Apparently, there’s no contemporary medium impervious to socio-political undertones, with pro-liberal Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey having revived and launched Black Panther & The Crew. Then again, the Marvel-backed social-justice comics aren’t doing too well in terms of sales. When escaping into fantasy, imaginatively nobody wants to immerse themselves in politics—too much reality. Upon only two issues into the series, it was decided to abort Coates’ & Harvey’s illustrated, revamped, love child. Its end emerged upon a Marvel VP disclosing poor sales were due to the overall narrative spewing too much “diversity.”
Captain America: Civil War’s Black Panther leads Luke Cage, Manifold, Misty Knight and Storm to assess a civil-rights protestor’s death while in the hands of the police. Interestingly, it’s not unlike the non-fiction Sandra Bland story.
The super-hero group operates in a not-too-distant future riddled with private-security-owned robot cops enforcing martial law. However, stemming from Black Lives Matter, the narrative and illustrations depict mechanical authorities using naked aggression in order to control the citizens of Harlem.
With this type of setting, of course these meta-human social-justice vigilantes fight “the [evil] man,” simultaneously being educated on Civil Rights Movement leaders. Univision’s Gizmodo wrote that The Crew is an adventure that “[tells a] timely [story] about real-world issues—like how police brutality devastates black communities.”
In an interview with The Verge, Coates said their series didn’t meet Marvel’s sales expectations. More, upon the current narrative concluding at issue six, the comic-book entity won’t be renewing their deal. Just like any business, Marvel adheres to a market.
But Christopher Priest was the The Crew’s original creator—back in 2003. His version, too, was chucked—at issue seven. Very similar to Coates & Company’s iteration, Priest’s concept featured minority superheroes tackling gentrification in The Big Apple.
Gizmodo’s Charles Pulliam-Moore ranted on Marvel’s move to drop the series. He said the entertainment entity cut the one, popular comic facilitating a “majority-black” lineup of superheroes. Pulliam-Moore slapped “bad look” on Marvel, adding they could’ve opted for “more thoughtful approaches” rather than ditching a poorly selling series. He went further to opine that the graphic-novel world “needs to change in order to sustain itself and cultivate new readers.” Pulliam-Moore also stressed narratives such as The Crew’s “deserve to be told.” However, he conveniently omitted any answers for low-sales “culturally relevant” comics.
With Marvel’s array of blundered attempts at “culturally relevant” narratives, perhaps they should consider not pushing any efforts to foster new followers and simultaneously disenchanting loyal long-time subscribers.
When it comes to an appropriate niche for Black Panther & The Crew, it’s definitely not the SJW crowd—whining and moaning over a dropped revamp they didn’t even monetarily support.