The comics giant had already canceled its New York Comic Con event scheduled for Saturday, which was meant to highlight the new union.
This event has been canceled.
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) October 7, 2017
A statement from Marvel reads, “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.”
While Northrop Grumman does not manufacture guns, it does deal in cybersecurity systems, bombers, laser weapon systems, aerial drones, and other military hardware, selling mostly to the U.S. government and generating more than $20 billion in revenue each year.
Fans immediately called out Marvel for seemingly promoting the military-industrial complex to children, and cited the fact that Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) eventually gave up manufacturing war materials, pointing out that a partnership with a military contractor was antithetical to Stark’s character development.
Marvel had not released information regarding the extent of the partnership prior to its cancellation, besides saying it featured a promotional all-ages comic that teamed the Avengers with the “Northrop Grumman Elite Nexus,” or N.G.E.N. Using the tagline “Start Your N.G.E.N.s,” the comic included career recruitment advertisements and a contest where readers could enter to be drawn into an upcoming issue.