At 4pm on Friday 6th October, Marvel Comics tweeted that they were to "join forces" with Northrop Grumman, the world's fifth biggest arms manufacturer.
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) October 6, 2017
The plan was to release a special series featuring Northrop Grumman-branded characters working alongside characters from the Avengers. The new comic series would be released at the New York Comic Convention the next day, but following a backlash on twitter from fans, the company quickly pulled out of the scheduled release.
The tie-in between Marvel and Northrop Grumman was meant to "focus on aerospace technology and exploration in a positive way", based on a comic starring some of Marvel’s superheroes called "N.G.E.N." ("Nothrop Grumman Elite Nexus") using mobile suits designed by the arms company. The first edition was released online ahead of the announcement but was quickly pulled.
Northrop Grumman is based in the USA and produces a wide range of equipment used by militaries around the world. The company builds the B-2 bomber, capable of dropping thermonuclear weapons and the ability “to project air power anywhere in the world”. The company is also heavily embroiled in the F35 jet, the world's most expensive weapons system.
After the initial tweet, fans of Marvel Comics were quick to criticise the companies endorsement, with some pointing out that companies like Northrop Grumman are the equivalent of the very weapons merchants the super heroes go up against in the movies...
This sucks and is a super disturbing partnership. You're partnering with war mongering weapon merchants that are villains in your movies.
— It's KFG (@KungFu_Grip) October 6, 2017
And it didn't take long for Marvel to announce that the event had been cancelled and the partnership would not be continuing.
This event has been canceled.
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) October 7, 2017
Speaking to The Guardian, fans at the comic convention were very critical of Marvel's decision, with some accusing the company of “the militarization of our comics” and parents criticising the decision to promote an arms company in comics read by young children.