“Thor? Are you kidding me? I’m supposed to call you Thor?” Marvel villain The Absorbing Man yells at the new “female Thor” during a vicious street brawl in an issue published last year. “Damn feminists ruining everything!”
The dialogue mirrored most sane reader’s thoughts during the issue, but we’re not all monsters. We are just loyal, long-time readers who are sick of our favorite characters being butchered by nose-ringed lesbians for the sake of diversity, and at the apparent expense not just of dialogue, story and creativity but also, it now appears, the commercial success of Marvel’s comic books line.
A villain based on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is to appear in “Spider-Gwen Annual #1” this week. The villain, who goes by the name of MODAAK will be seen rounding up “foreign filth”, complete with Mexico jibes, “small hands” jokes, and even Trump’s signature catchphrase “Make America Great Again.”
In one scene, a female Captain America can be seen hitting MODAAK with her [sic] shield before the villain can complete his “Make America Great Again” catchphrase.
Your mileage may vary on Trump disses. Plenty of readers will have smirked along at jokes made at The Donald’s expense. But increasing customer frustration at obscure third-wave feminism preoccupations shoehorning their way into Marvel’s comic books is starting to have an effect on sales. It turns out you can’t bully people into caring about “microaggressions.”
“[A lot of misogynistic filth]”, “[Red Pill MRA Meninist Casual Racism]”, and even “[Unsolicited Opinions on Israel???]” were all speech captions in Angela: Queen of Hel, a Marvel comic that was cancelled after failing to set the world alight earlier this year. The comic started with nearly 40,000 sales on its first issue, but dropped to just below 25,000 on its second.
By the third issue, Angela: Queen of Hel was at just above 20,000 sales, and by the last issue, issue seven, just over 14,000 people bought a copy. That’s right: the comic lost over half of its audience within seven issues.
Is that because the comic industry hates women? Or could it perhaps be because readers don’t appreciate being bludgeoned to death with student politics — and because social justice warriors tend not to put their money where their mouth is.
Marvel isn’t getting the message. Its latest comic book character is — wait for it — a fifteen year-old black female Iron Man. That’s right. Tony Stark, the badass, billionaire playboy businessman who has represented the quintessential white American male since the 1960s is to be replaced by a fifteen year-old black girl with an Afro and hooped earrings.
Other comic book publishers are hardly saints, of course. In an issue of DC’s Wonder Woman last year, the popular female superhero complained about a villain “mansplaining” to her before an ally punched him in the face for the crime. “The lasso compels truth, but it can’t stop mansplaining,” declared Wonder Woman as the “bad guy” had his teeth knocked out of his mouth.
The new social political styles seem a weird choice for publishers who have a predominately apolitical — and disproportionately male — audience, particularly since Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter also donated $1 million to Trump’s U.S. Military Veterans Fundraiser in January.
“We’re seeing the worst falloff of Marvel and DC sales in the store’s 38-year history,” complained one comic book store owner in an industry forum. “Both companies are losing established readers who no longer feel that the company’s output reflects the sort of comics they enjoy.
“For the first time in store history, yesterday’s Marvel FOCs saw us ordering single digits on more than half of the line items in the Marvel section.”
Marvel’s readership is souring particularly fast. With the exception of some big-name comics whose characters have, thus far, escaped the SJW purge of anything remotely resembling a straight white male, Marvel readers are simply going elsewhere.
Marvel have radically altered their classic characters by giving in to calls for more diversity, leading to a black Spiderman and female Thor. This has effectively turned the company into a multi-billion dollar feminist zine publisher.
Here’s a newsflash for Marvel: race-baiters and gender warriors who complain endlessly about the “lack of diversity” in comic books don’t buy comic books. They’re interested in identity politics, not fun.
When your customers — lifelong comic fans — pick up the latest issue to find a smorgasbord of irrelevant, hectoring social and pop culture commentary, they probably won’t buy the next issue. Not because they’re sexists and racists, but because the stuff you are publishing sucks.
People read comic books to escape the real world, and readers have had enough of being called privileged cis white men, or misogynist MRAs, in the real world, let alone the one place they get to escape it. If you want to put these things in your comic books, go ahead, but readers are just going to stop buying them.
Marvel is stuck between appeasing gobby SJWs, making SJWs mad by appeasing them and then attempting to fix an even messier situation than just giving the blue-haired elephants a much need middle-finger. They’re not too worried now, given the success of superhero movies at the box office.
But while the company is making bank from Hollywood, hoping that audiences remain enthusiastic about increasingly desperate franchise crossovers, there’s trouble on the horizon, not just for the studio’s core intellectual property, but the creative integrity of its work, too. Serves them right.