Dear Marvel Comics Licensing Department:
My name is Chris A. Field, and while shopping at an HEB Grocery Store in Texas, I saw a Marvel Comics point of purchase display.... advertising Avengers themed Texas Lottery Tickets. What kind of logic tells you that this is an appropriate licensing opportunity for Marvel Comics?
If I had to guess I’d say “socially irresponsible, sociopathic and profit-mongering” logic. Using children’s comic book heroes to advertise gambling is sickening and baffling. As a long time reader of Marvel Comics, I’m nauseated that you’re using superheroes I’ve loved since I was a kid myself to glamorize addiction, desperation and financial irresponsibility. Not only do a release of Avengers themed lotto tickets run counter to the values the best Marvel Comics espouse, such an action runs counter to every ethical business practice I’ve ever heard of. Cigarette companies can no longer use cartoon mascots, such as Joe Camel, to advertise their products. So why is Marvel Comics using Captain America to sell another kind of addictive and socially valueless product?
Even worse, these particular lotto tickets are ‘scratch offs’. Less than five feet from the point of purchase display, there is a vending machine that sells various brands of scratch off tickets. This machine is unsupervised, and there’s absolutely nothing stopping any kid in the store from slipping a dollar into the slot and getting an official Marvel brand lotto ticket with Iron Man’s face on it.
So what do I want done about this? Personally, I want everyone involved in this illogical and morally bankrupt decision to suffer.
1. I want to generate enough public and corporate pressure that the State of Texas pulls these lottery tickets from circulation.
2. I want the Marvel licensing agent (s) who authorized these tickets fired.
3. I want the Texas Lottery Commission official (s) who authorized the sale of these tickets fired.
4. I want Marvel Comics to lose so much money and public good-will on this idiotic deal that they never consider anything this ill-conceived again.
To ensure these things happen, I’m forwarding copies of this letter to every major comic book news/culture website that I can think of: Comics Alliance, Comic Book Resources, Geekologie, Newsarama, and Topless Robot, among others. I’m also sending copies to Disney, Marvel Comics’ corporate parent, posting this to my blog, forwarding it to every friend in my email account’s address book, and sending a copy to Time Warner Communications, DC Comics’ parent company, in the hopes they will take the opportunity to do some creative attack advertising.
Finally, I’m doing something I thought I’d never do. I’m not buying one single thing from Marvel Comics ever again. As a lifelong comics fan who came aboard during the Claremont/Silvestri run on Uncanny X-Men, that last action hurts the most.
CHRIS A. FIELD