Marvel uses AI to generate artwork for “Secret Invasion,” and fans aren’t happy

June 21, 2023
AI generated art

Marvel’s hotly anticipated “Secret Invasion” premiered on Wednesday and featured AI-generated images for its opening credits.

They didn’t get away with it, and fans were far from impressed, with social media uproar and talks involving boycotts. 

Ali Selim, director and executive producer of “Secret Invasion,” told Polygon that the AI-generated imagery was inspired by the series’ alien shapeshifters, the “Skrulls.” Selim said, “When we reached out to the AI vendors, that was part of it — it just came right out of the shape-shifting, Skrull world identity, you know? Who did this? Who is this?” 

Secret invasion AI
Secret Invasion’s AI credits. Credit: Polygon.

Selim conceded he doesn’t fully understand how the AI works, “We would talk to them about ideas and themes and words, and then the computer would go off and do something. And then we could change it a little bit by using words, and it would change.”

Fans were angry that the show used AI instead of commissioning artists. After all, the 2007 comic book series that form the show’s backbone are certainly not AI-generated. Others highlighted that Secret Invasion explores themes like shapeshifting, imitation, coercion, and control, which makes Marvel’s choice of graphics look oblivious. 

Reacting to the AI-generated graphics, director Brian Long expressed on Twitter, “It’s actually over.” 

Artist Jon Lam, known for his work on X-Men and Valorant, drew attention to the ongoing Writer’s Guild of America Strike, which is striking for a contract that includes safeguards against AI replacing its members. “I will be boycotting Secret Invasion,” Lam declared on Twitter. “A slap in the face of artists and the WGA strike.”

The AI-generated opening credits were described as “horrifying” by another, “This feels like just the beginning of A.I. overtaking the jobs of passionate artists. It’s disgusting & the ultimate turnoff.”

Others simply highlight that the credits looked awful. One user tweeted, “Marvel really used A.I. to create the ugliest ******* intro known to man, they couldn’t afford to hire a comicbook artists???” 

Another criticized, “This is an embarrassing new low. I can’t believe marvel is proudly using the same visual gag that little kids use in tiktoks for fun.”

Marvel’s decision to replace comic book artists for a comic book series is tone-deaf, especially among current fears that AI is coming for creative jobs before it comes for others.

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.

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