NYCC: Marvel’s Retailer-Only Panel Erupts into Anti-Diversity Chaos

Retailer blames “blacks,” homos” and “freaking females” for the recent slump in sales.

Marvel hosted a retailer’s-only panel at New York Comic Con yesterday. The panel was part of the Diamond Distributors’ breakfast event, and it started harmlessly enough with Marvel’s panel — consisting of Tom Brevoort, Nick Lowe, Christina Hanigan and Charles Soule — making a series of announcements regarding upcoming titles an events. But when it came time to take questions from the crowd, the event turned ugly.

After answering questions regarding issue numbering, their ability to put out a weekly comic on time and making the Marvel Universe feel more interconnected; the event went off the rails.

Bleeding Cool gives us the play-by-play:

Then one retailer got lots of applause for objecting to the ordering process for the Marvel Lenticular covers, and got lots of applause, Bleeding Cool has covered repeatedly objections to the way Marvel Comics have handled this.

But he kept going with his objections and soon he was bringing up the fact that Marvel now had female versions of characters instead of the males, with echoing shouts from the crowd of retailers about not changing all the characters all at once – which is something I have also heard Marvel executives themselves echo. But things were getting tense.

Two older retailers started raising their voices arguing about diversity and how it does not work. The words “black”, “homo” and “freaking females” were used multiple times, at which point other retailers started to boo those retailers and the room started to turn on itself. Marvel editor Nick Lowe tried to get calm by saying that Marvel try and they tell stories for everyone, that the old heroes are not going anywhere, neither are the new ones, there is room for them both.

Marvel ended the event amid the chaos and cleared the room, but angry retailers confronted editors and executives in the hallway, continuing the argument.

While analysts have pointed to a number of causes for Marvel’s sales slump (too many “events,” the constant cancellation and resolicitation of books with a new #1), the idea that “diversity” is what has caused a sales slump at Marvel has been a staple among the “angry white male” demographic for a while — but it’s almost always prefaced with the caveat that they just “really respect the original characters,” and that they aren’t “sexist or racist or anything.”

We’ll be sure to let the “blacks,” “homos” and “freaking females” know.