Marvel has always had a great track record of marketing their superhero characters to specific demographics, making them the “Juggernaut” they are today.
And they have always prided themselves on their success. It’s obvious.
Nearly every movie they touch makes a billion dollars or more in the box office and that doesn’t include the ancillary markets, merchandise, and actual comic books they mass-produce.
But Marvel’s latest comic book series was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and it’s since forced them to reconsider the series all together. Additionally, it will undoubtedly change how Marvel moves forward with their ideas, because readers were furious with the blunt and politically charged theme.
The Daily Caller reports:
“Marvel decided to cancel a Black Lives Matter-inspired comic series because of its poor sales. Ta-Nehisi Coates, a Black Panther & The Crew series writer, announced Friday that the series would be coming to an end after six issues because it wasn’t selling well.
While the series only has two issues out so far, Coates said the series would release another four issues to finish the current story line.
Black Panther & The Crew focuses on the title character who is joined by other black superheroes like Storm, Luke Cage and Manifold. Set in Harlem, the superheroes try to fight police brutality in a city dominated by robotic cops.
‘The Crew was an opportunity to get inside them as black people,’ Coates said about the comic book series to The Verge.”
Summarizing the story more specifically, the majority-black superhero clan has one white person in the “crew” who is a Kung Fu hero, Iron Fist.
The crew seeks justice for the death of a character, Ezra Keith, a black civil rights activist who died in police custody.
Doesn’t that sound familiar? Did they really have to get political?
When people realized exactly where they were going with the theme, readers became really upset.
“Naturally, the liberal comics community is upset that Marvel has canceled the Black Lives Matter-centric title. Gawker site Gizmodo complained that Marvel spent no resources advertising or pushing the comic on fans. The site also proclaimed the cancellation ‘keenly disappointing.’
The cancellation of Black Panther & The Crew comes shortly after a Marvel executive noted during an industry event that comics focused specifically on featuring diverse characters are not selling well.
Speaking at a Marvel retailer summit at the end of March, David Gabriel, Marvel’s vice president of sales, said the company had heard that customers ‘didn’t want’ any more diverse characters.
‘I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales,’ Gabriel said. ‘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.’
The executive made his comments based on recent sales figures but later tried to roll it back after a backlash in the liberal comic book community slammed him as racist.
Gabriel later noted that Marvel is still ‘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.’
The cancellation also comes ahead of Marvel’s next big-screen adaptation of the Black Panther character. Actor Chadwick Boseman will play the character in Marvel’s Black Panther, due out in February 2018.”
Will this hurt Marvel in the long run? Of course not.
But they should be more careful about perpetuating a politically charged message to their readers, since most of them are smart enough to see right through the propaganda.