by James Holbrooks
A few weeks ago, when Marvel Comics released the list of titles it would be offering for March of next year, a glaring reality — at least for one pocket of the internet — immediately came into focus. That’s because a handful of series that had caused quite a bit of controversy were conspicuously absent from Marvel’s list.
James Holbrooks lays it out in great detail at AntiMedia here.
If you’re not reading comic books these days, you’re not alone. Sales are down across the board, with some speculating about the possible collapse of the industry itself. But Marvel has been hit particularly hard, and the case could be made that much of the company’s woes can be attributed to a series of failed business strategies.
On that note, back to Marvel’s March solicitations. Absent titles — implying canceled titles — included Iceman, Hawkeye, America, Generation X, and The Unbelievable Gwenpool, among others. Most of the artists behind these canceled titles later confirmed the news on social media.
Again, if you’re not into comics, then on the surface of all this you’re probably assuming that as a business, Marvel must be ending these titles because they aren’t selling. And you’d be correct in that assumption. As the sales figures clearly show, very few people had an interest in reading these books.
But the poor sales are only one facet of the story behind the cancellations. The truly interesting part lies in what these ultimately doomed titles represented — Marvel’s push toward cultural diversity in both the artists it hires and the characters those artists produce.
The controversy that inevitably ensued can perhaps be best encapsulated by the hashtag it spawned. The phrase speaks to why Marvel’s March solicitations list, with its missing titles, was such a big deal.
To a small but highly vocal group of comic book fans on social media, the cancellation of those series foreshadowed the end of a period at Marvel in which they say social justice warriors were ruining the company.
Read the whole thing here.