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In Season 1 Episode 10 of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Mike Peterson mentions to Skye that he bought his son "Heroes of New York" action figures for his birthday.

Skye: Is that Ace? What a cutie. He must be so proud of you, his dad working for S.H.I.E.L.D... Which he can't know with everything being classified.

Mike: That's all right. He knows I'm working. Called him on his birthday and gave him all the "Heroes of New York" action figures.

Ace playing with Avengers action figures

In the first trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming, we can see a group of bank robbers wearing a set of Avengers masks to hide their identity.

Bank robbers wearing Avengers masks

Seeing this made me curious how merchandising works in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Can you walk into a store like Hot Topic or Walmart to buy an Incredible Hulk action figure? Did someone need to convince Bruce Banner to license his green counterpart's likeness?

Is it ever explained how merchandising for the Avengers works in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Is there an in-universe corporation like Marvel or Disney that handles licensing deals or manufacturing?

  • 1
    Its an interesting question. In this SciFi question, they talk specifically about Comic Books, but they also discuss a little about the broader merchandise. – LeonX Jun 23 '17 at 19:38
  • I don't recall ever seeing an actual company behind merchandising in MCU. It is generally just accepted by the characters that Merchandising and Comics exists (Like in Logan where he hates the X-men comics for being a poor depiction of what "actually" happened but doesn't even question who did the comic and how he knew what happened) – Liquid Same Jul 7 '17 at 10:17
  • Probably (much like in Spiderman: Homecoming, with the cleanup business) there's a new division of Stark International that takes up the opportunity to manage the rights and so on... – Dave Jun 27 '18 at 14:45
  • This is just asking for speculation... There's no "world council" or S.H.I.E.L.D in our universe, and no Sokovia accords either. My point is that this is a different world with different rules and laws. It's similar enough to our universe, but no one ever claimed that every law we have (including copyright laws) has to be an exact copy there. – Ofer Sadan Dec 13 '18 at 12:53
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No, It's never explained, although it's also referenced in Infinity War when Tony and Bruce are talking with Dr Strange and Wong:

Tony: And I swore off dairy, but then Ben & Jerry's named a flavor after me, so...

Strange: Stark Raving Hazelnuts.

Tony: Not bad.

Strange: Bit chalky.

Wong: Hulka-Hulka Burning Fudge is our favorite.

So Tony is clearly aware that money is being made off his name/image, and it is highly unlikely his company's army of lawyers and accountants are not getting him a piece of that income. It's also clear that he's not the only Avenger, as evidenced by Wong preferring the Hulk flavour.

As stated in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tony's response to Maria Hill indicates that he is solely funding the Avengers:

Tony: Actually, he's the boss. I just pay for everything and design everything, make everyone look cooler.

while pointing at Captain America.

It's not unreasonable to therefore assume that the others have allowed Tony to recoup some of the costs of funding the Avengers by the licensing of their image for the various merchandise, which he would naturally do through Stark International (which also gives it a role outside of weapons manufacture). However, I can find no explicit evidence to back this up in the MCU itself.

  • That line about paying for and designing everything was the best line in that film!! :) – MissouriSpartan Mar 28 at 17:33

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