Industry NewsMovie NewsComic Books

Marvel Comic Yanked, Artists Shun Red States

You’d think business would be booming at Team Marvel.

The comic book giant is the recognized leader in the superhero film world. Both critics and fans cheer on every new Marvel Studios outing. They even made the micro wonders of 2015’s “Ant Man” and a new, cracker jack franchise.


What better promotion for your titles than having two-hour commercials hitting theaters several times a year? That’s not to mention the hearty realm of home video. MCU movies like “Doctor Strange” and  “Captain America: Civil War” is available for streaming on Netflix.

That’s synergy with a capital “S.” (sorry, Superman). And yet comic book sales are down at Marvel HQ

That isn’t the whole story.

Diversity on Steroids?

The Marvel universe has embraced diversity with a passion. And it doesn’t mean a glut of new characters who better represent the culture’s ethnic and gender diversity. The comic book company radically transformed its biggest stars.

Iron Man is now a black teenage girl. Thor is a woman. Captain America is black. Ms. Marvel is a Muslim teenage girl.

And then there’s the company’s partisan storytelling, Marvel tweaked the classic villain Modok to look and sound like Donald Trump. One “Captain America” story cast anti-immigration foes as the villains.

Could all of the above be impacting sales? It’s what Marvel’s VP of Sales David Gabriel confessed during an interview with

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.

Gabriel later backpedaled. A nod, perhaps, to current diversity groupthink?

Either way, the company’s perceived biases may be intensifying. One veteran Marvel contributor vowed not to make new comic event appearances in states that voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. That echoed a similar promise by Mexican Marvel artist Humberto Ramos.

It Gets Worse

This week’s Marvel news is even more bizarre, Marvel just yanked a new comic book from the shelves thanks to the hidden messages left by its illustrator. Muslim Marvel artist Ardian Syaf slipped Koranic messages into the panels of a recent “X-Men Gold No. 1” title.

They were perceived as intolerant by some fans, who complained to Marvel about what they called “anti-Christian and anti-Jewish messages”.

The Marvel suits likely had no idea most of the messages were there in the first place. Syaf inserted a few in a cunning fashion. Readers probably missed them, too.

Not anymore.

Other statements were more obvious.

In the book, Jewish X-Men character Kitty Pryde is seen talking to a crowd, with the “Jew” portion of the word “Jewellery” over her head, and the numbers 212 and 51 in the background.

The number 212 is often used as a reference to the Muslim protest against the Christian governor of Jakarta on 2 December 2016, which the artist admitted on his Facebook page to draw inspiration from.

UPDATE: Marvel fired Syaf shortly after learning about the “surprise” panels.

Other comic-related events are getting political, too. Consider the placard for the upcoming East Coast Comicon. The two-day event, to be held in Secaucus, N.J., features an advertisement that reads like a Bernie Sanders rally poster.

“It’s a constant battle to defend liberty…” one rat-like figure on the poster cries. A snake wrapped around the Statue of Liberty features the following phrases: “homophobia … intolerance … racism … homophobia … voter suppression … treasonous acts.”

It might as well use the hashtag #resistance.

RELATED: Could Marvel, DC Changes Go Too Far?

And this is meant as a mainstream comic book extravaganza featuring Perez, Marvel scribe Marv Wolfman and other elite comic book talents.

Tapping the Brakes

Perhaps Marvel is already reconsidering its political bent. shared a February chat with “X-Men” scribe Mark Guggenheim who said the company was looking to avoid the heavy partisanship that infected recent titles. Why? Audiences had had enough.

There has also been reaction from some fan communities and retailers to these kind of stories as having no place in superhero comics, despite all the many examples that have preceded it. Maybe it’s a little more obvious now? Maybe everyone is interpreting everything politically? Maybe fans wish for a time when they didn’t realise their superhero comics had political elements?

Either way, Marvel Comics has been a focal point for this kind of discussion. And last week’s Marvel creative summit I am told by well connected sources who have proved themselves in that past there was more of a focus on what DC Comics internally called “meat and potatoes” comics that preceded their doubling down on the popular characters and bringing back old favourite takes with DC Rebirth.

One reason the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) crushes the competition is its lack of overt partisanship. That doesn’t mean the films are dull or without thoughtful subplots. Even “Captain America: Civil War” avoided partisan sniping while dealing with fictionalized tangents on real debates. The first “Iron Man” film from 2008 involved with the proliferation of military weapons across the globe.

Once again, it focused on the issues, not ideological talking points.

RELATED: Critic v Critic: Which Superhero Film Rules?

It isn’t easy to thread those cultural needles. It can be done, though, and the results speak for themselves. The Marvel movies cost plenty, and they demand a sizable return on investment.

They almost always get it.

Marvel Comics aren’t nearly as expensive to produce, of course. The brand itself has a significant value, though, and each partisan body blow leaves a mark.

Photo credit: JD Hancock via / CC BY


  1. Instead of creating new characters, the lazy SJW’s are co-opting canon to force their views on the audience. Will they ever learn you can’t force people to agree with you?

  2. Iron Man is now a black teenage girl. Thor is a woman. Captain America is black. Ms. Marvel is a Muslim teenage girl.

    I don’t read comic books, but they’re kidding, right?

  3. I used to spend about a hundred bucks a month on comic books. That’s over a grand a year.

    I will never buy another comic book again as long as I live, so help me God.

    I’m sick to death of the anti-white, anti-male anti-American prejudice from the comic book companies. Who the F*CK do they think reads comic books? Muslim women? What morons.

  4. “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.”

    They need to fire this guy. This is the problem, right here. That is what they HEARD.
    Not that the fans didn’t want their favorite characters destroyed and changed for arbitrary reasons.

    Female characters? MAKE NEW ONES! Give EXISTING female characters the stage.
    The Black Widow is a favorite. She didn’t even make the toy line up. Give her a movie. Start a comic.

    Stop being lazy and “progressive.” Give us good stories that can be followed in ONE, or at MOST, TWO series. Stop forcing customers to jump through 5 or 6 series on the hope that that will start reading that series too.
    And lower the price.
    Page count has dropped.
    The plots are not nothing more than fight scenes. No story development in one book.
    And the art looks horrible, compared to the art of previous artists.

    The market is NOT 20 somethings with cash.
    The market is teen boys. Unless you capture that market again, the comics industry will go away.

  5. I can’t find the name of the movie now, but there as a film about a playhouse director during WW II, maybe in Germany, who was directed by the Nazi’s to get rid of all his gay and Jewish employees and actors. He response was spot on:
    “Let’s face it. Without ?ueers and Jews, thee wouldn’t be any theater.”

    BTW, if you read Commies by Ronald Radosh, you will find that most of the prominent leftists are non-religious Jews. Sounds like Hollywood. And, yes, they routinely infiltrate and subvert existing organizations.

  6. I swore off of Marvel stuff entirely and DC has been pushing me with some of their writers smashing you over the head with their politics and using their titles as a soapbox for their leftwing nonsense.

    I have no issue with “diversity”, just keep the classics as the classics and stop trying to legitimize non-white characters by swapping them into roles that are legendary.

    I’m Asian, a minority in the US, and I don’t want to see an Asian Batman that I can “Relate” to. If you have to have an Asian character in there, just make a new original character and make me like the character BECAUSE OF THEIR MERITS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS and don’t push their damn gender or racial background on me. Stop using characters are political statements. The writers/artists doing this are insulting the legacy of these long-lived characters.

  7. This complete revamping of the core characters was done in a dumb way. Iron man takes a serious pounding even with the suit. With no disrespect to female MMA fighters takes a lot out of you. Sorry men are biologically built to handle that pounding better. In the Next Avengers Thor replaces Odin and his daughter gets the job. Since Asgardians aren’t human that’s where you stick your teenage girl but don’t give her the hammer. Iron Man and Captain America black no problem. Two things you don’t do is put sexuality and religion into comics so how about Ms Marvel as a hispanic.

  8. Marvel specifically has always tiled left, but was run by guys who had to put food on the table and make bank at the end of the day. Therefore when they chose to make commentary, they did it in passing and very indirectly (Stan’s words, not mine). The X-men was meant as an allegory for the Civil Rights Movement, which is also fine. While a bit more open about addressing racism and such, they also made certain they named no Parties or actual real people while making the allegory. Nowadays…well look up thread at some of the images and you can see.
    The blatant attempts at politicking have been going on for about the last decade and tilted far too hard in one direction for people not to notice. And the SocJus crowd are very fond of sticking contemporary politics into every medium they can find. Really, they have become as annoying, irritating, and religiously driven as the Religious Right back in the 80’s.
    Many people these days are attempting to get away from politics. But the now Toxic SocJus crowd won’t let that happen. So they are voting with their dollars and making the complaints to the right people. People are tired of having contemporary politics shoved into their escapism. Because it’s become tiresome, grating, and the SocJus crowd really does not want to understand they are alienating people form their cause by being as obnoxious as they are.
    Marvel cannot afford contemporary politics mentioned in it’s products anymore and they know it. Time to let it rest.

  9. Just goes to show their own lack of depth in knowing what diversity is – they play mix & match w/ established characters & fail to recognize the bread & butter of ALL fiction – crafting your characters narrative wholly & honestly.

    One could write a compelling story about a Ham Sandwich if they were creative enough. But The SJW’s are not in it for the aethestics – they are in it to push a narrative & enlist fellow shallow thinkers to their ideological circle jerk.

    Craft some compelling characters Lizbeth Slanders ( Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo) & watch the stampede or toss another perceived victim class behind a famous logo or costume & watch the drain pipe

    1. Not in the slightest; try reading Patsy Walker or Squirrel Girl some time. Plenty of fun story alongside natural inclusivity.

  10. Its not the female characters, who wouldn’t rather look at pretty women rather than muscular dudes? Its the stupid liberal politics. You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out a guy wearing the flag is probably conservative, and attracts patriotic readers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button