Another day, another announcement from Marvel that, far from creating goodwill towards persons, has instead flopped. In this case it’s Marvel: Create Your Own, a new service launched in partnership with TapTap Comics. People who sign up for announcements on the yet to be launched service will use 3D figures and supplied graphic elements (backgrounds etc) to create their own comics. It’s a system that’s been in use for other webcomics portals before, but this time the long list of no-nos in the 23 page TOS bans everything from “alternative lifestyles” to farts and killer bees.
• Ads for “R” or “NC-17” rated movies, “TV14” or “TVMA” TV programming, or “M”, “AO”, or “RP” video games
• Content that could frighten or upset young children or the parents of young children
• Prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication, vitamins, and dietary supplements
• Depictions of alcohol (hard liquor, beer, wine, etc.), tobacco (cigars, cigarettes, etc.), or drugs (marijuana, etc.)
• Sexually explicit images (pornography, etc.)
• Suggestive or revealing images (bare midriffs, lets, etc.)
• Sensationalism (killer bees, gossip, aliens, scandal, etc.)
• Potentially slanderous or libelous content
• Obscenity, bad or offensive language, proxies for bad or offensive language (X@#%!), body parts, or noises related to bodily functions
• Politics (lobbyists, PAC sites, political campaigns, alternative lifestyle advocacies)
• Gambling (excluding state lotteries, sweepstakes and fantasy leagues)
• Graphic violence (including certain types of game sites) unless approved by Tap Tap on a case-by-case basis
• Discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age
• Illegal activities or any materials that infringe or assist others to infringe upon any copyright, trademark, or any other intellectual property rights
• Misleading language
• Images or content that is in any way unlawful, harmful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, or harassing
• Unauthorized or unapproved use of Marvel creative assets (such as talent, logos, characters, movie logos, theme park imagery, color scheme, font[s])
• A copy or parody of current or past Marvel advertising creative (from any media form)
• Other controversial topics (social issues, etc.)
• Implied affiliation or favored status with Marvel
Unreasonable or highly unlikely product or service claims
Double entendres Amusement parks (other than Disney amusement parks)
Movie studios (other than studios affiliated with Marvel)
Animated movies (other than Marvel or Disney movies) Guns (firearms, bullets, etc.)
Any content that is otherwise inappropriate for children Any content that is otherwise fraudulent, deceptive, infringing, racially offensive, sexually explicit, threatening, hateful, harassing, disparaging, libelous (including trade libel), slanderous, or defamatory
While some of this is boilerplate stuff, unsurprisingly its furthered the appearance that Marvel is anti-gay, and also anti-gossip.
Oddly enough for a service that bans midriff bearing outfits, the first spokesperson is pantsless Gwenpool, now sporting a suggestive crotch seam. Possibly even more shocking than Killer Bees.
Who is this “TapTap Comics” that is running the platform? I
‘m told it’s an Australian company and not related to the Actually, it is related to the Chinese company that offers mobiles games and apps and the like. It should be noted that in general Chinese media guidelines are just as repressive as these TapTap ones, so which side it originated with is open to question.
At any rate, there’s nothing that Marvel can do that doesn’t come off as awkward at best and sinister at worst these days.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.