I don't usually believe in karma but Marvel's NYCC this year is starting to make me wonder. Now, I'm writing this Saturday evening so if I don't mention something obvious here like a Marvel panel causing the venue to spontaneously burn to the ground that's why.
The news started off bad when I read that another of those retailer meet-ups (like the one where a Marvel executive dropped the line about nostalgia selling better than diversity) seemingly devolved into a near-lynching because some old white comicshop owners were angry about (what else...) diversity. That was bad. I thought that was as bad as a major industry/fan expo could possibly go.
And then it got worse.
They announced that they were publishing an all-ages Avengers comic in association with defense contractor and gun manufacturer Northrop Grumman. You read that sentence exactly right, a comic pitched to children sponsored by and advertising a government defense contractor. Apparently this was meant to interest children in STEM careers but, well, you can imagine that the thing people concentrated on was “children's comic sponsored by and advertising an arms dealer a week after a gun massacre”.
How did that get past anyone in management? How was it that in a company owned by one of the most obsessively PR-oriented entertainment corporations in existence a partnership like this was floated for more than a second?
I cannot imagine a single PR professional in this world looking at this idea and not raising concerns.
At this point the only logical conclusion is that the publishing wing of Marvel Entertainment is literally trying to commit suicide. No professional organisation could want this much bad publicity. It has actually reached the point where I was actually surprised when they canned the project given how bloodyminded they've been about sticking to bad decisions the past year or so.
An arms dealer, guys, seriously?
That's the literal baddie in Iron Man 1.