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Old 03-16-2019, 10:00 PM   #43
JohnMc
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Originally Posted by Star-Lantern View Post
As a diverse person who's into diversity in escapist fiction, and makes escapist fiction with diverse heroes, my view is...

Do identity politics sell comics? Hmm... they can. They don't always, but sometimes they do. It might not sound like a good answer, but it's not a black and white situation.

It's REALLY difficult to get new people into mainstream comics, because the way they're distributed, sold, and the way the big companies structure them from a narrative perspective makes them extremely inaccessible to potential new fans.

What essentially happened with Marvel comics is the company saw it wasn't getting near enough new fans, and did something to try to remedy that with its so-called "SJW" books, by trying to entice different demographics. One of the big problems, though, is that Marvel didn't change anything with its distribution, promotion, or overall business model. This led to these "SJW" books not reaching many people who may have been intrigued by them, and instead going out to the same audience that Marvel has had for decades, many of whom had no interest in those products.

Team that with other bad decisions, like introducing all these characters AT ONCE, having many of them usurp popular characters that the tried and true audience loves, Marvel not focusing on other popular concepts like Fantastic Four and X-Men, and the perhaps questionable quality and subject matter of the books, and you've got a mess on your hands. So, it wasn't really just one thing (diverse characters), that put Marvel in the less than great situation it got into. What it really was was a series of bad decisions, lack of foresight, and being in an incredibly difficult to penetrate market.

Regardless of the result, I do applaud Marvel for trying to expand its audience, though, instead of being content with holding on to the old fans, which is just another path to disaster. That's what leads to all the events, the tiring reboots, relaunches and so on. Comics companies have to keep pulling dumb gimmicks to get the attention of the same old fans who lose attention quickly.

I don't agree with replacing popular white heroes with minorities, especially in this day and age. In the long run, I think that can lead to too many problems, like fan wars and so on.

Now, diversity in general DOES sell, though!
I think we're seeing that with things like how Luke Cage broke Netflix, because too many people were watching it, and how the Black Panther movie is tracking. The Black Lightning show is also doing quite well. It's really really telling how a Black Lightning comic won't sell well, but a show will. The same thing happened with Static Shock. The comics market is really tough to penetrate. It's not just about diverse characters, though, it's just anything that hasn't been a tried and true seller for decades will usually be met with apathy from comics readers. This is essentially due, again, to comics hardly getting any new fans, and having a relatively very limited number of readers.
The diversity characters were executed poorly. They were all so generic that you could swap one out for the other and the story would lose nothing. They were all geniuses. All down with the sciences. Everybody loves them and constantly fawns over them. No weaknesses or no flaws. Always takes down their enemies easily. Superior to their predecessors [especially if predecessor was a white man] Does any of this sound like a winning formula? Hell No. This would fail regardless of what race or gender the character was. No tension, no lessons to be learned by the main characters leaves the reader with very little incentive to emotionally and financially invest in a character. The writers inserting their politics in the books and practically insulting the readers didn't help either.
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