Marvel cancels comic event with defense contractor Northrop Grumman after outcry

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Oct 7, 2017

Marvel Comics has canceled a planned Saturday announcement at New York Comic Con involving a partnership with defense contractor Northrop Grumman after a public outcry over the event. 

The event was set to be held at Marvel's NYCC booth, and while it's not clear just how much the two companies would be intertwined, it was definitely set to feature a Marvel "custom edition" comic book. The book would have featured The Avengers teaming up with the "Northrop Grumman Elite Nexus," or N.G.E.N. As io9 reports, the book has been removed from Marvel's website.

Marvel released the following 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."

According to a report from IGN, Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada said during an NYCC Marvel Legacy panel that he believes the issue was properly handled, adding: “I’ll be honest with you, I saw it for the first time as you guys. I think there were some messaging issues. It was really about science and education.”

The announcement comes amid numerous public complaints. The chief concern among opponents was that Marvel seemed to be releasing material urging children to grow up and engage in war profiteering (Northrop Grumman manufacturers drones, bombers, and other military hardware). It was pointed out by many that one of Marvel's most famous characters, Tony Stark, disavowed his company's defense contract work after he discovered his weapons were ending up in the wrong hands.

Northrop Grumman does not manufacture firearms, but there are certainly parallels in fan concerns over the partnership. Many on Twitter were baffled and angered by the parternship.

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The cancellation comes just days after the company also canceled a planned NYCC panel spotlighting the Netflix series The Punisher, amid concerns that the show's gun violence would be inappropriate to focus on in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas last weekend.