This weekend news broke that after two issues, Marvel’s Black Panther & the Crew has been canceled.
The series revolved around Black Panther, Storm, Luke Cage, Misty Knight, and Manifold who band together to take on a dangerous wave of street-level threats in this new ongoing series by co-writers Ta-Nehisi Coates (New York Times best-selling author of Between the World and Me and Marvel’s Black Panther) and Yona Harvey (Black Panther: World of Wakanda) and legendary artist Butch Guice!
The death of a Harlem activist kicks off a mystery that will reveal surprising new secrets about the Marvel Universe’s past and set the stage for a big story in the Marvel Universe’s near future. Fear, hate and violence loom, but don’t worry, The Crew’s got this: “We are the streets.”
Anyone who thinks the cancellation has to do with “poor sales” and not the comics’ themes of racial justice and unapologetic blackness can line up and purchase some beachfront property I own in Wyoming.
Nevertheless, there are many who are still trying to qualify that diversity doesn’t sale and identity politics shouldn’t be in comics; i.e., if it’s not white, it’s not right.
That’s hilarious because Coates is a bestselling author, so poor sales… really? Really? Brian Michael Bendis had no issue making Miles Morales a household name. Reginald Hudlin made the Black Panther animated series an international hit. Marvel’s sister company, ABC, has devoted it’s Thursday night block (one of the most competitive television nights of the week) to executive producer and phenom Shonda Rhimes who has made her career out of making hit TV shows with diverse narratives.
Lest we forget that Marvel’s Luke Cage was such a monumental hit when it was released that it broke Netflix.
Marvel’s chief rival, DC Comics, has had no issue being successful with black superheroes. Static Shock was a hit WB cartoon for four seasons.
Cyborg has been featured in countless DC TV shows and animated series and movies. He will make his official live-action feature length debut in the upcoming Justice League before receiving his own solo film.
Black Lightning is getting his own series at CW.
Speaking of CW, the Vixen cartoon series was such a hit that it’s being released as a feature film with never-before-seen footage on May 23, 2017.
Indie comic companies such as Lion Forge and Stranger Comics seem to have no issue with diversity or black protagonists and have put the comic book industry on notice.
The bottom line is this.
If Marvel can’t sell a book featuring black superheroes, then the fault lies with one source: MARVEL. Storytelling “the other” is their business. Selling the stories of “the other” is their business.
That is what they do.
Their parent company is one the largest multinational entertainment corporations in the world. If they can’t produce and sell a story about black superheroes then perhaps they need to not only diversify their writers and artists but also editors, marketers, publishers, executives, and other shot-callers with people who actually know their craft.