Why Marvel is making some bold changes to its superhero world

While most of Marvel’s cinema superheroes have been, shall we say, not diverse (though they’re working on it), its comic universe is a whole other story: Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales, Captain Marvel, Silk, Thor, Spider-Gwen, the A-freaking-Force, and others are the new flagship characters for this generation of comics readers, and are being rightly praised for shedding light on stories and experiences that had never been directly addressed in over 70 years of comics history. And now, Marvel’s shaking things up even further by restarting its comics universe to exist in one single universe, and reintroducing iconic character lines at Issue 1.

Or, in less comics-y parlance, “let’s go back to the start.”

In an interview with the LA Times, Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso revealed the inspiration behind the recent comics event Secret Wars, saying that the goal is to reset current character storylines to provide a “blank canvas” for newer Marvel fans:

While the MCU deals mainly with “original” incarnations of characters like Captain America (Steve Rogers), Thor (male Norse god), and Spider-Man (Peter Parker), the comics universe re-work will essentially be establishing a more diverse lineup of these characters as the canon forms — for example, Captain America will be Isaiah Bradley, Thor will be (spoiler alert) Jane Foster, and Spider-Man will be Miles Morales.

As Alonso puts it, “We are not erasing Marvel’s history. This is not a reboot or a restart. This is just a nice jumping-on point.” But will these new iterations of beloved characters actually resonate with comics audiences?

In a word: Yes. In a few words: Yes, absolutely, yes.

Reporter Noelene Clark relayed some of the amazing sales stats from last year:

And of course, there’s the smashing success of the new Thor, who outsold issues of the previous incarnation of Thor by tens of thousands of copies. Is it any wonder that Marvel wants to make her the cornerstone of its new universe?

We’re excited that Marvel’s taking diversity seriously (though clearly it’s a work in progress), that the comics world is becoming more amenable to women and minorities, and that most importantly, comics consumers are actually getting interesting, impactful, and investment-worthy stories featuring more and more people who look, think, and understand the world like them.

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