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Marvelís David Gabriel On Sales Slump: People ďDidnít Want Any More Diversity,Ē ď

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  • Marvelís David Gabriel On Sales Slump: People ďDidnít Want Any More Diversity,Ē ď

    G'day,

    Well, took them long enough to catch on . For over a year the only Marvel title I regularly get has been Moon Knight. Dynamite might want to take note.

    https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/03...comment-anchor


    Bleeding Cool has written a lot in the past few months about Marvelís plans for a ďmeat and potatoesĒ style relaunch later this year. There was an interview with Marc Guggenheim about his upcoming X-Men book in which Guggenheim said that the post-ResurrXion X-Men would be ďmore about the X-Men as heroes than the X-Men as a struggling minority fighting for their very existence.Ē There was Rich Johnstonís report that Marvel planned to stop wearing their politics on their shirt sleeves, even noting that while it was too late to change direction on Secret Empire, it was planned to be a ďlast hurrahĒ for that kind of storytelling. Other things first reported by Bleeding Cool included plans to bring back ďA-ListersĒ and a return to legacy numbers.

    Reading between the lines of the signals from Marvel, it seems the company is pulling back on its push for greater representation and diversity in their titles and pursuing a strategy similar to what DC Comics dubbed ďmeat and potatoesĒ before their DC Rebirth relaunch.

    A lot of people scoffed at Bleeding Coolís reports as spin or rumormongering, but in a recent interview with ICv2, Marvel VP of Sales David Gabriel is blunt with his assessment of a Marvel sales slump that began last October. The reason given by Gabriel: people are ďturning their noses upĒ at diversity.

    From the interview:

    Part of it, but I think also it seemed like tastes changed, because stuff you had been doing in the past wasnít working the same way. Did you perceive that or are we misreading that?

    No, I think so. I donít know if those customers with the tastes that had been around for three years really supporting nearly anything that we would try, anything that we would attempt, any of the new characters we brought up, either they werenít shopping in that time period, or maybe like you said their tastes have changed.

    There was definitely a sort of nose-turning at the things that we had been doing successfully for the past three years, no longer viable. We saw that, and thatís what we had to react to. Yes, itís all of that.

    Now the million-dollar question. Why did those tastes change?

    I donít know if thatís a question for me. I think thatís a better question for retailers who are seeing all publishers. What we heard was that people didnít want any more diversity. They didnít want female characters out there. Thatís what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I donít know that thatís really true, but thatís what we saw in sales.

    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. That was difficult for us because we had a lot of fresh, new, exciting ideas that we were trying to get out and nothing new really worked.

    It was the old things coming back in that time period, three books in particular, Spider-Man Renew Your Vows, that had Spider-Man and Mary Jane married, that worked. The Venom book worked and the Thanos book worked. You can take what you want out of who might be enjoying those three books, but it is definitely a specific type of comic book reader, comic book collector that really liked those three series.
    Of note is that Gabriel isnít saying that Marvelís opinions have changed. He explicitly says of the marketís demand for diversity that ďthatís what we heard, whether we believe that or not,Ē shifting the focus to retailers and even readers. All of this is to serve as justification for the meat and potatoes not-a-relaunch, Make Mine Marvel, that Bleeding Cool warned you was coming.

    Of course, an argument can be made that the blame lies not with readers, but with publishers and the entire deeply flawed direct market system for failing to be able to market books properly to anyone but the existing comics readership, but thatís a rant for another time. For now, this is just confirmation, straight from the horseís mouth, that Marvel doesnít see diversity as a winning sales strategy anymore, and regardless of what individual persons working for Marvel may feel, Marvel as a corporate entity cares far more about winning sales strategies than it does about diversity, and always did. It just so happens that, for a time, the two were one and the same. According to David Gabriel, they no longer are.

    IcV2 has a three articles up about the recent Marvel retailer summit in addition to their follow-up interview with Gabriel that are chock full of information, and you can check it out in full here, here, and here. Weíll be looking through and parsing out the stories in the coming hours as well.

  • #2
    And of course he took a boat load of criticism for it, no matter how accurate it might be.

    I like diversity just fine, so long as it doesn't feel forced and that I'm not being preached to. A character can be gay, of a different nationality, race or religious belief. But when that's ALL he or she is, the novelty wears off fast. The impression I got was that their replacement character basically lacked depth.

    Plus Marvel went about it in such a way that removed many of its most popular characters from the playing field. Stupid short-term thinking move.

    Comment


    • #3
      G'day,

      Have a look at his attitude:

      There was definitely a sort of nose-turning at the things that we had been doing successfully for the past three years, no longer viable. We saw that, and thatís what we had to react to. Yes, itís all of that.

      Now the million-dollar question. Why did those tastes change?

      I donít know if thatís a question for me. I think thatís a better question for retailers who are seeing all publishers. What we heard was that people didnít want any more diversity. They didnít want female characters out there. Thatís what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I donít know that thatís really true, but thatís what we saw in sales.


      So successful have they been sales have tanked but of course its not the fault of Marvel no, no no. Its those bigoted readers who don't like "diversity".

      Yeah, mate

      Ralph




      Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
      And of course he took a boat load of criticism for it, no matter how accurate it might be.

      I like diversity just fine, so long as it doesn't feel forced and that I'm not being preached to. A character can be gay, of a different nationality, race or religious belief. But when that's ALL he or she is, the novelty wears off fast. The impression I got was that their replacement character basically lacked depth.

      Plus Marvel went about it in such a way that removed many of its most popular characters from the playing field. Stupid short-term thinking move.

      Comment


      • #4
        Let's have a look at his back-pedaling.

        Discussed candidly by some of the retailers at the summit, we heard that some were not happy with the false abandonment of the core Marvel heroes and, contrary to what some said about characters ďnot working,Ē 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. 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.

        We have also been hearing from stores that welcome and champion our new characters and titles and want more! Theyíve invigorated their own customer base and helped them grow their stores because of it. So weíre getting both sides of the story and the only upcoming change weíre making is to ensure we donít lose focus of our core heroes.
        Well, it's a little late on that last bit. That's why you are where you are now. It's not irreversible, mind you. Nothing a little cosmic cube won't fix.

        The other aspect they're blind to is their character assassination. Not in the literal sense of Bruce Banner (though that wasn't well received) but more the Hawkeye part of that. His fans don't want to see him shoot Banner in the face. People have been pissed at the handling of Tony Stark for a while now, same with Cyclops. Combined with lame one-note replacements, eventually people are going to vote with their wallets.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
          Let's have a look at his back-pedaling.



          Well, it's a little late on that last bit. That's why you are where you are now. It's not irreversible, mind you. Nothing a little cosmic cube won't fix.

          The other aspect they're blind to is their character assassination. Not in the literal sense of Bruce Banner (though that wasn't well received) but more the Hawkeye part of that. His fans don't want to see him shoot Banner in the face. People have been pissed at the handling of Tony Stark for a while now, same with Cyclops. Combined with lame one-note replacements, eventually people are going to vote with their wallets.
          You forgot about Cap. Talk about ruining a character... I haven't bought an issue since that whole Hydra mess started.

          Comment


          • #6
            Captain Ameri-Hydra is the metaphoric symbol of everything wrong with the Marvel Universe's (rotten-to-the-)core characters.

            Captain Canuck has the right idea, though -- the same living cosmic cube (Kobik?) that creates a cancer at the core of the MU can be used to heal all the cancers infecting it all. Or turn tofu into "meat & potatoes" again, however you want to look at it.

            Diversity:
            Just because you publish a comic aimed at a specific target consumer doesn't mean that consumer will automatically come into existence (let alone into a comic shop), or at least not in enough numbers to insure continued publication. The imagined diversity of the target audience is largely theoretical until its existence can be proven*. What is known is that there is an audience that does exist, and that audience, for better or worse, is overwhelmingly dominated by male consumers aged 20-40, or somewhere thereabouts -- don't cast those aside while looking for a new girlfriend, Mr. Comicbookpublisher.

            *How do you prove it? Show me a published comic's consumer demographics that show that it's a viable number for continued publication, dominated by that "diverse" (non-traditional) audience.
            Last edited by positronic; 04-03-2017, 06:52 AM.
            DE pull list: Will Eisner's The Spirit: The Corpse Makers, ERB's The Greatest Adventure, Green Hornet '66 Meets The Spirit, PSP: Herokillers, KISS/Vampirella, Mighty Mouse

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by mdbruffy View Post
              You forgot about Cap. Talk about ruining a character... I haven't bought an issue since that whole Hydra mess started.
              Truthfully, I didn't want to mention because I didn't know where they had gone with it. When it was revealed, the Marvel defenders said to give it time, for all we knew he was in infiltration mode, that sort of thing. I recall people being massively pissed but didn't know if Marvel had soldiered on with it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Captain Canuck View Post
                Truthfully, I didn't want to mention because I didn't know where they had gone with it. When it was revealed, the Marvel defenders said to give it time, for all we knew he was in infiltration mode, that sort of thing. I recall people being massively pissed but didn't know if Marvel had soldiered on with it.
                They have. From what I've seen on Blastr, it's all leading up to another of their events- "Secret Empire". I have no intention of getting it. I'm sick of events. Just give me a good story with good artwork.

                Comment

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