By Tim Werth
Canadian crooner The Weeknd released his comic book collaboration with Marvel on June 13. Titled, The Weeknd Presents: Starboy, the first volume of the limited edition comic book stars the Weeknd’s musical alter ego.
Alongside the release, the Weeknd’s official merchandise store featured shirts, hoodies, and hats created in tandem with Marvel. According to Billboard, “The designs feature handwritten graphics in addition to the XO and Marvel logos side-by-side.”
While only the United States and Canadian customers can pick up the official Marvel-Weeknd merch, international customers can find items being resold online if they know where to look. Men ages 18 and up spend an average of $85 per month on new threads, and the Weeknd x Marvel collaboration features slick designs that mix the Weeknd’s famous “XO” logo with handwritten graphics and the Marvel logo.
“Marvel is the pinnacle of success in their field and I’ve been a lifelong fan of their work. To be able to partner with them is a dream come true,” the Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye said, in a press release.
In 2018, an estimated $557.99 billion is projected to be spent on advertising and the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been on an advertising blitz this spring to promote Infinity War. The company spent upwards of $150 million to promote Infinity War, including collaborations with major brands such as Coca-Cola and Quicken Loans.
So why is Marvel teaming up with an R&B singer like The Weeknd?
Perhaps it’s because the Weeknd is cool in a way that comic books rarely get to be. Yet thanks to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and collaborations like this, the stereotypical view of the comic book industry is changing. Today, more than 3.76 million American kids dress up as their favourite superhero for Halloween.
Now, the Weeknd and his fans will get to see the singer as a superhero in the pages of Marvel Comics. According to Marvel, “The Weeknd Presents STARBOY: Vol. 1 – Issue 1” will portray Starboy as a futuristic crime-fighting hero:
“The city of Alphatron is in the grip of a crime wave, as the terrifying Jack “The Chef” Smiley has unified all criminal organizations with his ruthlessness and strategic genius. Not content with brutally murdering his victims, Smiley also feasts upon their flesh. The citizens live in fear and the police have been directly targeted. The city is in dire need of a hero. It will not get one, but it will get what it deserves: Starboy!”
This idea has been in the works for a while now, with The Weeknd toying with the idea since his album Starboy was released back in 2016. In fact, the singer even teased the project at ComicCon 2017.
As The Weeknd says about Starboy, “He’s a more braggadocious character that we all have inside us.” The Weeknd-Marvel comic released on June 13 and features artwork by La Mar Taylor, Christos Gage, Eric Nguyen, and Guru-eFX.
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