Marvel Comics In Clear Violation of Their ‘Readers’ Bill of Rights’

 

Over the past few years in our culture, there’s been a lot of focus on identity politics and social justice. One of the favorite tropes that “social justice warriors” like to employ is highlighting comments of beloved figures to fight identity politics or to use against groups that they disagree with. Marvel Comics editorial pages, and even Stan Lee’s own writings from decades ago, have been used in a similar way to make comments on current and ongoing cultural divides in the realm of bigotry, racism, sexism, and so on to varying degrees of success.

 

It’s no secret that most people living today are against bigotry, racism, and sexism, but SJWs like to believe they’re “fighting nazis” when they argue with people online that they disagree with, and they’re quick to label minor insults or disagreements as being driven by one of those issues, whether it’s true or not. This technique has been used more than once in the battle between ComicsGate customers and Anti-ComicsGate activists.

 

The “Bullpen Bulletins” being referred to in the tweet above was a news and information page that appeared in most regular monthly comic books from Marvel Comics. In various incarnations since its inception in 1965 until its demise in 2001, it included items such as previews of upcoming Marvel publications (the “Mighty Marvel Checklist”), news about and profiles of Marvel staff members, occasional references to real-world trends and events, and perhaps most famously, “Stan’s Soapbox”, a monthly column written by Stan Lee himself.

 

 

 

Things were certainly different at Marvel Comics back in the early nineties. Ongoing titles such as X-Men 2099, Excalibur, Dr. Strange, and Ghost Rider were still selling rather well after being published regularly for several years. In fact, the top 50 selling comics were all selling well above 200,000 copies per month. The average cover price was $1.75. And Stan Lee was still active at Marvel Comics, contributing writings and pearls of wisdom to the number one comics publisher that he helped create.

One such literary masterpiece was to forever be known as the Marvel Readers’ Bill of Rights. I believe it’s a remarkable piece of work.

 

Does anyone else think the current Marvel staff are violating their own Bill of Rights today?

 

Here it is in its entirety, in Stan’s own words. Pay special attention to the rights below that have been emphasized in RED.

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Hi, Heroes!

This is a very solemn moment for me, and I know it will be for you, too. You see, since this is Marvel’s 30th Anniversary, our editorial staff felt now would be the perfect time to present one of the most momentous documents we’ve ever printed! Think of this as Marvel’s New Year’s gift to you – and to all mankind!

The Marvel Readers’ Bill of Rights
preamble

All Marvelites are created equal. Your Bullpen will never favor one group of readers over another. Therefore, each and every one of you is irrevocably granted these inalienable rights:

1: The right to an unlimited variety of reading entertainment.
2: The right to carefully-crafted stories that give you a fighting chance to understand what’s going on when you plunk down your money.
3: The right to comment about every Marvel tale you read and to know that each of our editors values your opinion.
4. The right to buy only the titles that interest you, and to shun any title that fails to entertain you.
5. The right to fearlessly assemble in public to discuss Marvel’s comics, characters, and creators.
6. The right to address all Marvel editors and creative people by their first names.
7. The right to be told what is currently happening in Marvel’s mags and what is being planned for the future.
8. The right to practice scripting and drawing our Marvel characters for your own pleasure and amusement.
9. The right to submit your best work to Marvel for consideration and know that the time and talent you have invested will be given the attention it deserves.
10. The right to expect Marvel always to maintain a dedication to quality, a commitment to decency, and a sense of humor about everything we do.

So be it! No mere words of mine can add to the glory and grandeur of those ten immortal declarations, those ten pillars of wisdom which shall inspire the mighty world of Marvel now and evermore!

Excelsior!

The Marvel Readers’ Bill of Rights as it appeared when it was established in March of 1993 in most Marvel Comics

Wow.

That could’ve been written by most of the people who have been complaining about current-day Marvel Comics, from critiquing the sort of output they’re producing to the unsavory treatment many of their creators regularly show to the fans and their online critics.

 

Let it be known that we love Stan Lee.

Over the years, many people have disparaged the way Stan may have dealt with comic creators, but I’ve always admired his ability to promote comics like no one else. Sadly, we don’t have anyone able to fill his shoes today.

May he rest in peace.

Let’s not be selective about which of Stan’s columns are pertinent today. If you can use his words as a cudgel to enforce your viewpoints and support your narrative regarding cultural debates and topics, then all of the man’s words should be adhered to.

No matter where you stand, hopefully Marvel will correct this sort of recent behavior we’ve seen demonstrated by Marvel staffers that is in CLEAR violation of the above Marvel Readers’ Bill of Rights.

Is this a violation of right #3 or right #10?

Chris Braly

I'm a collector, a speculator, and one opinionated, based geek. My friends call me Braly, but those who know me within the hobby generally refer to me as Bralinator. I can be heard monthly on the Comic Book Page Previews Spotlight podcast with several other comic book nerds.