Marvel Artist Accuses MCU of Stealing Artwork, Fans Launch Boycott

Marvel Comics fans are going to bat for one of their favorite artists after David Aja confirmed that Marvel Studios did not pay him — or credit him, for that matter — after using artwork from a comic he worked on as the basis for nearly all Hawkeye marketing materials.

hawkeye little hits cover david aja
Credit: Marvel Comics

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Aja’s cover art for “Hawkeye, Vol 2: Little Hits” [above] clearly served as inspiration for a number of the promotional materials [below] that were released ahead of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest series, Hawkeye, starring Avengers franchise alum Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye) and MCU newcomer Hailee Steinfeld (Kate Bishop).

hawkeye disney plus image
Credit: Marvel Studios

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After some astute fans took to social media to point out the similarities between the two pieces of artwork last month, and noted that Aja was not credited anywhere in the series credits, the artist himself posted the following to Twitter:

Even better: Stop crediting, start paying, haha.

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This is reminiscent of the still-ongoing “Disney Must Pay” dispute.

In May 2021, one article shared details about various creators’ fight to receive royalties for years of book sales. Numerous well-known authors formed a task force to attempt to take legal action against The Walt Disney Company, with the aid of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America organization:

…about a dozen authors know they have been denied royalties going back years–but likely others are affected that aren’t aware of what they’re owed. Now, Alan Dean Foster and other authors, including Neil Gaiman, Tess Gerritsen, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Chuck Wendig, have put together a #DisneyMustPay Task Force to fight to have all these authors get paid for their work.

hailee steinfeld (left) and jeremy renner (right) in hawkeye
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Now that Hawkeye has officially debuted on the Disney+ streaming service and even more of Aja’s artwork seems to have been appropriated, Marvel fans are continuing to support Aja, even going so far as to boycott the series until Marvel Studios acknowledges the comic creator.

Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Merry KG wrote:

It’s so crazy to me that David Aja pretty much designed the entire aesthetic of the Hawkeye show and isn’t receiving any credit or any payment dues for it. Like this isn’t and inspired type deal they literally copied it, bar for bar, word for word and he’s not getting a penny.

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Aniq expressed similar thoughts:

The influence, style, and aesthetic of David Aja’s art within the whole show is so strong especially with the beautiful opening and closing credits of the episodes. Why on earth have Marvel not paid and credited him. He deserves much better

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Advit said:

David Aja deserves the credit for this sexy Hawkeye opening credits

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Barra noted how upset they are with Marvel’s uncredited usage of the artwork in question:

As much as I (REALLY) enjoyed Hawkeye, it is pretty scummy of Marvel to rip off David Aja. It’s very much evident throughout the whole show that the font and the style used are from the comic he co-created.

It would’ve been a massive praise if they didn’t screw him over.

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At this time, neither Marvel Studios executives like President Kevin Feige nor The Walt Disney Company have commented on the David Aja controversy.

More on Hawkeye

clint barton, hawkeye
Credit: Marvel Studios

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The official description of Hawkeye reads:

Marvel Studios’ “Hawkeye” stars Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, who teams up with another well-known archer from the Marvel comics, Kate Bishop, played by Hailee Steinfeld. The cast also includes Vera Farmiga, Fra Fee, Tony Dalton, Zahn McClarnon, Brian d’Arcy James and newcomer Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez. “Hawkeye” is helmed by Rhys Thomas and directing duo Bert and Bertie.

More on “Hawkeye, Vol 2: Little Hits”

hawkeye vol 2 little hits panel
Credit: Marvel Comics

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The Amazon description of “Hawkeye, Vol 2: Little Hits” reads:

Artist David Aja returns to the most critically acclaimed comic of 2012, as ace archer Clint Barton faces the digital doomsday of – DVR-Mageddon! Then: Cherry’s got a gun. And she looks good in it. And Hawkeye gets very, very distracted. Plus: Valentine’s Day with the heartthrob of the Marvel Universe? This will be…confusing. Marvel architect Matt Fraction continues his exciting, adventurous reinvention of the arrowed Avenger!

What do you think about David Aja not being credited in the Hawkeye series?

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