Outrage at a proposed comics team-up of Marvel and defense contractor Northrop Grumman has led to cancellation of the pact, which was allegedly going to be unveiled today at New York Comic Con. The partnership was announced on Friday afternoon via Twitter, but the angry reaction was probably not what either party was anticipating.
Marvel’s web site depicted a digital comic that positioned Northrop Grumman as the real-life counterpart to Tony Stark and the Avengers. Northrop Grumman is one of the world’s biggest defense contractors, constructing bombers, military aircraft, laser weapons and other instruments of destruction, but also built the Apollo Lunar Module and provides communications and technical equipment.
Marvel’s web site depicted a digital comic that positioned Northrop Grumman as the real-life counterpart to Tony Stark and the Avengers.Fans vented, but even some Marvel creators joined in the backlash on social media. Saladin Ahmed, author of Marvel’s Black Bolt series, vented via Twitter:
Marvel quickly backed down in the wake of the anger and issued a statement. “The activation with Northrop Grumman at New York Comic Con was meant to focus on aerospace technology and exploration in a positive way. However, as the spirit of that intent has not come across, we will not be proceeding with this partnership including this weekend’s event programming. Marvel and Northrop Grumman continue to be committed to elevating, and introducing, STEM to a broad audience.”
The co-promotion was intended to support the digital comic Avengers Featuring N.G.E.N.S., a promotional item created by Marvel Custom Solutions, an in-house ad agency. The print editions that were to be handed out at Comic Con will be instant collector’s items – Marvel indicated they would not be distributed, although they declined to say what would happen to the items.
Marvel is not having a good New York Comic Con. Earlier in the week, Netflix pulled a panel promoting Marvel’s The Punisher in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting tragedy.