Creator of ‘Hawkeye’ artwork finds out on social media just how Marvel used their creation

via Marvel Studios

Trying to make a living as an artist is tough, especially in this day and age where your artwork can be taken and sued without your knowledge. Now you would think that having been hired by Marvel everything would be kept above board and legitimate, but this artist came to find out that maybe this isn’t exactly the case.

David Aja is a comic creator, designer, and illustrator, as written on his Twitter bio, and he very recently posted an image of a Marvel poster he created a while back for the Hawkeye series. In the caption he wrote, “a Hawkeye poster I did for the TV series that never saw the light.” adding in brackets, “Yes, they used the concept for a poster and yes, I was paid for it, no conspiracy, please”.

However, having shared the image on the social media platform he came to find out that his work had indeed seen the light of day, just without his knowledge. One user shared an image of themselves wearing a t-shirt bearing the poster design which they claim they bought at the San Diego Comic-Con this year. Though there are a few tiny adjustments, such as fair lights looking to have been added to the t-shirt design, the images are almost identical.

The artist wrote that they had no idea that it had been used for a T-shirt and it appears this is the first time they’ve heard about this.

Another Twitter user also pointed out yet another example of the art being used, this time for a game called MARVEL Collect! by Topps which allows fans to collect virtual character cards. Once again, Aja knew nothing about this.

So despite having said “no conspiracy” other commentators on Twitter seem to think that there is a whiff of one at least to be found here.

It all depends on what contract Aja signed when he handed over the work that he was, as he stated, paid for. For example, he could have allowed the studio a total or full buyout of the image meaning they have complete control over the artwork in exchange for paying money. In this case, Marvel can do what it likes with the image as it would own the copyright.

Without knowing what kind of contract the artist signed when handing over the art we cannot know whether or not this is a case of a huge company taking advantage of an independent artist, pitting this particular David against the Goliath that is Marvel. It does seem though that the studio should have informed him of how they were using his work as a professional courtesy at the very least.