Marvel Cancels Controversial Northrop Grumman Partnership

Marvel Comics has ended its partnership with defense contractor Northrop Grumman.

Though the publisher has not yet issued a statement regarding the dissolution of the companies' arrangement to develop a comic book series designed to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, Marvel has confirmed to Polygon that the partnership will not continue.

Yesterday, Marvel Comics revealed it had teamed with Northrop Grumman to create a custom comic book series, an announcement that was swiftly met with negative reaction from fans and professionals alike. In the wake of the controversy, the publisher canceled its planned New York Comic Con event promoting the series, and issued 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.

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The intent of the comic was to promote STEM, but the fact that it was developed in cooperation with Northrop Grumman did not sit well with fans. Though the company does have a portfolio that includes a variety of scientific endeavors, including space exploration, it is best known for its involvement in developing weaponry. In 2013, USA Today placed the company sixth on its list of the top 10 companies that have profited the most from war. The company, which is responsible for the production of aircraft, electronics, missiles and ships, was reported to have earned a $2.1 billion profit on the United States’ war efforts abroad at the time.

Avengers, Featuring N.G.E.N. – Start Your N.G.E.N.s! is written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Sean Chen. The book is being billed as an all-ages comic with heroes from the Avengers teaming up with Northrop Grumman’s own superhero team N.G.E.N. The series' description read:

When RED RONIN emerges from the Hudson, the Avengers assemble to stop his destructive march toward New York City. But when the mechanical behemoth proves to be a match with seriously upgraded technology, a call for assistance goes out to a new super group. Northrop Grumman’s Elite Nexus is a team of scientists who specialize in cutting edge, hi-tech adventures. The new squad of heavy hitters, known as N.G.E.N. rushes in to assist the Avengers. But who could be behind Red Ronin’s mysterious attack?

Marvel has for years published custom comics in conjunction with a variety of companies, including ESPN, Visa and the NBA, as well as titles devoted to such issues as bullying, mentoring and nutrition.

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