Former Iceman writer Sina Grace revealed a story over the weekend where he said,
“I’d been getting a sense that marvel editors were lying about keeping me in mind for projects after iceman.”
He said in 2018 that he was asked by an editor at another publisher to pitch on an all-ages Spider-Man book and he asked them to make sure that Marvel was fine with him pitching for it. He said,
“I wrote a damn good idea that was on the fast track to being the next arc in the series.”
He then went on to say that this helped him feel like he wasn’t just a diversity hire.
“I felt great about the final document, and that I’d bought myself a few more months of being Marvel-adjacent so I could continue growing my reputation for being known for my writing chops, and rinse off the notion that I was ever anyone’s diversity hire.”
A few weeks later, he was told that he wouldn’t be on the book.
The exact words he relayed from Marvel were: “they’d like to keep the focus on iceman for now.” That e-mail came in the day I turned in my last script for Iceman.
After he reached out to a Marvel talent relation employee, he was told that Marvel wanted all-ages writers on the book. Grace mentioned that he did an all-ages book for Simon and Schuster, a middle grade series for Image Comics, short stories for BOOM! Studios, and edited an all-ages title for Robert Kirkman. And that while all the writers that were hired were good, none had all-ages experience.
He said that he’s not happy that these things need to be said, but they did.
I hate that I’m once again in a position where I have to call out Marvel on some BS, because I don’t know that anything positive will come from it, and that everything I’ve done in my career will once again be boiled down to: “semi-attractive queer comic creator complains about marvel comics.” Like, never mind that I’ve been at this since I was in high school, ran Kirkman’s imprint on my own before I was 25, and have gone on to write almost all of my favorite DC Comics characters after leaving Marvel. It’s shitty to be an individual talking about a beloved company… but it’s the right thing to do. The only thing I can 100% predict will happen from me speaking up is: a bunch of haters are going to get back on my dick again and make social media unbearable. To those folks, my birthday is on Monday… can you maybe not? Just this once?
Stories like what I’ve written need to be considered when discussing if Marvel has actually done anything to be accountable for not only hiring more diversely, but for fostering an environment where those people feel valued. My only advice to Marvel would be: fucking hire a third party organization to teach you all how to do this right… you can’t keep propping Sana up on a podium and pat yourselves on the back for doing half of the bare minimum. I hate that I still love your books (I spent good money buying the oversized Silver Surfer Black collection), and I just wish that the gatekeepers were a bit more responsible and cognizant of how deep their behavior and apathy cuts. Granted, this is a company that has a bad reputation for not treating anybody fairly, so there is always the argument that Marvel Comics is just run by a box of pythons who indiscriminately poison and devour folks. I’m not sure… after 18 months away from them, I still try to excuse the bad behavior and blame myself for how things went down.
Grace’s work at Marvel includes two Iceman series, All New X-Men Annual, Secret Wars Journal, The Merry X-Men Holiday Special, and Infinity Wars: Infinity Warps. He’s also done work for BOOM! Comic, IDW Publishing, and Image Comics.