Tag Archives: michael bloomberg

Marvel Comics Teams With Komen. Do They Have a Progressive Problem?

English: pink ribbon

(via Wikipedia)

Marvel has announced they are teaming up with Susan G. Komen For the Cure in October for a little pink-washing to raise awareness during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  They’ll be sporting pink covers on some of their comics (you can see examples below) as well as including educational material  in the form of a one page advertisement as well as material on their social networks to raise “awareness” about breast cancer.

Dan Buckley, Publisher & President of the Print, Animations & Digital Divisions of Marvel had this to say:

Marvel is proud to partner with Susan G. Komen For the Cure to support their unparalleled efforts to raise awareness about the risk of breast cancer to both women and men. We’re in a unique position to educate all our fans and increase awareness of the ways to fight—and reduce– this risk of this disease by utilizing our comics and online presence.

Normally, I’d praise a company for teaming up for this type of education program, but Marvel’s teaming up with Susan G. Komen For the Cure is the latest example of their working with less than progressive organizations and companies.

In February, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation changed their grant regulations and those changes seemed to only affect their contributions and working with Planned Parenthood, an organization that’s seems to have come under greater attack from the right in recent years.  That decision came shortly after Komen unveiled a new partnership that strengthens its ties to the George W. Bush Institute.  The reality was some of the (Republican) higher ups at Komen weren’t happy with Planned Parenthood focusing 3% of their time on abortion services (contraceptive offerings make up more than 33% of its work) and decided to ignore the 97% of their other work helping women, including education about breast cancer.

As you can imagine shit hit the fan, Komen took a dive in donations and support and they backpedaled and refunded Planned Parenthood with a rather poorly thought out statement.  The decision makers left the organization as well as some board members, but the damage was done in the public’s eye, especially for me, a progressive who has raised money for Komen and donated to Planned Parenthood. Their actions showed I couldn’t trust them.

Komen has also been accused of “Pinkwashing.”  That’s when a company or organization claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease. Many products that Komen puts pink ribbons on actually have pthalates that are hormone disrupters and may cause cancer. I don’t know first hand if Marvel falls into that category (I’d have to imagine pthalates are in some products they sell or have licensed though).

How about Marvel donates some portion from the sale of those comics to some worthy breast cancer prevention causes as well?

But, this post isn’t about Komen, it’s about Marvel and their teaming up with questionable organizations and companies.

To promote The Avengers, Marvel teamed up with Walmart.  That was smart in that the store is a leader in toy sales, but, they have an abysmal record in so many ways.  We could do entire posts (and there’s entire organizations) dedicated to Walmart’s record, but here’s some of the hits as provided by Walmart Watch:

  • 196,000 is the estimated number of U.S. jobs lost from 2001-2006 as a result of Walmart’s imports from China
  • The company has written hundreds of press releases and thousands of blog posts, but made little actual progress in reducing the environmental impact of their products.
  • Walmart’s health care plans fail to cover hundreds of thousands of associates. In 2009, Walmart claimed that 52% of associates were covered under their healthcare plan. The company has refused to disclose coverage rates for its 1.4 million U.S. employees since then.
  • Walmart stopped offering health insurance to part-time employees (working less than 24 hours per week) in 2012
  • Taxpayers are forced to provide healthcare for Walmart’s Associates. Hundreds of thousands of Associates and their family members qualify for publicly funded health insurance. Indeed, according to data compiled by Good Jobs First, in 21 of 23 states which have disclosed information, Walmart has the largest number of employees on the public rolls of any employer.
  • Walmart has reportedly been covering up widespread bribery in Mexico.
  • The Walmart PAC and the Walton family give big money to politicians who oppose LGBT rights
  • The value of Walmart to the economy will likely be less than the value of the jobs and businesses it replaces.
  • Walmart costs taxpayers an estimated $1 billion per year subsidizing low wages and benefits.
  • Although the company will often cite higher numbers, the average Walmart Associate makes just $8.81 per hour according to a study published by Bloomberg News. An employee who works Walmart’s definition of full-time (34 hours per week) makes just $15,500 per year. That means hundreds of thousands of people who work full-time at Walmart still live below the poverty line.
  • Walmart was the defendant in the largest class action gender discrimination lawsuit in history, Dukes v. Walmart. The plaintiffs alleged Walmart discriminated against women in promotions, pay, and job assignments. The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit in 2011 for technical reasons and many of the plaintiffs are in the process of filing smaller suits.

And that’s just a few highlights of why Walmart sucks.  I wonder if Marvel took any of this into account?  But then, Marvel isn’t all that great when it comes to creators that have worked for them.  You have their ongoing battle with the Kirby family, then their counter suing of Gary Friedrich (the creator of Ghost Rider) who is destitute and whose health is failing and then they scored their movie overseas avoiding U.S. unions… you wonder how “progressive” they really are?  Maybe we can ask their buddy, Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg who they’ve worked with a lot over the years on various initiatives?

I think Marvel needs to look around and think that with their great power comes some responsibility.  Their words are great, it’s their deeds that need to reflect those more.

The “Komen covers” will appear on Avengers #31, Captain America #18, Captain Marvel #5, Fantastic Four #611, Invincible Iron Man #526, Mighty Thor #21, Uncanny X-Men #20, Wolverine #315.

Mayor Bloomberg And Marvel Enetertainment Unveil “Spider-Man, You’re Hired” – A Special Print And Digital Comic Promoting New York City’s Free Job Placement Resources

Official Press Release

The City of New York

Office of the Mayor

New York, NY 10007

Mayor Bloomberg And Marvel Entertainment unveil “Spider-Man, You’re Hired” – a Special print and Digital comic promoting

New York city’s FREE job PLACEMENT resources

Comic Book Available Free from Marvel Comics’ App on iTunes and in the

New York Daily News as a Public Service at No Cost to the City

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver, Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh, Marvel Entertainment Editor-in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, New York Daily News CEO Bill Holiber and Editor-in-Chief Kevin Convey, and Spider-Man today announced the creation of “Spider-Man, You’re Hired,” an all-new comic book highlighting City resources available to New Yorkers who are navigating the job market. The comic, which features an unemployed Peter Parker starting his job search, is the Administration’s latest effort to connect out-of-work to New Yorkers to job training and placement services. It was inspired by the NYC Media original television production, “Job Hunt,” a ten-part series on how the City is helping New Yorkers to get back to work – focusing on Workforce1 Career Centers, libraries and other City services. Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement at Midtown Comics’ new store in Lower Manhattan.

“New York City provides free, first-rate job training and placement assistance, and we want every New Yorker that needs help to know about it, so we asked Spider-Man to help us spread the word,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “One of the reasons we created the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment was to find new ways to connect with New Yorkers. Our partnership with Marvel and the Daily News is a fun and innovative way to let everyone know about the web of resources the City has to offer New Yorkers that need job assistance.”

“Marvel’s proud to team-up with the City of New York to help inform all New Yorkers about the free services designed to assist them in finding employment. We couldn’t ask for two better leading men than Spider-Man and Mayor Bloomberg,” said Marvel Entertainment Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada“Because even New York’s most famous Super Hero needs a day job!”

“We are always looking for new ways to reach people in all forms of media about the job resources offered by the City,” said Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “Working with Marvel, the Daily News and Small Business Services on this special ‘Spider-Man: You’re Hired’ edition is a tremendous example of how the government can work with the private sector to really help people.”

“Thank you to Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Oliver, the New York Daily News and the City’s great new partner, Marvel,” said Small Business Services Commissioner Walsh. “This is an exciting collaboration and a real super hero effort that will ensure that many more New Yorkers know about the City’s excellent free employment services. I’m glad that Peter Parker is helping us to spread the word to jobseekers that visiting a Workforce1 Career Center can help them get a job in this tough market.”

“As New York’s Hometown Newspaper, the Daily News is proud to use our printed pages and the power of NYDailyNews.com to help New Yorkers, like unemployed Spider-Man alter-ego Peter Parker, find work,” said New York Daily News CEO Bill Holiber. “The City of New York and the Daily News have been tremendous partners on this and other projects – such as the “Hire Me” series that partnered with the “Job Hunt” show and caller helpline – by combining our resources to help New Yorkers get to work. In today’s Daily News, not only will New Yorkers find a special edition of the Spider-Man comic created by Marvel Entertainment, but we’ve also provided readers with a guide to the city’s services for job searches, training and research. We hope our efforts not only help one of New York’s most famous super heroes find work, but other ‘real’ New Yorkers, as well.”

The recently created Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is identifying and implementing new ways to let New Yorkers know about City resources available to them. To promote the City’s free workforce training and job placement services, the Office worked with Marvel Custom Solutions, a special division within Marvel Entertainment that develops innovative programs addressing the specific needs of partners and philanthropic interests, to create a special edition Spider-Man comic book featuring Mayor Bloomberg.

The full-color, eight-page comic features an out-of-work Peter Parker, frustrated and at a loss about how to find a new job. A serendipitous meeting with the Mayor helps to put him on the right track. The unique comic is available for free download online via iTunes through the popular Marvel Comics app (www.marvel.com/marvelcomicsapp). The New York Daily News is also printing a special edition of “Spider-Man: You’re Hired” at no cost to the City, appearing in over 600,000 papers with a list of all the Workforce 1 Centers in the City where the comic will be available.

The Department of Small Business Services oversees a system of nine Workforce1 Career Centers located throughout the five boroughs, which provide New York City jobseekers with a full array of free employment services, including job preparation, training and job placement in a professional setting.  Since 2004, the Department of Small Business Services transformed a system that was placed New Yorkers in about 500 jobs a year into one that placed New Yorkers in more than 25,000 jobs in 2009. To find a Workforce1 Career Center and learn about services, New Yorkers can visit NYC.gov or call 311.

Two additional one-page comics have also been created in conjunction with this launch. In the first comic, Spider-Man can be seen at various well-known New York City attractions describing the great free job services that the City offers. Workforce1 Career Centers are located throughout the five boroughs and provide job seekers with a full array of employment services, including job placement, career counseling, professional development, and access to training opportunities.  In the second comic, Spider-Man takes his friend Mary Jane to learn more about the “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program. Developed in partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, this free program helps diverse New Yorkers gain access to entry level positions in the entertainment industry. The program is currently recruiting for applicants.

The one-sheet comics are available for download on NYC.gov and can also be seen on phone kiosks and other signage throughout the city.  A public service announcement featuring the comics can also be seen in City taxi cabs and on NYC life (channel 25) and NYC gov (channel 74), the City’s government station. The public service announcement, which debuted on Wednesday, explains the project and encourages people to download the comic.  The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment has worked closely with the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission to ensure that the public service announcement can be seen by as many people as possible. It can also be viewed on the NYC Media Video On Demand Player available on nyc.gov.

“Job Hunt” – produced by NYC Media, the official television, radio and online network of the City of New York and part of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment – offers expert advice about navigating the job market and features New Yorkers who have taken advantage of City resources. In each episode of “Job Hunt,” a panel of experts and recruiters shares tips on resume building, interview skills, and landing a new job. Episodes are available to watch online at NYC.gov on the NYC Media Video on Demand Player.

Amazing Spider-Man You're Hired Cover