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“That’s a Stupid Idea and You’re Not Doing It”: How to Fix Marvel

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S.W. Sondheimer

Staff Writer

When not prying Legos and gaming dice out of her feet, S.W. Sondheimer is a registered nurse at the Department of Therapeutic Misadventures, a herder of genetic descendants, cosplayer, and a fiction and (someday) comics writer. She is a Yinzer by way of New England and Oregon and lives in the glorious 'Burgh with her husband, 2 smaller people, 2 cats, a fish, and a snail. She occasionally tries to grow plants, drinks double-caffeine coffee, and has a habit of rooting for the underdog. It is possible she has a book/comic book problem but has no intention of doing anything about either. Twitter: @SWSondheimer

Dear Marvel,

We wish we could still fall back on, “well, hmmm. That was weird.” But between Hydra Cap (so bad) and partnering with Northrop Grumman to produce what is clearly a paean to war profiteering in an all ages book (sure, you cancelled after a public outcry, but you still did it), the exception of “blind,” “stupid,” or “blatantly disgusting” has become your new rule and we, your reading—and paying—public are not okay with it.

Unlike your executives, however, who keep digging deeper holes, we have some ideas of how to fix the issues rather than panicking retroactively, backpedaling, and falling off an entirely different cliff.


  • Fire Ike Perlmutter and replace him with an actual human person. He  serves the gaseous, orange ape and his exclusionary, sexist, racist, narcissistic agenda. Perlmutter is currently being payed an indecent wage to kill everything that is good and escapist about comics. Y’all need a new boss.
  • Retcon everything Nick Spencer has ever done with “Skrulls.” It’s not like it would be the first time. Hand the wiped-clean slate to someone who can actually write, who has a social conscience, and the cojones to use his platform for good instead of maintaining the status quo or worse. 
  • Instate a “That’s a stupid idea and you’re not doing it” department. For example: “making Cap a Nazi, huh? That’s a stupid idea and you’re not doing it.” “A partnership with a defense contractor when our country, and the world, are living in the grips of two, incompetent, insane men with their fingers on various buttons? That’s a stupid idea and you’re not doing it.”
  • Diversity is not killing sales; your ye olde skool “only pre-order and direct shop sales count” bullshit is. Listen to what your customers are saying, and by customers, I mean the majority of us and not the vocal minority so set in their ways they think we should all still be drinking Tang and Superman should still have a mullet. 
  • Give some books to writers other than Bendis and Waid. We love Bendis and Waid. They’re solid writers and they’ve given us some great characters and stories over the years but think of what a Latinx writer could do with Miles Morales or a nasty woman with Jessica Jones! I know, right! Time to pass some of the torches.


    • Please remember that somewhere down the line, you’ll need to have actual living people who want to buy your books in order to stay in business. You can’t only cater to the loyal Marvel Zombies at the expense of new and young readers. Superheroes are great! They’re fun! They’re, by design, for kids! Dedicate a large portion of your line (at least 40%) to all-ages books now, so that you’ll have an actual generation of loyal fans of your characters in the future. And no, those movies aren’t all ages, either.
    • Maybe let a book find an audience before cancelling it? I’m not sure what crazy algorithm your sales department is utilizing, I’m sure they know numbers and all, but how about letting a series actually have at least a trade’s worth of issues out before trashing it?!?! Would probably help if you trimmed the whole line down from the gajillion titles you’re publishing now (Do we really need a Foolkiller series?). 
    • More Lockjaw.
    • Dial back the events. Seriously. If you must have one, how about letting a non-cishet white dude helm it? G. Willow Wilson has more than earned her place at the “Architect” table. 
    • Bring back the FF. We get it, you’re petty. Be the bigger person and show some respect for the characters that birthed a universe, movie rights be damned (editorial note: a new Fantastic Four book has been announced since we started compiling this list. It will probably be awful).


    • Here’s a tip—if you have so many titles and so many events going on that you have to get Greg Land to do the art? You have Too. Many. Titles. Greg Land should not be getting this kind of A-list exposure. Other titles (like Hawkeye, and Mockingbird, and Unstoppable Wasp) have creative, engaging, exciting art! We need more of that and less traced magazine photos (compiler note: don’t forget Mighty Thor and Black BoltDoctor Strange. Ms. Marvel).


    • You will never be forgiven for canceling The Unstoppable Wasp (compiler note: S.W. seconds this wholeheartedly).
    • You will never be forgiven for cancelling Mockingbird (see compiler note above).
    • The artist are as important as the writers and should be treated as such. Artists are not interchangeable.

    And those are just the beginning.

    We’re disgruntled because we care. We’re angry because we love these characters and we love these books. They’re huge parts of our lives and we want them there. You’re taking away our safe places, Marvel. Our head spaces. Our havens. We need those. We always have, but they’re even more important right now. You’re forcing us to choose between what we want and what our consciences dictates, and anyone with a soul is going to vote team conscience. And if we can’t appeal to your morality, we’ll appeal to what seems to be the only thing you care about: your bottom line. Some of us have already cancelled our subs to your books, with a few exceptions for those written by, or starring, the more diverse characters in your line. Some of us will be pulling back on our trade and merch purchases. Your cinematic and television divisions have huge, expensive projects in their pipelines and we can choose not to see them in theaters/consume them on our home screens. We can go see Justice League instead (wow, that hurt). You could, conceivably, lose billions of dollars and from what we hear, you’re on increasingly shaky ground already.

    You work for us, Marvel. And your current performance review is deplorable.

    Do better.