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Old 10-05-2017, 12:08 PM   #1
ZariusTwo
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Retailers Sound Off At Marvel NYCC Retailer Panel

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An exchange between direct market retailers and Marvel Comics editors became heated in the closing minutes of Marvel’s Retailer-Only panel at New York Comic Con 2017, starting after a unidentified retailer expressed concern about Marvel’s lenticular variants not selling well in his store.

Marvel executive editors Tom Brevoort and Nick Lowe fielded the question, thanking the obviously upset retailer for his feedback. However, the retailer cut Lowe short to express his distaste for Marvel’s recent trend of replacing or altering its existing characters.

The retailer speficially cited examples such as characters that don’t reflect the ethnicity, gender, or sexuality of their predecessors – specifically expressing his distaste for Iceman “kissing other men,” and Thor “becoming a woman.” The retailer’s complaints sparked an outcry among the other retailers present in the room, some echoing his frustration, with multiple attendees raising their voices to speak over each other.


The original speaker called for “creating new characters and not messing with the old guys. The old guys are solid,” while a second said that Marvel has “never replaced its characters like this.”

Lowe pointed out that the changing nature of the identities of characters was engrained in Marvel’s history, pointing out examples from James Rhodes to Frog Thor. The retailer responded that Marvel has “never replaced them all at once before,” going on to say that he has had Marvel Cinematic Universe fans come into his store to find Avengers comic books only to leave “when they see that Thor is a woman and Captain America is a black man.”

Lowe reiterated that Marvel is bringing many of its recently-absent characters including Steve Rogers back to the forefront in its “Legacy” initiative, and that Marvel would continue to focus on creating characters and stories that reflect “the world outside your window,” a longtime Marvel adage. He also stated that Marvel will continue to publish characters that fans of all backgrounds can connect to, before closing the panel at the planned time.

This seemed to do little to calm down the increasingly heated retailers, who congregated around Marvel Senior Vice President of Marketing David Gabriel in the hall outside the panel, continuing to vociferously express their frustration and anger over these issues.
https://www.newsarama.com/36750-reta...ycc-panel.html
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Old 10-05-2017, 12:15 PM   #2
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This is frustrating to read. Only because I think Marvel Comics has a TON of problems, but the new characters are not the problem. Focus on less events, more accomplished creators, and consistent artists.
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Old 10-05-2017, 12:27 PM   #3
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good for them.

gender switching, race switching and orientation switching is nothing but a cowards way out to make it seem like they are addressing the problem that their current audience is not being 'represented'.

but, if the people they are trying to represent HATE the changes as much as the 'old' audience....you'd think they'd learn their lesson and not mess with things as much. but no, gotta appear 'progressive'..
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Old 10-05-2017, 12:32 PM   #4
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He's got a point, only so far as it pertains to Marvel not just having two universes to choose from.

The usual ongoing title, and then something that appeals to the movie line.

But...people walked out because they didn't recognize Thor on the cover of the Thor ongoing?
How bad is this guy at his job?
Has he no back issues to offer? No trades of previous stories?

Was he just sitting on his hands watching?
I mean seriously, how terrible at retail do you have to be to NOT sell something to someone looking specifically to buy that thing?
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Old 10-05-2017, 02:20 PM   #5
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I like that this has been a thing, most of them replaced, literally for a couple years now and they're bringing it up now, when Marvel is in the process of switching them back to the originals. Most of these characters have been in the roles for three years now, or more depending on which one. Things were fine until this last year. Yeah, I think the problem lies elsewhere.

Such as, the constant relaunches and constant events finally screwing them over, like most people predicted. Constant relaunches breaks the collector habit and just makes things confusing if there are too many in a short span. New number ones mean nothing if you're in a sea of new number ones. Same for fresh starts. Captain Marvel had three relaunches under the same writer. It's not fair, and a friend of mine swears up and down those books are great, but I've looked at that and figured "why bother". If you use the same trick too much in a short period of time, it's going to stop working.

As for events, they had five in the span of the last year. Two large scale in Civil War II and Secret Empire, three small in Avengers Standoff, X-Men vs Inhumans and Monsters Unleashed. Civil War II ended and Monsters Unleashed started, like, the next month. They've had FIVE big linewide events in the last three years; Original Sin, AXIS, Secret Wars, Civil War II and Secret Empire.

Marvels shift to a constant event cycle just caught up with them and people got sick of the whole song and dance.

All that said, I do think the replacement eras don't do the characters replacing the originals the favors Marvel thinks it does. If you define a new character by replacing another, what do they do when the old one comes back? Most don't have a niche or prior role to fit into. Riri Williams isn't going to have much to do other than be a part of the "family" when Tony Stark returns. What is Amadeus Cho going to do when Bruce Banner inevitably returns with his bland ass personality and returns as the one true Hulk? I'd keep Amadeus as the main Hulk, by the way. I think Banner's kind of played out and I don't like the characters he's become in recent years.

It only works out or really gives much of a rub when the character already existed and has a popular role to go back to. Otherwise, you're left with "well, we created this character to be _____ for a couple years, now they're not... what now?" The problem is not thinking it through, not the skin color or gender of the temporary mantle holder. I know it's meant to get around the problem of "readers rarely try the books of new heroes", but it just creates new problems that are even harder to fix.

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Originally Posted by plastroncafe View Post
But...people walked out because they didn't recognize Thor on the cover of the Thor ongoing?
How bad is this guy at his job?
Has he no back issues to offer? No trades of previous stories?

Was he just sitting on his hands watching?
I mean seriously, how terrible at retail do you have to be to NOT sell something to someone looking specifically to buy that thing?
Most comic shops are f***ing terrible, from the employees to the owners, and that's why. Shops have a reputation and, sadly, they frequently live up to it. A quick search of the internet will show a lot of horror stories from prospective new readers who did not feel comfortable or welcome inside the shops.

I've been heavy into the hobby for over ten years and read scattered comics before that. Despite that, I don't do the whole "singles" thing regularly and stuck mainly with trade paperbacks near from the start. There are reasons.

There are good comic shops, some great even, and I've seen stories of ones that go above and beyond, but they sadly do not seem to be the norm.
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:48 PM   #6
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but, if the people they are trying to represent HATE the changes as much as the 'old' audience....you'd think they'd learn their lesson and not mess with things as much. but no, gotta appear 'progressive'..
But the new fans that Marvel has courted recently with their "diversity" characters don't hate the changes. That's the problem.

Many of the new diversity characters have been commercial hits digitally and/or in trade format which not only nets Marvel a lot more money but also since this seems to be future of comics then it's important for Marvel to gain even stronger foot holds in these outlets.

Not all of the new diversity characters have been hits mind you, a few have have very obviously flopped and some have achieved pretty middling results. Also these new mediums carry their own unique hurdles that Marvel has yet to work out; for example how to get fans that eating up Ms Marvel digitally or Squirrel Girl in trade format to buy other Marvel books? Traditional lines of thinking is to put them on teams but that doesn't seem to work quite as well for these kinds of characters.

It shouldn't be a surprise that demographics that buy their comics via direct market skew much more to the "classic" characters but direct market retailers are going to have to accept that they are not the only game in town anymore. It's not like there are no legitimate grievances that they can bring to Marvel about their business practices but when a retailer instantly jumps to complaining about "homos" and "****ing females" they've betrayed what their real problem is.

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Marvels shift to a constant event cycle just caught up with them and people got sick of the whole song and dance.
There's some truth to this but commercially even the lesser selling events like Civil War II still ended up selling. I can't see the cycle of events and relaunches ending until it stops making them money, also bare in mind that the last time Marvel eased off events and went with a more classic roster of heroes they were unhappy with the results. Not to mention fans have been hyping up DC's Rebirth (a line wide relaunch with mini and major events) and pestering Marvel to follow their lead which suggests to me that traditional fans aren't necessarily against all this if it panders to them hard. I guarantee you Hydra Cap story line and Secret Empire would not have gotten anywhere near as much hate if it wasn't for Sam Wilson sharing the role of Captain America and the paranoid belief that they were going to permanently disgrace Steve Rogers to boost up Sam.

Of course this could (and should) have been brought up to Marvel but they missed that opportunity to complain loudly about too many minorities. Shows where their priorities are.

Last edited by Galactus; 10-05-2017 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:59 PM   #7
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And I'd be willing to bet that they're hits digitally because people don't want to go into stores like the one that guy owns to buy them from him.
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:45 PM   #8
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Those misogynist cisgendered white retailers are obviously at FAULT, how dare they be upset at the REAL world out there, thank god for Marvel who knows what's up. The lower sales are obviously because of other reasons as the NEW readers who are much better than those DEPLORABLE ones they had before can't compare to the AMAZING digital sales that Marvel clearly has on digital. Any woes that Marvel comics has is clearly NOT because of this, and if all the titles get cancelled and comics are gone forever it's because those NASTY comic book nerds of the old guard didn't let the AWESOME diversity heroes succeed.
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:47 PM   #9
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There's some truth to this but commercially even the lesser selling events like Civil War II still ended up selling. I can't see the cycle of events and relaunches ending until it stops making them money, also bare in mind that the last time Marvel eased off events and went with a more classic roster of heroes they were unhappy with the results.
It's hard to tell how well they've really been doing, because the whispers going around suggest Marvel's been inflating their sales recently through over-shipping. Regardless, they've been struggling and it's no lie to say the events are not selling what they used to. Same for relaunches. Use a trick too many times and everyone stops caring. Sure, the event itself might do fine, but if the rest of the line is collapsing around it, it doesn't mean much. It's still just one book.

Anyway, eventually there's a point where the bottom falls out and it feels like they hit it. I think they know it, too. They've said they're putting a moratorium on events for at least a year and a half. We'll see if they stick to it.

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Not to mention fans have been hyping up DC's Rebirth (a line wide relaunch with mini and major events) and pestering Marvel to follow their lead which suggests to me that traditional fans aren't necessarily against all this if it panders to them hard.
I cut DC some slack, because they've been good about events and such for a long time. They're often super contained, usually have their own minis and one shots and aren't intrusive. Plus they're not as often. Dark Knights: Metal is the first event since Convergence, so a solid two years between them (any Rebirth things have been small crossovers between a couple titles and Justice League vs Suicide Squad, which was really more of a miniseries than anything resembling an event). I feel like DC saw the writing on the wall years ago and pulled back. They seem to stick to a two year cycle, which isn't bad, I think, and gives the line room to breathe in between, especially these days with double shipping.

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I guarantee you Hydra Cap story line and Secret Empire would not have gotten anywhere near as much hate if it wasn't for Sam Wilson sharing the role of Captain America and the paranoid belief that they were going to permanently disgrace Steve Rogers to boost up Sam.
Maybe for some, but I think there was more to it than that. In a time when Neo Nazi's were celebrating and trying to get big marches together, it was super uncomfortable to see the man who represents the country, loves it, works in its interests and wears the flag fall into fascism. Which is not really their fault, it was a real life thing making it cringeworthy, but geez, that timing.

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Any woes that Marvel comics has is clearly NOT because of this, and if all the titles get cancelled and comics are gone forever it's because those NASTY comic book nerds of the old guard didn't let the AWESOME diversity heroes succeed.
I don't know about how the replacements have fared and everybody can have their arguments over the success or failure all they want, but it must be pointed out that they can't rely on the old guard forever. They can't. The market has been shrinking for a long time because they've focused solely on them and haven't added new readers. Sooner or later, the old guard are going to get too old and fall out of the hobby for one reason or another, or die, and comics will need people to replace them, or it will disappear. If their current efforts haven't worked out, try something else, I guess, but retreating to a comfort zone is going to be dangerous for them eventually.
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:10 PM   #10
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Maybe for some, but I think there was more to it than that. In a time when Neo Nazi's were celebrating and trying to get big marches together, it was super uncomfortable to see the man who represents the country, loves it, works in its interests and wears the flag fall into fascism. Which is not really their fault, it was a real life thing making it cringeworthy, but geez, that timing.
Yeah, this was the biggest complaint from the part of the web I spend the most time in.
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Old 10-06-2017, 07:43 AM   #11
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I don't know about how the replacements have fared and everybody can have their arguments over the success or failure all they want, but it must be pointed out that they can't rely on the old guard forever. They can't. The market has been shrinking for a long time because they've focused solely on them and haven't added new readers. Sooner or later, the old guard are going to get too old and fall out of the hobby for one reason or another, or die, and comics will need people to replace them, or it will disappear. If their current efforts haven't worked out, try something else, I guess, but retreating to a comfort zone is going to be dangerous for them eventually.
while i agree that you can't rely on old fans forever, people can smell a stunt a mile away. and if it has bad writing to boot, people will avoid it a mile away.

what the comic industry needs right now is people who can tell good stories, and leave their personal virtue signaling at the door.

We need more static shocks and less Riri's.

Digital sales actually make it EASIER to check out new books, I think. Makes it feel like less of a wasted purchase if you didn't wind up liking it.

I check out an issue of the Superwoman comic with lois lane, just to see how they'd handle it(because I like the idea of lois getting powers), and i probably never would have bought that in the store.
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