The (paid) partnership between Marvel and Northrup Grumman has been dissolved, at least temporarily.
The crux of the relationship is that the arms manufacturer paid Marvel to produce a comic, called Avengers, Featuring N.G.E.N. – Start Your N.G.E.N.S!, from writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Sean Chen, to be used as a promotional piece for the company. In that comic, the Avengers were to be teamed with Northrup Grumman's Elite Nexus, a team of four that specialized in "cutting edge, hi-tech adventures." The comic was graded to be targeted as an "all-ages" book also featured an advertisement on the interior claiming that a career at Northrop Grumman could, "make your dreams come true."
The second step in the partnership was to be a co-branded event scheduled to take place at the Marvel booth during mid-day Saturday at NYCC2017.
Marvel has since removed the comic from its website and canceled the event via twitter.
Marvel has also released an official 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."
The comic was available to read for free on the Marvel website as late as Friday afternoon before being pulled. According to the rules page of the sweepstakes advertised in the comic claimed that physical copies would be given out all weekend at New York Comic Con -- though it appears that none have been distributed.
The background on Northrup Grumman reads like a perfect pairing for such a relationship between the company and the Avengers. It was named the sixth-largest war profiteer with $25.2 billion in sales -- of which $19.4 billion came by way of arms sales -- seemingly fitting into the origins of Stark Industries.
Northrup Grumman builds aerial support and attack planes like stealth bombers, as well as nuclear capable ICBM missiles and drones, the company is also responsible for more uniquely designed weapons, its latest is described as a "150-kilowatt-class solid state (electric) laser weapon system" for the Navy.
Given the cancellation of Marvel's Punisher panel due to the recent events in Las Vegas, fans were left scratching their head at the mixed message from the company but the idea behind it seemed sound. It will be worth watching to see what happens over time.