Aaron Hamilton of Sanctum Tattoos & Comics in Birmingham, Alabama has issued the following open letters, first to Marvel comics and then to Marvel comic book creators. He shared them with Bleeding Cool.
Marvel, Marvel creators, and anyone who fancies doing so can reply in the comments, or on their Facebook page,
Dear Marvel Comics,
We are Aaron and Wess. We own a shop called Sanctum Tattoos & Comics in Birmingham, Alabama. We are a relatively new store. We have been open less than a year. But we are lifetime lovers of the comic world.
Since we opened we have been singing your praises. We have been loving everything you have been doing. Until this past week when the news broke about your retailer summit.
The push for diversity within the Marvel world was fantastic. In a world where the culture caters to a majority of white men it was nice to see more creators of color and more women writing and drawing the books.
But, as they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? The average customer didn’t buy enough Ms. Marvel, Jane Foster Thor, Captain Marvel, or Wolverine. So the push to make books more diverse has ended. You feel like you need to cater to that core audience that have complained whenever you change a character. Those are the guys spending the real money.
Well, that’s a great idea for that quick immediate dollar. You are a business and that’s what business does.
In our store we sell a ton of Image books. A ton of Boom. And we sell out of nearly every Black Mask title that hits our shelves. Books that feature people of color. Books that feature female leads. Books that feature trans characters.
When we sell a Marvel book we don’t get excited and say “check this out! its the same old wolverine you’ve read for 40 years!” No, we get excited because there is diversity. There is something new that is being written well.
Hulk is the best comic about PTSD I have ever seen. I want to introduce young women to Riri Williams and Ms.Marvel.
When a kid comes into our store we need to be able to show them a character that is well written, and fun and most importantly reflects the real world in some way. A character that may be like them or may be like a classmate or a sister or brother. Those kids are the ones that will be our customers next year and the year after.
But, if you want to kill your diverse books in favor of immediate money thats your prerogative.
We, on the other hand will continue to point out books like Lumberjanes, Battling Boy, and Steven Universe.
And as you continue to blame these books rather than the real problem I am sure you will lose more of the great writers and artists that have made them so good. Perhaps they will go to Image or Boom and create similar works. Growing a world and community of new readers that will actually keep our shop open well into the future.
As I mentioned about squeaky wheels earlier, I am sure you hear more complaints than praise. Maybe thats what made you think it was a good idea to do away with good ideas.
Consider this though, the people sad about change haven’t lost anything. Wolverine is a woman, but old man Logan is the gruffest saddest version of wolverine they could hope for.
Captain America is a black man. Well, Steve Rogers is now the whitest version of himself he could ever be with a new Hydra agenda that would make Steve Bannon jealous.
The old is still there. In classic books. In current books.
In 2017 “a push for diversity” shouldnt even be a thing. Diversity in this world is the norm. The only people that complain about it live in a bubble.
I have been going to San Diego Comic con for 20 years.My absolute favorite thing about that giant mess of a show is the fact that I have seen a marked growth in women, little girls, and all people of color. More and more every year.
You aren’t helping retailers by doing this. You are only hurting us. We cant keep America (queer latina writer) in stock. But I’m sitting on a pile of Monsters Unleashed.
We have more subscribers for Squirrel Girl than have even mentioned an interest in Secret Empire.
Maybe our experience is a little different from other shops. Maybe they can sell every issue of all five Deadpool titles and not a single issue of America.
If that is the case I feel like that shop has a problem. Maybe they could go to social media and out in the world and talk to people about that book. Maybe they could market it better themselves. Unless they are also the ones sad about change.
If some guy is in our shop buying Deadpool they don’t run out the door if a girl is in the shop.
So, as a human being that is happy about a diverse world, please reconsider this “push”. And as a retailer that would like to make money reexamine the real problems Marvel is facing by not treating its creators better and over saturating the market with event books and a dozen x books, and a dozen deadpool books and so on and so on.
Dear writers and artists working on the “diverse” Marvel titles,
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