know that Donald Trump was a feminist! He is about as ruling class as you can get, always has been, but most feminists would disavow him. The educated professionals who have worked for him - Giuliani, Michael Cohen, Roy Cohn, the rest - never seemed particularly feminist. Whatever you think about #metoo, it is an attack on the privileges of the ruling class. The people in positions of power are mostly men, not women.

Feminism has a lot of different strands, but one of the main ones would hold that what is good for men should also be available and equally accessible to women. What appeals to men is not to be banned, but should not be an exclusively male preserve. Marvel cannot force anyone to consume anything; maybe the people who have all 800 issues of the amazing spider-man are compelled to buy new issues to maintain their collection, but that is about it.

Nimorod, the industry was destined to decline because of the rise of competition,but the decline could have been less severe if better business decisions were made. Manga is in decline as well, but they are still profitable. Comics in the U.S. and probably the UK aren't. In the face of rising competition, rose prices . They raised production costs by using more expensive paper, insisting on full-color printing, and raising salaries of certain writers despite the fact that those writers sold fewer comics over time. The call for diversity and representation is just an excuse to bring in writers and artists who can work for low wages because they come from well-to-do families.
The icing on the cake is that the creators brought in under the banner of diversity and representation BALK at ANY criticism and basically tell potential customers not to buy their work because they have not intention of making anything that they may like, they are only interested in pleasing their tiny niche or political party. The result is a sharp decline in quality of new creators who will not improve because all criticism is "harassment" and "bigotry." The current comics industry is chasing customers away with high prices, bad work, and hostile creators.

Nimrod, Donald Trump is not a male feminist. That is one of the reasons he is disliked by many people in the Establishment. Harvey Weinstein nay have been abusing women behind doors in Hollywood, but publicly, Harvey Weinstein he presented himself publicly as an ally of feminists and donated heavily to Progressive politicians.

The #metoo movement is irrelevant to this discussion. The entertainment industry is known for being a place where people are exploited and power is abused. Many women put a price on their dignity when they chose to settle out of court and only seemed to come forward to press criminal charges when the preps couldn't keep up with the hush money.

The different strands of feminism is irrelevant. What matters is how feminists present themselves to the public. Despite the contradictions, all contemporary feminists subscribe to what is called " Third Wave Feminism. Third Wave Feminists believe in Postgenderism, Intersectionalism, and are Marxist, because how else can society make women with different abilities be made equal to men?

Don't treat people like they're misinformed here. They've seen the Woman's March , have encountered feminism throughout the educational system and read feminist opinions throughout all the major "news" sources. They've seen the same stuff you but have don't have the same opinion as you.

"Nowadays, Marvel alone publishes almost as many titles per month as
all those publishers combined. It is crazy to keep taunting publishers
now for not selling a million copies."

Marvel and DC publish a high number of comics to retain copyright to all their IP.

No sane company would keep a high level of output in order to satisfy fewer and fewer customers.

Donald Trump is not a feminist, but he is the establishment. He is the most powerful person in the country, he is rich or at least lives that lifestyle, he grew up rich, and he spends most of his time at his golf clubs with rich people. If people think the establishment is feminist, they are confused about who is the establishment, and are buying into the outsider persona that Trump likes to play with.

You can make a lot of money by selling a lot of one thing with a low profit margin, or you can make a lot of money by selling smaller individual amounts of many things. One comic with a million buyers, or 100 comic books with 15,000 readers each and a higher cover price; you still bring in millions and you still make money. Comics have switched to the latter model over the years. So has television in the multi-channel universe.

Ironically, if you have fewer and fewer customers, you have to sell more and more to them to make the same amount of money; you have to increase the level of output.

Who are the writers and artists who can work for low wages because they come from well-to-do families? In the past, comics writers and artists worked for low wages because they came from poor families and needed the money. And, for some of them, because they loved comics.

Many feminists balk at post-genderism (is that a word?) They don't like these newly minted women who are trying to take over their show. Others, of course, disagree and are more accepting. Intersectionalism means that people who are multiple minorities - say black women, or gay Muslims - have problems that can't be understood without looking at all the aspects of their identities together, and is sometimes read as meaning that all oppressed groups should support each other. It certainly doesn't mean that "anything that appeals to men is a threat to all woman". Some feminists are Marxists; most would say that women are equal, a lot would say they have abilities that men do not have, and that they do not need Marxism to prove that.

The only way people know which creators balk at criticism is if they zealously follow the creator's twitter feed. Most readers have no idea whether the writers or artists are complaining about harassment or bigotry or not, and don't care what their politics are.

The establishment is increasingly made up of liberals more than Conservatives. Feminism is part of the establishment. No Republican politician (who wants to stay in power) I know of has challenged the gender wage gap, the notion that men and women are equal in abilities or that women with children should work outside of the home. The majority of feminists are very well educated women who have the time and money to pursue activism.
If Conservatives were as powerful as you portray them (your portrayl is over 30 years out of date) gay marriage would have been banned at the Constitutional level. Abortion would be illegal. I don't know if you're stupid or something but it's very clear that liberals won the cultural war that had started with Ronald Reagan's presidency. Feminists are about as powerful as Evangelical Christian women were in the 1980s and 1990s. They are NOT outsiders. They are on average VERY WELL educated and have a lot of influence. A close ally of feminists, the LGBT lobby groups, are some of the most powerful in the country. Corporations are terrified of appearing racist or sexist. Starbucks' response to two black men being arrested at one of their coffeshops is not a a sign of black people having no political power. The Boys Scouts is allowing girls into it, because the Feminists in favor of postegenderism (the code terms for postgenderism are terms like "gender-neutral" and "gender equality")have sufficient influence to make it happen.


The largest businesses in America have PR campaigns that appeal to the Democratic Party's base of women, lgbt people and "brown people". I just saw an IBM campaign celebrating gay pride month. There are several articles I can point to that show that the majority of wealthy and educated people are socially liberal. Progressives are not outsiders or underdogs.

' One comic with a million buyers, or 100 comic books with 15,000 readers each and a higher cover price; you still bring in millions and you still make money. Comics have switched to the latter model over the years. So has television in the multi-channel universe.'

Yes, television, and sports entertainment have also focused on higher income individuals. It has not worked out well for them.
They're making less money than in the past. You don't get it. The smaller audience is not spending an increasing amount of money or time with their products. There is a limit to what one person can consume.

Your argument is similar to that made by economists that an enconomy can survive on the spending of the wealthy only. Things don't quite work that way. There are too few wealthy people to drive demand. However, people like you, regardless of your political affiliation insist that industries and companies can make up for lost customers by raising prices forever. This is something EASILY proven false. Why do people like you insist on lying?

Comics are not luxury products. They do NOT have a higher profit margin than in the past. The higher prices are eaten up by higher labor costs and material costs. The user experience is also worse because on every single metric except production values comics have gotten worse in quality.Injecting divisive intersectional politics "you might be disabled but you have no idea what it's like to be gay and disabled, bigot" has not translated into higher sales outside of academia. The way you are defending the establishment "everything is fine the way it is except for Trumptards" suggests to me you are an insider who doesn't even read the bad comics being published across the board.

" Most readers have no idea whether the writers or artists are complaining about harassment or bigotry or not, and don't care what their politics are." The comics industry's audience is too small for that to be true. The vast majority of the advertising and marketing happens on the internet, which puts readers in the crosshairs of creators' opinions, especially if they navigate to hipster-run-clickbait news sites where they may find one of their favorite creators embroiled in some kind of controversy instead of talking about his/her work.

Elites these days, to the extent you can generalize, tend to be socially liberal or libertarian (no, Mitch McConnell cannot tell me which sex I can marry or what I can do about my pregnancy) and economically conservative (no to universal health care and social programs, no to laws that would prevent me from making money by ripping people off or hurting them, no to any form of income redistribution). They are educated, but not in the sense most people mean by that; they go to elite universities as if they were a social club, to make connections, not to succeed academically.

The Marvel Comics heroes are tired; there are only so many times you can draw the Thing slugging it out with the Hulk before it becomes derivative. Even if it is new to the reader, the staleness of the presentation comes through. There are more suits listed on the credits of a book than there are creative people. But the books are not as awful as they were in the 90s. And what is strange is that the minority of Marvel books that have something more to them, that are creative, are the ones that the more vocal gamergate-empowered ex-fans are up in arms about or in contempt of. The dull boring stuff, not even Richard Meyer can muster up the energy to criticize. It is the small minority of decently-written and well-drawn titles that seem to be drawing the most ire. They are the ones that have enough substance to stir people up.

The liberal elite aren't Marxist enough for you.
Boo hoo. Cry me a f-ing river.

Just because someone believes that capitalism is deeply flawd does it mean that she is going to volunteer to give up her wealth. Even as people like Bill Gates crticize capitalism, he understands that a non-capitalist society would mean far fewer rich people. This is common sense and human nature. The problem with SJWs and other ideological zealots is that they think human behavior can be educated away.

"But the books are not as awful as they were in the 90s. And what is strange is that the minority of Marvel books that have something more to them, that are creative, are the ones that the more vocal gamergate-empowered ex-fans are up in arms about or in contempt of. The dull boring stuff, not even Richard Meyer can muster up the energy to criticize. It is the small minority of decently-written and well-drawn titles that seem to be drawing the most ire. "

Your comment shows that you haven't seen a second of D&C's videos. There are several videos where he gives positive reviews to books with sjw themes. He did not focus his criticsm on well written comics like Saga but badly written ones like Squirrel Girl and America. Not even sjw journalists can muster enough b.s. to say America was well written.
Your shot at 1990s comics, where the majority of readers were teenage boys, reveal your implicit bias. I'm going to tell you why you think that comics in the 1990s were horrible. The *real* problem, with 1990s comics, to SJWs, is the gender and racial makeup of the majority of readers, not the stylized drawing, writing, etc.

Throughout this discussion you felt it was necessary to mention
#metoo, Trump your disdain for people who share different moral values from you while insisting on using their money to fund your institutions such as Liberal Arts academia and activities such as abortions as if I showed an interest in your idiotic, personal political opinons.

America had good dialogue and decent characterization but clumsy plotting; the writer was trying too hard to imitate Chris Claremont and never quite found her own voice. Squirrel Girl has a nerdy cleverness and sense of humour to it, and had an artist who knew how to tell a story, a bit more tied in to today than most; not everybody's cup of tea, not an intense read, not very political, but one of the better titles, certainly one of the smarter ones.

Even Stan Lee was critical of Marvel in the 90s. Ugly is ugly, and good artists were pretending to draw bad because that was what editors wanted. Hardly anyone was reading most of those comics and no one collects them today; they were just piling up in the basements of the shops until the shops went bankrupt from lack of cash flow. Does anyone really know the age or racial makeup of the readers back then?

There are plenty of people who liked the Image style of comics.
Plenty of people like Jim Lee's art and think he is a good artist.
The reason why Image comics was able to form is because the artists had a considerable following among readers.

When Marvel rehired Image artists in the late 1990s to do Heroes Reborn, they only hired people like Rob Liefield because he could sell comics, regardless of whether Rob was technically a good artist.

Good art is what resonates with readers,not what you decide is good. Comics aren't the Fine Arts, although I'm sure you're desperate to make it like the Fine Arts where political and social trends decide what is good.

There is probably more intentionally ugly art with Independent/Alternative artists like
Jeff Lemire Becky Cloonan being allowed to do superhero/fantasy comics. I don't know anyone other than pretentious critics that enjoy their ugly art.

The majority of artists who practice some form of realism in comics today rely so much on photo reference that the art seems like badly traced stills from movie frames.

The stylized artwork is often very badly drawn.
The artist on Squirrel Girl regularly draws bad poses, draws some of the most lazy backgrounds I've ever seen in a Marvel comic, and is known for her postgender figures.

Gabby Rivera cannot write to save her life.

Your defense of SJW Marvel is based on ideology.
You disliked what Marvel did in the past, not because it was stale or ugly, but because it appealed to straight young men. You are the kind of person who would defend Becky Cloonan and Brian Wood's Conan by saying the John Buscema take on Conan was "ugly" and that was the defense of the SJW, softer and less masculine Conan on Comics Alliance: John Buscema's art was "ugly" meaning unappealing to feminists and lgbt activsts.

Ah yes, Marvel in the 90s. When they put out the Barbie line of comics, to meet the demand from their teenage male readership.

The 90s were a low point, but they had their good moments; it is wrong to just dismiss the entire decade as a wasteland. In the early part of the decade, after Jim Shooter left, a lot of the best writers and artists from the 70s came back to do more work for the company; kind of like a Marvel Spring, before the Image look took over entirely.

The tone of the books, even the ugly ones, was mostly civil libertarian; the ant-mutant hysteria theme would have particular resonance now.

Herb Trimpe did some work that was painful to look at when he tried to imitate the Liefeld look, but Buscema could not draw ugly to save his life. He was good at drawing ugly things, but even better at drawing graceful gorgeous figures. They don't really teach anatomy or life drawing in art school these days, not as much as in times past, and it shows in some of the work, whether Liefeld or Lemire.

Arabian Knight isn't the first Muslim superhero, this guy is: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ComicBook/KismetManOfFate

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