In Brief

Row as Marvel boss blames diversity for poor sales

Vice president David Gabriel claims comic book readers 'don't want more female characters'

A boss at Marvel has blamed a fall in sales of its comics on the studio's move towards more diversity in its characters.

Vice president of sales David Gabriel told a retail summit that fans were "turning their noses up" at the studio's efforts to include more diverse characters, such as a female Thor, a biracial Spiderman and a Muslim Ms Marvel.

"What we heard was that people didn't want any more diversity,” he told ICv2. "They didn't want female characters out there. That's what we heard, whether we believe that or not."

Commentators are not sure they do believe it. Kelly Kanayama at Nerdist says it is not diversity that is the problem, but rather Marvel "sticking to the same old formula" and "rejecting the very factors that could turn it around". Kwame Opam of The Verge simply dismisses the comments as "silly".

Fans on Twitter also disagreed and blamed their declining interest on repeated storylines, "high prices" and "fatigue" from the relentless pace of events.

However, a comic-book retailer told the conference that increased diversity had brought "a different demographic" into shops and said: "I'm happy to see that money in my store."

Gabriel also appeared to backpedal on his comments, issuing a statement saying the "new heroes are not going anywhere".

Marvel was "proud and excited" to "reflect new voices and new experiences", he added.

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