Most people are aware by now of the Mockingbird situation. The below cover was used for the comic book, and a bunch of assholes decided to harass the comic book’s writer for it until she had to get off Twitter.
Since yesterday, the comic book shot up Amazon’s lists, putting it at #1 for print copies of comic books and #5 for Kindle. The huge sales jump comes after Marvel canceled the solo comic book due to what it cites as low sales. Out of this, science fiction writer Annalee made an important point on Twitter: comic books worked on by women or that feature women not receiving marketing and reviews means people don’t know about comic books they might want to read.
This feed right into something I’ve been saying about how Marvel treated All-New X-Factor and continues to treat Polaris, so now I’m writing a Tumblr post about it. Read on for more.
I’ll be going into numbers now. Numbers are important for my message.
Here’s Mockingbird’s sales. The numbers include a link to verify.
Mockingbird #1 (March 2016): 42,335
Got it? Good (or not good, if you don’t get it).
Here’s sales for the Scarlet Witch solo comic book. Same deal.
Scarlet Witch #1 (December 2015): 57,835
Scarlet Witch #2 (January 2016): 25,728
Finally, here’s sales for All-New X-Factor.
All-New X-Factor #3 (February 2014): 29,915
All-New X-Factor #10 (July 2014): 22,563
All-New X-Factor #20 (January 2015): 21,132
Mockingbird #7 and ANXF #20 were their series’ last issues. Scarlet Witch is still running, so #10 is its most recent issue.
As far as I’m aware, Mockingbird had almost no marketing from Marvel. I can confirm for a fact that All-New X-Factor got none from Marvel. Scarlet Witch, on the other hand, is getting a lot of promotion from Marvel.
This paints a pretty interesting (and for me, enraging) picture about the way Marvel thinks and operates.
As you can see, the sales for both Mockingbird and Scarlet Witch dropped at about the same rate and to the same levels, with the exception that Scarlet Witch’s drop from issue #1 to #2 was much faster. About 10,000 for Mockingbird, compared to about 22,000 for Scarlet Witch.
Notice: Scarlet Witch is still running. Its sales have been about as low as Mockingbird’s, and that’s with the benefit of heavy marketing and a major film role for Scarlet Witch that Mockingbird didn’t have. Yet, Mockingbird is the comic that got canceled.
And then, as soon as something really shitty happened to its writer for the final issue, and that caused people to discover the book exists, surprise: it sells like hotcakes on Amazon. Whether the quality of the comic itself is good or bad is immaterial; once people found out about the comic, they were willing to give it a chance.
Now I get into the real impetus behind this post of mine: All-New X-Factor, and Marvel’s unwillingness to support Polaris.
Don’t let All-New X-Factor reaching issue #20 fool you; it only got that high because Peter David churned out scripts at such a rapid pace that the comic often shipped two new issues per month.
All-New X-Factor got almost no marketing support from Marvel (literally only one tweet to advertise it that I’m aware of, that didn’t even refer to the book by its name). With no marketing support, ANXF’s #10 still managed to sell about 8,000 more copies than Scarlet Witch #10… and ANXF got canceled around this same time months-wise anyway.
I’ve always said that if a well-written, respectful comic book with Polaris as a main star were put out by Marvel and got real marketing support, it would not only sell, it would sell beyond anything Marvel could ever comprehend out of the character.
What happened to the Mockingbird solo proves me right.
The Mockingbird solo’s situation vindicates me for everything I’ve ever said about both Polaris and Marvel. With absolutely no help from Marvel, the Mockingbird solo managed to jump from “sales so low it needs to be canceled” to the top of the charts. Meanwhile, with all the resources and the kitchen sink Marvel throws at the current Scarlet Witch solo, it continues to languish at the same numbers or lower that got both Mockingbird and All-New X-Factor canceled.
Two biases held by Marvel have now come to light. First, they’re biased toward doing everything they can to sell Scarlet Witch because she’s already a character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Second, they’re biased against Polaris because they can’t use her in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Thanks to this situation, Marvel can no longer claim “There isn’t enough fan interest to justify giving Polaris a bigger role.” They can’t claim “Sales of All-New X-Factor were too low to justify being more inclusive toward Polaris and her history.”
Mockingbird just proved that Polaris is one solo comic and real marketing push away from becoming a breakout star of the X-Men franchise just like Emma Frost before her.
I am truly sorry for the entirely undue and inappropriate harassment Chelsea Cain received from assholes. I wish she had not received any such attacks, and that her final issue sold this well without them. But, because it happened and can’t unhappen, I can at least make something out of it.
I am also not saying the Scarlet Witch solo should be canceled. Rather, I’m saying that Marvel should give Polaris and should have given Mockingbird the same second and third and fourth and eighth chances they keep giving Scarlet Witch.
*drops mic and steps off soapbox*