Marvel Comics has been met with both praise and backlash for their attempts to bring diversity in their characters, writers, and artists. Now the publisher is facing both praise and backlash for seemingly pivoting back to established characters in familiar roles under the Marvel Legacy banner. At New York Comic-Con, the hosts of Women of Marvel Podcast: Sana Amanat and Judy Stephens held a panel with Marvel Assistant Editor Kathleen Wisneski, writer Margaret Stohl, writer Leah Williams, colorist Rachelle Rosenberg and artist Jen Bartel. These women have a unique perspective on the issues of diversity within the publisher and shared them during the panel.
According to CBR, “During the panel’s Q&A session, a young female fan brought up the topic of dipping sales, asking the panelists if they believed decreased sales were due to ‘forced diversity’ and ‘hiring people without experience.'” To which Amanat answered, “No, absolutely no”. “There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes. People try to conflate things at times, and that’s not necessarily the case,” Williams added. According to CBR, “Bartel then asked the fan if she would ask male creators the same question, to which the fan responded that she would ask anyone.” Amanat next stated that, “We do look at what people do. You have to have experience, and if you’re talented, we will hire you,” in response to the fan asking about “forced diversity” and “hiring people without experience”.
Despite evidence to the contrary, people continue to believe that Marvel’s attempt to diversify their writers, artists, and characters contributed to slumping sales of their comic books. The Women of Marvel Panel hosts admirably explained the processes behind the scenes that lead to the hiring of creators and the push towards establishing new and diverse characters. Some of these ideas work well and are a hit with fans, some don’t work as well, and some may be critical hits, but fans are not drawn to them. After seemingly distancing themselves from their more diverse characters, Marvel seems to be returning their focus to them. Evidence of this is seen in new series for Miles Morales/Spider-Man, Riri Williams/Iron Heart, Shuri, and the Killmonger miniseries.