A senior executive at Marvel Comics has claimed that the company’s recent focus on creating diverse superheroes is a driving factor behind its declining comic book sales, arguing that loyal customers “were turning their noses up” at their efforts.
Speaking at the Marvel retailer summit this week, David Gabriel, Marvel’s vice president of sales, said the company had heard that people “didn’t want” any more diverse characters.
“They didn’t want female characters out there,” Gabriel told industry outlet ICv2. “That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not.”
“I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales,” he added. “Any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up,” he continued.
Gabriel’s comments follow Marvel’s recent attempts to create ‘diverse’ characters, such as a female Thor, a female Iron Man, a mixed race Spiderman, a Muslim teenage girl named Kamala Khanas as the current Ms. Marvel, as well as the appearance of a villain based on Donald Trump.
The executive’s comments reportedly caused a stir online, with some Marvel fans maintaining that it is not the diverse characters that bother them, but the constantly updating and expanding universes and, consequently, the resulting confusing storylines.
I love how Marvel thinks people are tired of "diversity".
NO I AM TIRED OF WATCHING UNCLE BEN DIE 373929463 TIMES.
— Alisha Rai (@AlishaRai) April 1, 2017
However, Gabriel later clarified his position, claiming the company remained “proud and excited to keep introducing unique characters that reflect new voices and new experiences into the Marvel universe and pair them with our iconic heroes.”
“We have also been hearing from stores that welcome and champion our new characters and titles and want more! So we’re getting both sides of the story and the only upcoming change we’re making is to ensure we don’t lose focus [on] our core heroes,” he added.