I was skimming Marvel’s website and one commenter felt the need to remind Marvel that comics that focus on women and “ethnic minorities” don’t sell as well. Now, I don’t have data on this, but do we actually know that? I’m wagering that is anecdotal. However, sentiments like this hurt the comic industry. Just a reminder that some of the best-selling movies in the last few years have centered on women including Maleficent, The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent, The Heat, Frozen, Hunger Games, and Gravity. Sure, I only found 7 out of the 30 top grossing in the past two years, but keep in mind media is still telling us entertainment can’t focus on women. Films starring people of color is much bleaker. Of course, we’re still fighting racism and sexism (not mutually exclusive). I think it is time, we grabbed our peers and provided the metaphorical “come to Jesus moment” for which I’ve provided the key points:
• Women and people of color are huge untapped markets. I cannot underestimate the importance here as print media slowly dies. Sure, we’re making movies, but the backlash will come; it always does.
• People want to see themselves reflected back, i.e. maybe we can stop assuming the white, male, cis perspective is the human perspective.
• Using people who identify with traditionally marginalized groups brings the perspectives and concerns of those groups to the masses. Of course, as someone on Twitter pointed out, the white man experience will remain intact. After all, white men are still writing the comics.
• NEW STORIES! I can’t even with the number of comics Wolverine and Psylocke are in. Look, I loved Rogue (I’m not over it!), but I need something new even if it means not bringing her back. I don’t want another Phoenix story. Peter Parker can’t be 16 forever. And we’ve already regenerated Steve Rogers. We got to let it go. I keep thinking about soap operas (don’t kid yourself there is a lot of overlap here); the actors age and leave the shows. We don’t do that in comics, which forces a house cleaning like we saw with House of M.
It is time friends, time to reflect diversity in leading titles from the comic companies. Below is a Twitter conversation between Gail Simone and some random ignorant dude. I think if you’re on the fence about change, this should push you over onto our side.
From Twitter user ThatzRandum
“@GailSimone Gail I like your writing. But c’mon. Thor is the SON of Oden. Its a mythology that everyone knows. Thor is not a chick, period.”
“@GailSimone Disney has ruined Marvel print. And the writers and artists r letting it happen so they can get a paycheck. Sad to see.”
And Gail’s pithy response:
“@ThatzRandum I am sorry, I guess I forgot all that mythology where he was a doctor with a cane.”
Kari O’Donnell goes to class, does research and watches Netflix. She is very funny even for someone who spends far too much time on Twitter.