2016 felt like a very important year in media.
Oscars wasn't SO white and although the (potentially problematic) La La Land and Manchester By The Sea did very well both during the awards season and at the box office, Hidden Figures, Moonlight and Fences did just as well, if not better.
Unfortunately for Marvel, however, 2016 saw a decline in comicbook sales figures and the brand has claimed that this was due to their inclusion of diverse and female characters.
David Gabriel, the VP of Marvel, told ICv2:
What we heard was that people didn't want any more diversity. They didn't want female characters out there. 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.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.
And yeah, people did not like it.
Firstly, people pointed out that diversity is a big money-maker, people respond well to it. And secondly, the general backlash was that it's lazy to blame diverse characters when flailing sales could be attributed to so many things.
Mutant Jeff seems pretty peeved.
Even Obi-Wan had something to say.
People are concerned ineffective storylines or bad business management would mean female and other 'diverse' characters would be dumped from the Marvel family.
David Gabriel has since responded to the backlash, and explained his initial comments.
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 'not working,' 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! They've invigorated their own customer base and helped them grow their stores because of it. 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 of our core heroes.
Ok, ok, we'll let you off the hook this time Gabriel, but, next time, don't scare us like that, we want Squirrel Girl to the rescue!