This 6-episode series was directly inspired by the 2012 comic run by Matt Fraction and artist David Aja and even includes Lucky the Pizza Dog and the Tracksuit Mafia, as well as Aja's defining silhouette-style in its marketing material and credits.
However, leading up to the show's release, David Aja didn't see Disney+'s use of his artwork as a homage or tribute or anything akin to respect; and now that the show has dropped, Marvel fans are speaking up.
Marvel Fans Boycotted Hawkeye Due to Compensation
When fans first expressed that David Aja should be credited for how his artwork inspired the show's poster, Aja responded on Twitter, saying, "Even better: Stop crediting, start paying, haha."
Now that the series has premiered, fans have expressed their frustration on social media over Marvel and Disney failing to compensate Aja, with some even going as far as to boycott Hawkeye altogether.
Twitter user @GenePark is one who is claiming to boycott the series, explaining that they "don't feel rewarding Disney for being stingy:"
"I won’t watch Hawkeye because of this. I hear it’s good but don’t feel like rewarding Disney for being stingy with compensation and due credit"
In contrast, @JoshuaYehl saw and liked Hawkeye but is equally upset with how Aja hasn't received a check or much credit, even though his work "is the foundation for the show:"
"I quite like Hawkeye. It has the grounded quality of my favorite Marvel comics stories. And it’s low key hilarious. But I’m hung up on how David Aja’s work is the foundation for the show AND marketing yet apparently Marvel isn’t cutting him a check or even a credit? Come on now."
Another Twitter user @astrolesbian took a different approach, encouraging fans to skip the show and read Fraction and Aja's Hawkeye for a "better experience:"
"everyone PLEASE read matt fraction and david aja's hawkeye and don't watch the show i guarantee it will be a better experience"
In another tweet, @chnc25 posted support for Aja and called out the powers-that-be for him to be paid, saying,
"trying to work up the motivation to watch hawkeye, but also f***** pay David Aja ffs"
"The only thing Hawkeye has that could get me to watch is Kingpin, and even then I will 100% pirate that shit Pay David Aja and other comic creators you miserable f****"
User @aniqrahman posted that Aja "deserves much better" considering how his aesthetic "within the show is so strong:"
"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."
Now, Twitter user @poinksniktbamf pointed out that David Aja did receive a "special thanks" in the show's credits. However, there are others who think he deserves more considering how heavily the show has made use of his work.
For instance, comic writer @TomTaylorMade posted that he wants "to see a giant @davidaja credit upfront:"
In response to this tweet, Aja actually took to social media to reply and posted the following:
"Thanks, Tom! (I have not seen it yet, hope to check it tonight)"
Did Marvel & Disney Miss the Target?
Unfortunately, Aja isn't the only Marvel creator whose work has been used on Disney+ without proper compensation. Eddie Brubaker, the creator of the Winter Soldier, expressed similar frustrations in early 2021 during The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's run on Disney+.
The problem is that many of these creators worked for Marvel before their work became part of the MCU in film or on Disney+. Also, while the details of their contracts aren't publicly known, if these creators were considered as work for hire at the time their work was being produced, there's likely little they can do to receive credit and payment, even if their work crosses into additional mediums.
Even so, Marvel fans are more concerned with what's right and what's due apart from contractual obligations; and in the case of Hawkeye and Aja, the problem is even more glaring since, as fans on Twitter expressed, his aesthetic is key to the series itself.
Since Hawkeye is on Disney+ and there are no box office numbers, a boycott is unlikely to make much of a difference in swaying Marvel or Disney one way or the other; but it's hard for studios to ignore fan dissatisfaction and social media conversation.
If fans keep this conversation going and continue to speak out in defense of Marvel creators like Aja, Disney and Marvel may have no choice but to make things right; and at the very least, give clear and upfront credit where credit is due.
The first two episodes of Hawkeye are streaming on Disney+.