Friday, April 14, 2017

Weekly Roundup | Marvel Diversity and the Ardian Syaf Controversy

Marvel revealed it will take an 18-month break from big crossover events following Secret Empire to focus on their core titles and a back to basics approach. Creative teams can tell their stories without interruption and prepare themselves with single-line events. The previous break lasted between 2000 and 2005 and started up again with House of M in 2005 following the success of DC Comics Identity Crisis in 2004.

Significant events introduced new characters and ideas which sets up for long term potential within the comic book series. The next big crossover event for Marvel will be in 2019. The reason Marvel is taking this publishing strategy is due to a slump in sales following DC Comics Rebirth while Marvel provided us with Civil War II.

Retailers stock what sells and if Marvel replaces a Fantastic Four title with Squirrel Girl and Spider-Gwen then expect sales to crumble. Marvel would rather blame customers not wanting diversity than rather accepting what customers really want. People are already prepared to purchase the trade as the first issue of a new comic rolls at Marvel. Training their customers to be trade paperback readers instead of a monthly one which allows them to be apart of a community. They need to commit and engage with an audience to build diversity and inclusion through their product line. When DC Rebirth came out people were willing to experiment with their new titles because of the quality and the buy-in which was already established. They have built the monthly readership well to avoid sales attrition which Marvel is suffering from.

While Marvel deals with its slumping sales and diversity issues, another controversy rises with Indonesia artist Ardian Syaf when he put hidden anti-Christian and anti-Semitic messages in the new X-Men Gold comic. He sighted a Quran verse 5:51 which states “O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.” His response for being caught and fired was “Marvel is owned by Disney. When Jews are offended, there is no mercy.” 

Adrian Syaf thought he could get away with the hidden messages. Right now Muslim artists are going to get vetted because an opportunity was offered and it was betrayed. You cannot blame the Trump Presidency for this. You have to take it for what it is and move forward.