(Photo: Marvel Comics)
In attempts to diversify its white male leads, Marvel has introduced a number of comic reboots in 2016 which feature a more inclusive set of superheroes. This includes a female Thor, Ms. Marvel as a Muslim woman, a black teenaged girl as Iron Man, and a black and Latino boy as Spider-Man. Concurrently, Marvel’s comic book sales have dropped and according to them, their efforts to diversify are the cause for the company’s setback. Spoiler alert: others feel differently.
David Gabriel of Marvel writes, “We saw the sales of any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against it.” Marvel believes that their audience has little interest in characters of different races, genders, ethnicities, and sexual orientations and that they would rather read about the traditional white male hero.
Kelly Kamaya, writer for The Independent criticises Marvel’s explanation for their readers’ rejection of newer characters by accusing them of phony diversity. In an Op-Ed, she points out that in 2016 a Pakistani American Muslim Ms. Marvel was on a New York Times bestseller list and that an African Black Panther was the top selling comic of the year - and these comics were written by a Muslim woman and an African American man. Less successful storylines, Kamaya argues, are “superficial to the point of insult.” In her view, diversity is not responsible for the drop in sales, rather, white male writers’ portrayals of women and heroes of color are weak.
Regardless of any drop in sales, Marvel is continuing with the relaunches of old characters and it is even adding new ones such as Moon Girl, a 9-year old black girl who is the smartest person in the universe.
Alanna Shingler Staff Reporter