Comic book fans have noticed something with Marvel over the last couple years, and it looks like it’s actually starting to hurt sales of the monthly comics. I’m not talking about how Marvel will do yearly #1 relaunches of nearly every book to pander to “investment collectors” who only buy #1s. That’s a big problem. No, I’m talking about how Marvel is now more concerned with being talked about on The View or some other stupid program where the audience doesn’t even know what a comic is.
They’re doing this by turning their long-running characters into shallow publicity stunts that are nothing more than a feeble attempt to get non-comic readers to care, when they never will read a comic in the first place.
In the last few years we’ve seen Marvel turn Thor into Jane Foster fighting cancer, eliminate the Ultimate Universe that no one cared about anymore, and most recently turn Captain America into an agent of Hydra. The only “shocking” thing Marvel has done in the last few years that actually worked was Superior Spider-Man, because it was a cool concept with a great story.
And now, Marvel is changing Iron Man from Tony Stark to be a teenaged girl named Riri Williams:
This isn’t going to spark a huge amount of sales. This is Marvel once again being completely drunk and wasted over the success of Ms. Marvel, which they’ve never been able to reproduce on the same level.
When Ms. Marvel released, it quickly became Marvel’s top selling book with the digital versions selling better than the physical. Marvel went into full pandering mode following that with Spider-Gwen for the cosplay crowd, and most recently Gwenpool. DC tried to cash in on the Ms. Marvel style with their DC You thing, which failed spectacularly.
Instead of focusing on publicity stunts to try to boost their failing sales, Marvel needs to do what DC is doing. DC Rebirth is obliterating Marvel in comic sales because it went back to the core of what people loved about DC Comics.
When Marvel eliminated the Ultimate Universe, they should’ve done a line-wide continuity reboot like DC did. Instead, they continued to just care about what USA Today or The View would publish about their comics, instead of actually caring about what their loyal readers want to read.
If Marvel continues down this path of making more publicity stunts than comics, and their sales continue to plummet in the light of DC doing things the way fans expect, the days could be numbered for traditional Marvel comic books.