Marvel Comics experienced declining sales in 2016, a trend concerning for the entire industry. David Gabriel, a VP of Sales at Marvel, gave an interview about the slump wherein he proposed that Marvel’s recent attempts to diversify its storytelling and put more female characters front and center might be at fault for the downturn. Suggesting consumer disinterest in these efforts, he said:
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.
Later reaching out to clarify his comments, Gabriel noted that Marvel has no intention of abandoning many of its more recent titles and heroes. He explained, “contrary to what some said about characters ‘not working,’ the sticking factor and popularity for a majority of these new titles and characters like Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, The Mighty Thor, Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales, and Moon Girl, continue to prove that our fans and retailers ARE excited about these new heroes. And let me be clear, our new heroes are not going anywhere!” Despite Marvel’s commitment to its “new heroes,” however, Gabriel also revealed Marvel’s renewed plans to “to ensure we don’t lose focus of our core heroes.” One can only wonder what changes lie in store for fascist Captain America next.