It was just last month that Marvel’s vice president of sales and marketing let slip that replacing classic comic superheroes with characters and storylines that were more politically motivated was hurting the company’s bottom line. The most blatant of these was a Black Lives Matter-themed series featuring the Black Panther, soon to be the center of his own Marvel movie, starring Chadwick Boseman. After only two issues, the series has been axed because of poor sales.
“Black Panther & The Crew,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey, followed Black Panther, Luke Cage, and other Marvel characters as they investigated the death of a civil rights activist in a near future, in which privatized police have taken over Harlem.
The series was blatantly political, with not-so-veiled connections to the Black Lives Matter movement.
It’s not a surprise Marvel sales are suffering because of comics like this. Shoving politics down an audience’s throat is never a good idea, especially when it’s an audience looking for tales to help them escape the divisive political world we currently inhabit.
The “Black Panther & The Crew” comic book was seen as anti-police and as having poor storytelling, since political agendas were the main driving force behind major story beats and dialogue. Marvel tried to prioritize social and political agendas above story — and audiences have spoken up.
Marvel made its bed. Now it’s lying in it.