Heliocentric Bullshit no.92

Heliocentric Bullshit is the title of a weekly newsletter that i used to post for a while and decided to continue. It’s located at tinyletter but i’ll post it here also for the time being.

Chop off one head….

Due to a timing error the thing i wanted to write about this week will be sidelined until the next; given that the watch faces of two people align this time.

But it’s not like there isn’t a shortage of superfluous topics to bang ones head against.
Marvel Comics for example. They gave some reasons to why their sales aren’t as „high“ as „they used to“ anymore which set certain corners of the internet in fire.
But before i monologue about that, let’s take a look at the status of the US american comic industry: We can sum it up with the title of the comic that not only saved a whole chain of book stores but also brought a new dynamic to it by enabling people to make watchable comic tv shows; The Walking Dead.
I know, it’s not a completely fair assessment of the situation, there are people who can finance a good life off their work, but there are only so many Star Wars comics, movie studio options and Stan Lee’s available.
Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room and the comment that made the biggest splash in my filter pool: Marvel titles featuring diverse characters aren’t selling high enough numbers. Does any Marvel book do that? If you put an ear on the rails you hear people dropping almost every Marvel title on their pull lists but replace a few with product from a competitor, not because Thor is a lady, but because the stories aren’t good; a problem that many many Marvel titles are guilt of. And every few months some universe changing event comes along which in the end does not change anything.
The price factor is also a factor in the case of the diminishing sales. Let’s take a look at a diverse new Marvel title, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, a book featuring a eight year old girl of color. While the book has an appeal for older readers like myself, it is just to expensive to reach an audience that isn’t dependent on the goodwill of their parents when you get a lot of other entertainment „for free“. That is a factor that nobody seems to care about, with video games and YouTube readily available on a smartphone/tablet ones has to actually fight for attention. And charging four dollars for 20 pages of story can’t compete with a free to play game because even when that is a piece of garbage, it’s free garbage. I could not afford the titles i currently enjoy without the reading circle i’m part of. Furthermore the group of people who aren’t in a stable relationship with their finances is growing, and not exclusively because they can’t handle money or capitalism slowly eating it’s own tail but companies raising prices while lowering quality.
For every point Marvel made there is a retailer out there who’ll tell you a thing to cement it’s level of truth, but also one that can attest to the opposite being a reality. That is one of the fundamental thing about the human experience; everybody has a front seat on the rollercoaster but the ride is an illusion and therefore experienced differently[1]. But mainstream comics need a change, a creative one that is. The movies have already reduced them to supplemental material that people can mine for extra cred instead of what they tried to be when Marvel started to make the live-action versions work; a laboratory for creativity. All those popular comic characters not only exist because they are on ones bedsheets but their significance in people’s lives. And being able to show my Nieces a black female character that doesn’t run around in a skin tight suit If they ever want to be recommended a comic is a great thing. We bought two custom made illustrated books for the younger Niece last christmas, and seeing a kid’s eyee light up when it realizes that the protagonist of the story is someone who looks like oneself is an amazing thing to behold. And Marvel should enable other kids to experience the same thing.
And if you know what? The parallel universes that are back despite the unification that happened in Secret Wars give enough space to for example continue the story of male Thor. Look what Batman went through and he still is on top.

But then, i’m also someone who initially liked the idea of having Steve Rogers Agent Of Hydra because i anticipated it to be a story that shows that you can change the surroundings of a person, but not what they are at their core.


Thank You for Your time!

[1] I mean that in the sense that when we compare experiences between people, someone who doesn’t know anything about our world could come to the conclusion that both come from a different planet.

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