I guess I should start this letter off by stating that I have never been a fan solely devoted to Marvel. I like some Marvel Comics and the movies y’all do, but my introduction to you in my life was never through either of those but rather X-Men: The Animated Series which, to this day, remains the bomb.
Quite honestly, I didn’t read much of Marvel until about 4-5 years ago when you started taking an interest in diversifying your titles and not catering to a dying industry of old white men hellbent of collecting every variant cover ever. When you started rolling out titles like Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and other such things, I started paying attention. Honestly, it was your creative teams that roped me in with people like Kelly Sue DeConnick who is not only an amazing writer but a role model to me every single day of my life.
Yet, you’ve begun to lose my interest, and subsequently, my money. Instead of bringing creators that I can follow and look up to into my life, you are giving constant work to alt-right (those are Nazi’s in case you didn’t know, Marvel) sympathizers like Nick Spencer who quite honestly isn’t that great of a writer to begin with. You’ve told us that what matters to you isn’t the diversity and great stories that Marvel had been telling, but rather the shock value publicity that you get when you allow people like Spencer to turn beloved NAZI-FIGHTING characters like Captain America into actual Nazis, which really is only a small portion of a much bigger problem.
@magencubed had a really excellent thread about all of this which you can find here.
Also, here’s another thread by C. Spike Trotman that discusses why you’re actually hurting your sales by keeping people like Spencer on your payroll.
Without making this whole letter solely about Spencer and his one-man show in which he takes actual glee from pissing people off and watching them react, let’s move onto events… your GODDAMN EVENTS.
You have some legitimately amazing stories that tackle really interesting issues and themes. I get super into them and decide that I’m going to follow a book for a while instead of trade waiting. As I feel more and more compelled to ensure that I have the book ASAP when it’s released, you start work on some ridiculous scavenger hunt event that takes over all the books I love and completely derails the QUALITY story.
Then books get shipped late because you solicit the books before they’re done and people fall behind on getting to read your comics and people just wind up picking up the whole event in trade because it’s 6 months between issues sometimes and who can remember what happened last time?
Are you deliberately trying to alienate your audiences? Constantly? This is a genuine question. What is your game plan here?
You are trying to bring in new audiences so that the medium of comics doesn’t die out when the audience you’ve catered to for so long does. That makes sense and it’s smart, but now you seem to be backpedaling on that when you let your executives like David Gabriel run their mouth and put blame for slowing sales and markets on diverse books and creators when that’s blatantly not true.
I’m not sure if it’s because of your fear of Diamond and their monopoly on comics distribution, but your sales model is outdated like CRAZY. The fact that you say that books aren’t selling based solely on single-issue sales is BANANAS.
Books live or die based on what Diamond says is selling, meanwhile the audience that buys diverse titles featuring POC characters and women etc. shop pretty much anywhere BUT comic book shops.
You see, Marvel, comic book shops – a lot of them at least – are still run by people who make anyone but straight white men uncomfortable for coming into a comic book store. These people trade wait for their comics largely or they buy their comics online through ComiXology and other places where they can pick up books without the judgment of sweaty comic book men who still think women who do anything remotely geeky are actual unicorns.
And yet, you don’t count the trades that people buy from bookstores and Amazon. You don’t count this epic amount of your profit towards how well a book is actually doing. You don’t count the single issue sales from ComiXology and other digital markets. You ONLY COUNT the books that people buy from comic book shops.
I’m sorry Marvel, but I’m not done yet… let’s take a second to talk about how hard you make it for people to get into comics. SO, let’s say a woman decides that she’s heard a lot about Kelly Sue DeConnick and her essential run on Captain Marvel. She wants to be down with the Carol Corps. “Let’s head online to ComiXology!” she thinks and she does.
She gets to the web site and types in Captain Marvel and low and behold… things come up! IT’S AN INTERNET MIRACLE. So, where to start. Vol. 1 seems like a logical place, right?
Oh… there are like, three Vol. 1’s. Ummm… okay, so like what now? WELL, I guess I’ll just give up and go read a novel or something. You know, a medium that has its shit sorted out.
You guys do this with SO MANY BOOKS. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl has two listings under the EXACT SAME TITLE on ComiXology… W-H-Y?! Are you deliberately trying to frustrate the crap out of everyone and just scare off all new readers? Because in that case, I really think it’s YOU that’s the problem and not POC and women readers.
I know it seems like I’m picking on you Marvel (and I am) but you’re not alone in having shitty things going on at your company. DC continues to employ known sexual predators to edit and have a say in the books there, but that’s another can of worms entirely and this letter is addressed specifically to you.
Marvel, you have a lot of potential to be not just a good publisher but a great publisher that puts out great content with a great team of executives leading the way, but like honestly, you need to promote people like Sana Amanat to move the company forward and not take two steps backwards. Amanat has a huge role at Marvel but there needs to be more Sana Amanat’s at Marvel replacing the people who still don’t understand how 2017 works.
I know Trump’s in office in the USA trying his best to bring back the 1900s but it doesn’t mean that our industry has to stoop to that sort of shit too.
Marvel, I’m holding you and the rest of the industry to a higher standard, to not just make better comics, but to be a better publisher and beacon of a better community.
The fans act in the ways that you deem acceptable and when you hire people like Nick Spencer to be your voice, you are sending a message that you are compliant in the bullsh*t he puts out there in the world.
We need G. Willow Wilson, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Hope Larson, Marjorie Liu, Marguerite Bennett, Mariko Tamaki, and more women like this in the industry.
You can do with getting rid of one dude who thinks that white supremacy is a totally reasonable and valid.
Stephanie – a passionate fan who wants comics to be even better