I regret to observe that Marvel decides to postpone its suicide.
Every year, the LGBTQ+ advocacy group GLAAD recognizes and awards a selection of television shows, films, and books that feature powerful portrayals of queer people. This year, a number of Marvel’s comics were recognized for the contributions they’ve made to queer culture, but those nominations were bittersweet for one incredibly disappointing reason: They’ve all been cancelled.
America (from Gabby Rivera and Joe Quinones), Black Panther: World of Wakanda (Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yona Harvey, Alitha E. Martinez, and Afua Richardson), and Iceman (Sina Grace, Alessandro Vitti, and Robert Gill) have each been nominated for GLAAD’s 2018 Outstanding Comic Book category, and with good reason. Over the course of their respective arcs, each series explored various parts of the queer experience in ways that, frankly, are new for comics. Iceman’s dug into Bobby Drake’s coming out as a gay man later in life; America’s focused on what it’s like to be a queer immigrant going to college for the first time; and World of Wakanda delved into the complicated intimate lives of the Dora Milaje.
But all of these books recently met their ends, as so many new, progressive comic books do these days. Low sales led to their cancellation just as an entirely new audience was sure to hear about the books, specifically because of their being nominated for GLAAD awards and other honors.
Note to self: in the unlikely event GLAAD offers to recognize or award any Arkhaven comic, decline the honor.
The ridiculous thing about trying to appeal to the LGBLT-whatever crowd is that it simply isn’t very big. And since the world of comics isn’t all that big either, you’re putting yourself in the unenviable position of selling to a fraction of a fraction. That might work for a small indy publisher, but it’s not going to be viable for the market leaders.
Argue about inclusiveness all you like, celebrate diversity and tolerance and progress if you are so inclined, but at the end of the day, your core market is always going to determine the extent of your sales potential. And since an ever-increasing number of people are sick to death of SJWs, that’s why I’m quite confident that openly anti-SJW material is going to prove to be considerably more popular than anyone expects, be it a business book, a comic book, or a beer-holder.
Fortunately, I’m confident that DC is going to more than make up for Marvel’s halting baby steps away from the precipice.