How Marvel is opening up its universe to women and minorities


What will it take for comic books to move from cult niche to universal entertainment? Marvel has a plan — and it involves deviating from their standard cult niche characters.

Last month, at a special event in Hollywood—one that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige opened to fans, rather than the usual officials-only press conference—Marvel announced two new films in development: Captain Marvel and Black Panther. The former has a female lead, the latter a black male lead. The announcement by Feige, who landed on Fortune’s40 Under 40 list in 2012, was only the latest example of Marvel highlighting more diverse characters.

In the last year alone, the comics giant has launched 13 new comics series with female leads (Captain Marvel; Ms. Marvel; Black Widow; Elektra; Storm; She-Hulk; Thor; Angela; Spider-Woman; Silk; Gamora; Spider-Gwen; and Squirrel Girl); it announced a new ABC television series with a female lead…

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