Despite movies from within their cinematic universe grossing just under $12 billion at the box office, Marvel comics are struggling. And according to their Vice President of Sales, David Gabriel, an increase in diversity is partly to blame.
Speaking with ICv2, Gabriel stated that Marvel's customer-base wanted an end to the escalating number of female characters.
“What we heard was that people didn't want any more diversity,” Gabriel tells the online publication.
“They didn't want female characters out there. That's what we heard, whether we believe that or not…
“We saw the sales of 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 against.“
Gabriel contacted ICv2 to clarify his statements, with the pop culture publisher updating their interview after the VP's rectification. As included in the revised article, he explained customers weren’t pleased with what they perceived as Marvel’s desertion of the publisher’s older classic characters for recent additions to the comic universe.
"Contrary to what some said about characters “not working,” the sticking factor and popularity for a majority of these new titles and characters like Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, The Mighty Thor, Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales, and Moon Girl, continue to prove that our fans and retailers ARE excited about these new heroes," Gabriel told ICv2.
“And let me be clear, our new heroes are not going anywhere! We are 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."
Ms. Marvel (otherwise known as Kamala Khan), a Pakistani-American Muslim created by G. Willow Wilson, an American Muslim herself, has been one of the more popular newly introduced characters. She made her first appearance in a Captain Marvel comic in 2013 and went on to feature in her own series, which debuted in February 2014. Ms Marvel #1 received critical acclaim, winning the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story in 2015.
Wilson reacted to Marvel's comments in her blog, stating:
"Diversity as a form of performative guilt doesn’t work. Let’s scrap the word diversity entirely and replace it with authenticity and realism. This is not a new world. This is *the world.*"
Oscar winner, Brie Larson is set to play the first leading female superhero in 2019 in the planned feature, Captain Marvel.