Iceman writer Sina Grace, who had two runs on Iceman, recently called out Marvel Comics describing their employees as “cowards.” He would go on to recall a conversation with a “cis white male” who told him, “it’s not a matter of if Marvel f**** you over, it’s a matter of when.”
Grace took to Tumblr to call out Marvel Comics editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski as well as other Marvel Comics employees.
He began his criticism of Marvel Comics by noting that they don’t stand with their freelancers when they are being cyber bullied.
“An editor called, these conversations always happen over the phone, offering to provide “tips and tricks” to deal with the cyber bullying. I cut him off. All he was going to do was tell me how to fend for myself. I needed Marvel to stand by me with more work opportunities to show the trolls that I was more than a diversity hire. “We’ll keep you in mind.” I got so tired of that sentence.”
He would go on to specifically call out Cebulski:
“Even after a year of the new editor-in-chief saying I was talented and needed to be on a book that wasn’t “the gay character,” the only assignment I got outside of Iceman was six pages along, about a version of Wolverine where he had diamond claws. Fabulous, yes. Heterosexual, yes. Still kind of the gay character, though.”
Grace would then transition to how Marvel Comics dealt with his press relations. He noted that he went out and received “positive press in the New York Times” and his Iceman series has “glowing reviews on Amazon.” Despite this, Grace notes Marvel “treated me as someone to be contained, and the book as something to be nervous about.”
He specifically took issue with the fact that Marvel Comics announced his second Iceman series on the Marvel homepage. He described it as a “burial.” Nevetheless, he notes he went on a got “more press from the New York Times.”
After getting in the New York Times, Grace details that Marvel Comics tightened his leash when it came to press interviews. He insinuates that Marvel made the decision due to his sexuality.
“I had to get all opportunities pre-approved, and all interviews pre-reviewed. This would be fine if it was the standard, but I assure you: none of my straight male colleagues seek permission to go on podcasts promoting their books.”
Grace would then call out Marvel’s head publicist after creating a drag queen mutant named Shade that is now called Darkveil.
“Everyone at Marvel shrugged off two years of goodwill and acted like I’d coordinated behind their backs on an announcement that made headlines. Beyond mentioning on Instagram the queens who inspired the character, I didn’t coordinate shit. Of course, their head publicist can’t admit that my quotes were pre-approved from an unreleased interview.”
He goes on to detail that following “so many shady moves on their end” that he eventually “walked away.”
That’s when he would really get into his criticism of Marvel Comics. He recalls how a “cis white male” joked to him, “it’s not a matter of if Marvel f**** you over, it’s a matter of when.”
He goes on to detail some of the work conditions he also experienced:
“The same-day turn-arounds without warning, the work emails on Christmas week… that’s the freelance bullshit. Truly, I don’t even think of this as discrimination, I call it general ineptness.”
He then went on to describe Marvel Comics employees as cowards:
“It is my belief that if we are telling stories about heroes doing the right thing in the face of adversity, wouldn’t the hope be to embody those ideals as individuals? Instead of feeling like I worked with some of the most inspiring and brave people in comics, I was surrounded by cowards.”
While Grace claims his first Iceman series sold well in trade paperback form, the first volume, Iceman Vol. 1: Thawing Out, which collects Iceman #1-5 is listed as the #1108 top selling Marvel Comic and the #2335 top selling superhero comic.
The second volume, Iceman Vol. 2: Absolute Zero, fares worse. It is the #1400 Marvel Comic and the #3055 superhero comic.
The most recent volume, Iceman Vol. 3: Amazing Friends, does fare a little bit better. It is ranked #785 for Marvel Comics and #1596 for superhero comics.
As I reported in June of last year when Marvel announced the latest Iceman series from Sina Grace, the original series did not sell well at all. The final issue of the series only shipped 10,200 units. The graphic novel sales were also poor. The first volume only shipped 1,315 copies and the second volume only shipped 959 copies.
As for the most recent volume, the first issue shipped 38,902 units. However, as Comichron notes Marvel offered “free overship on Iceman #1, doubling its paid orders.” The fifth and final issue of Iceman only shipped 9,800 units.