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Marvel Exec Says Diversity, Female Characters May Have Hurt Sales

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Have Diversity and Female Characters Hurt Sales at Marvel?
A visitor takes a look at an issue of ‘Captain America’ comic book published by Marvel Comics, during the 35th Comic Fair 2017 in Barcelona on March 30, 2017. (Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images)


As The Thing would say, it’s clobberin’ time! Social media users hulked out over comments made by David Gabriel, Marvel Comics’s vice president of sales, said during a recent interview suggesting the publisher’s emphasis on more diversity is hurting its bottom line.

Per The Guardian, Gabriel’s remarks haven’t gone over too well with the comic book–reading community, but is he wrong? Marvel has pushed plot lines such as the introduction of a female Thor and a Muslim teen hero, Ms. Marvel, in recent years, but Marvel’s sales have dropped despite (or perhaps because of) the attempt to reach a wider audience.

Marvel introduced a female 'Thor,' as part of an attempt to be more inclusive.
Marvel introduced a female ‘Thor,’ as part of an attempt to be more inclusive.

It’s worth noting that Gabriel’s initial response to the question regarding the sales slump/diversity question was, “I don’t know if that’s a question for me. I think that’s a better question for retailers who are seeing all publishers.”

But those retailers have been critical of Marvel’s move away from the traditional comic book audience. What those store owners wanted, said Gabriel, were the core stories like the Hulk, Captain America, and Spider-Man.

Gabriel later released a clarification (updating the same interview), but not after some blowback. The author of the updated Ms. Marvel storyline wrote a scathing blog post in response.

Read the full story from The Guardian here.

For more on how the Muslim Ms. Marvel character came to be, watch the explanatory video below from Comics Explained.