Sorry, Identity Politics Doesn’t Sell

Ugh… I’d really hoped we were done with this. I really did.

I’ve already railed about why Spider Gwen is lackluster at best, despite every will in me in the world wanting to love it.

We’ve also seen how Sony and Paul Fieg’s insertion of gender politics into Ghostbusters ruined what could have otherwise been a marginally successful movie.

Comic book sales have sadly been dropping for the last 10 years or so and they’re not showing signs of going back up. Why is that?

Really? Haven’t I said it over and over again?

Okay… let me put it plainly…


It is a fact. In almost every case whenever a movie, comic book, video game, etc. has come out and attempts to force an identity politics agenda in a blatant way, it tends not to do very well. 

But Jim, wasn’t X-Men all about that sort of thing? You seemed to like that.

True, but there is a difference. Stan Lee’s X-Men really did it the right way, they used metaphors and good story-writing to get the point across. They did not stand there and have their characters either break the 4th wall, or start randomly spewing identity politics in an almost out of character way.

Good examples include the Arrow calling himself a Social Justice Warrior, or an ancient Norse God having an opinion out of nowhere about what’s currently going on in Israel.

Okay… so from what I started to dig up, this all appears to have started with Joe Quesada did things like this with Spiderman’s ‘One More Day’ and to this day still hasn’t lived it down as far as I know.

Unfortunately this opened the floodgates to writers who are more interested in pushing an agenda than actually telling a good story.

The Mockingbird writing from what I understand is cringe-worth. It is patronizing your entire audience regardless of whether they agree with you or not.

Now do we all remember what happens when we start referring to the social justice calendar in dealing with people?


Seriously, what happens when you tell geeks and their culture, which has been established for many decades, that they are sexist, racist, bigots, and your writing reflects your negative view of them?

Keeping in mind, these are people who are typically okay with changes in the universe as long as the writing is good…

They stop reading your comics.

I myself have personally sworn off Marvel comics almost entirely. I still read the Deadpool/Spiderman crossover because I find it hilarious, but even that seems to be handled with some kid gloves in many ways.

You’re pandering to groups with garbage writing that do not even read comics. It’s not just about agenda, though that is a huge part of it. It is also about horrible writing. In Marvel, that’s exactly what we’ve seen. Politics over story, agenda over enjoyment… and the fans are beginning to notice.

Unfortunately the writers don’t seem to get it as they’ve not only not stopped, they’ve doubled down. The person who created the comic in my feature image has referred to her detractors as misogynist bullies. Most say that if you don’t like the comic, don’t buy it.

Well Marvel… you win. We’re not buying it, but I have news for you, neither are the social justice/identity politics crowd. Why? Because the majority of them can’t be bothered with comics and tend to look down their noses at geek culture and the community it spawned.

I hope your happy.

Mark… Superheroes are not SJWs. They don’t immediately turn to violence or run to Tumblr crying when they don’t get their way. They’re not in favor racially exclusive (segregated) safe spaces or housing for people. They’re not promoting hate and intolerance under the guise of empowering whatever group of people they claim to stand for…

Go away? Don’t worry Mark, we are… that’s why comic sales are all but dead. Star Wars is the only thing saving you guys right now…

Anyway, everyone let me know what you think in the comments.


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Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!



14 thoughts on “Sorry, Identity Politics Doesn’t Sell

  1. AlanMiller says:

    Agree. As Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit says, “You want more Trump? This is how you get more Trump!” Even though they tell themselves that “it’s more important to raise awareness now more than ever.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] via Sorry, Identity Politics Doesn’t Sell — James Harrington’s Blog of Geek and Writing […]


  3. Captain Frugal says:

    Yes! I agree 100%. The timing of this post is great. I am recording a video this week about how SJW’s are ruining Marvel. You have some amazing points here!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Once I checked out that SJW in this case didn’t stand for Standford Jazz Workshop (which had it been would have been a new level of weird) I got in tune (You have to cut us 60+ folk some slack).
    Ramble warning..but I’ll git there in due course.
    Having been reading comics since the late 1950s they have always been something of a cultural battleground, going back to the days when Prof Somebody Or Other claimed reading comics caused children and teenagers to become depraved and thus was born the Comic Code.
    Since then writers and editors have ploughed their sundered furrows dependant on whatever. Back in the 1960s Marvel had an odd mix of strong patriotism (all communists bad- USA always right) with a very determined liberal mix. This led to Thor helping the US army out in Vietnam; in the former case (wasn’t a half bad one issue story actually), and in the latter Sgt Fury and The Howlin’ Commandos which although well meant led to some very peculiar scenarios; even to a 14 year old. And in the 1970s there was Hawk & Dove as well as the Mix of stern Green Lantern teamed with anarchical Green Arrow.
    And on we went, passing V for Vendetta.
    Prevalent in both Marvel & DC were heroic women whose principal powers were to be impervious to the climate as they hurtled around in skimppies and also no suffering no bruise as they bare leg, bare-armed through brick walls etc. And of course their upper torsos were decked in costume which bore consistent tributes to structural engineering. The fact that the majority of comic readers were male and the right side of 50 was just happenchance.
    The reason why I gave up on Marvel was
    The consistent trope of having villains using mental powers to get heroes to hit each other, while none of the mentally powered heroes seemed able to do that back. (Probably cause-overworked writers having to meet deadlines and suffering plot-famine)
    Ranks of villains who were CEOs of very successful companies, who in addition to owning about 25% of the world and its governments, never stopped grinning or talking. (Probably caused by post Enron & 2008 financial crash- once would have been good….300 times–eeeesh!)
    If it was really bad, they could do both.
    To conclude I suspect Marvel will produce whatever it thinks will sell.
    So I wouldn’t worry about your SJW at current (I refer back to Sgt Fury). It’s what comics do from time-to-time.
    And to end on a controversial note, I do like Spider Gwen, and Gwenpool, though for overall wit, action and plain fun will still vote for Ms Marvel.

    Liked by 2 people

    • StCyril says:

      Don’t worry about the rambling. Some of the best stories come from 60+ rambling.
      I get that comics, in most cases have always been a battle ground for politcal stances and opinions and honestly, that’s fine. I have no issue with that.
      My issue stems from a few things:
      1. Characters coming out of character to hop on a soap box and get preachy.
      2. Instead of presenting the audience with the situation and letting them read between the lines and draw their own conclusions, they now tell you what you SHOULD believe and how awful a person you are if you don’t agree.
      3. Agendas have taken the place of good storytelling. I have no problem with political views being put into stories, that’s fine… as long as its done in context and put into a story with good metaphor and symbolism. There is none of this anymore.
      Let me give you an example of what happens now… Recently the X-Men made a new comic where the entire cast was female… with a pretty shallow girl power message. Let that seep in for a moment.
      Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with an all-female girl power team, but the X-Men were a team that dealt with diversity, that dealt with bigotry, and unity in their stories. That was their hook. Not to mention that they’ve had characters from literally every faith, every part of the globe and a balance of both genders.
      So in essence, Marvel took what was THE most diverse team in comic book history… and made it less diverse in the name of diversity.
      Things like that are why so many believe that Marvel has lost their collective minds.

      Liked by 3 people

      • You make good points. The danger of being preachy has been a problem for comics because of the inherent shortage of space, ie a panel and a short speech box (though the French are pretty deft at long dialogues).
        I can sympathise because when reading stories involving The Punisher, my approach has been ‘what’s there not to like with the guy? You other heroes catch a killer they escape and start killing again! And you gripe about The Punisher?’
        I’m still thinking Marvel have reckoned they are tapping into a new niche market and are looking to cash in.
        Just to clarify; here in the UK it is a not uncommon claim amongst the comic book folk that Marvel are ‘cashing in’ once again.
        They’ve done pretty well in the film stakes, and I reckon they are looking to grab a chunk of that audience into the comic book market (Us socialists are always thinking like this- sometimes we’re spot-on!)


      • StCyril says:

        Perhaps but the problem is that the people they’re trying to tap into our people who don’t read comics and have no interest in them it was the same with the video game industry it didn’t work there and that’s part of the reason why Marvel sales are dropping

        Liked by 1 person

  5. M G Kizzia says:

    I keep my characters too busy to worry about agendas.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Batman, the most popular SH of all time, became an SJW when his parents were killed by muggers. Righting wrongs is what comic heroes do. So as a kid in the 50s I played Batman and fought the bad guys, and as Superman I made up scenarios to use my superpowers. As I grew older and my awareness of the world also grew, I began to wonder: there’s all these WARS going on, why doesn’t Superman stop chasing petty criminals and start ending wars? When I started reading Marvel, the exploits of Conan or Dr. Strange didn’t allow for this, because they essentially lived in their own alternate universes.

    As for comics now, I think SJW content isn’t killing them. Marvel is focusing more on their endless line of action movies, which (Dr. Strange excepted) I have avoided like the plague. More sophisticated readers prefer graphic novels, with social memes more relevant to them. Children are probably less offended by blatant SJW preaching than older readers are, since they’re not old enough to spot hackneyed tropes. Thus we have Disney princess following Disney princess…however I do think you have a valid point for more mature readers who gag easily but still enjoy comics. It’s tough to please all the people all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • StCyril says:

      For the most part, you’re pretty accurate, however comics aren’t necessarily the domain of children anymore. The primary reading demographic is at present 18-35 years old.
      I’d hope Marvel would know this… Because if they’re mentioning Red Pill, Comments about Israel, and Feminism in works intended for children, that’s pretty bad. At the very least, they’d be guilty of attempted indoctrination. At most… I don’t even want to think about it.


      • taransula says:

        Must be vindicating to Marvel do a 180 on the “diversity Avengers” and bring back legacy characters. All we see are examples of how identity politics DOES NOT SELL yet businesses keep doing it. Look at the travesty of Mass Effect Andromeda, look at Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel (sold 10% of what Borderlands 2 did, 2K Australia ended up going out of business… and i actually liked that game lol). Gamers never asked for heterosexuality to be thrown into our faces every 3 seconds, why would we be ok with LGBT doing the same? And then political social justice panders just as much, but to the wrong audience as you’ve pointed out.

        The people who want identity politics in comics don’t read comics, just like the people offended by “sexist” costumes on Street Fighter characters have never played Street Fighter. Behind closed doors we all know what’s true, but companies are still too terrified to speak up. Well hopefully someday they won’t be. Maybe when enough money is lost… *cough Ghostbusters cost $150 million over investment *cough

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Amen! What you say about the state of comics right now and pushing politics is true in many spheres. I see it in TV, and I barely watch current sitcoms or movies – just enough and then I gag. They got what they deserve (Trump), or rather they created the wave that elected him!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Autumn Cote says:

    Would it be OK if I cross-posted this article to I’ll be sure to give you co5mplete credit as the author. There is no fee, I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for our community and I liked what you wrote. If “OK” please let me know via email.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. StCyril says:

    Sent you an email, go ahead!


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