A Marvel executive has reversed himself after blaming readers rejecting diversity as the reason for slumping comic book sales.
David Gabriel, Marvel’s vice president of sales, said in an interview with industry outlet ICv2 that he had learned at a Marvel retailer summit last week that fans “didn’t want” any more diverse characters. “They didn’t want female characters out there,” Gabriel said. “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 continued. “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 added.
Gabriel’s comments sparked a backlash from Marvel fans who said diversity wasn’t the problem. One said the real issue was “high price and event fatigue not diversity” — exhaustion with Marvel’s many splashy events and crossovers.
— Anthony John Agnello (@ajohnagnello) March 31, 2017
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
Marvel thinks diversity is ruining their sales? Idk, MAYBE turning Captain America, a worldwide symbol, into a nazi has something to do
— ㅤmanu (@hoesling) April 2, 2017
After his initial comments, Gabriel reached out to ICv2 to say the company remained “proud and excited to keep introducing unique characters that reflect new voices and new experiences into the Marvel universe.” He said Marvel would “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.
Gabriel’s comments follow Marvel’s recent introduction of a woman Thor, an African-American woman Iron Man, a mixed race Spider-Man, and a Muslim teenage girl as the new Ms. Marvel.