So when the new Marvel TV series Secret Invasion unveiled a visibly AI-generated credits sequence, many viewers were disgusted—including one artist who worked on the show, who tweeted that he was “devastated” to see Marvel using this “unethical” technology.
Based on the Marvel Comics storyline of the same name, Secret Invasion is an espionage thriller where Nick Fury discovers a conspiracy of shapeshifting Skrulls disguising themselves as humans to take over the world.
The intro sequence is a green-hued montage featuring morphed images of Skrull and human characters in front of ominous backdrops. It’s also extremely recognizable as AI-generated art, echoing an eerie, warped style of DALL-E/Midjourney imagery that was all over social media last summer.
To state the obvious for a moment, a lot of people watching this show will be comic book fans. And comic book fans are invested in visual art and artists—a demographic staunchly opposed to the AI trend. It’s baffling that Secret Invasion‘s creators thought this credits sequence was a good idea.
In an interview with Polygon, Secret Invasion director/exec producer Ali Selim says the credit sequence was created by Method Studios. Their goal was to reflect shapeshifting nature of the Skrulls, with Selim saying he didn’t “really understand” the technology involved.
He described a creative process that sounds a lot like plugging keywords into an image generator: “We would talk to [Method Studios] 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.”
Within hours of the show’s premiere, fans on Twitter and TikTok were highlighting the ethical concerns around AI art—and questioning what Method Studios used as visual reference material. After all, image generators rely on pre-existing content, often scraping images from the internet without the original creator’s consent.
On top of the general backlash against AI art, these criticisms overlap with wider concerns about Marvel’s treatment of artists. This month the #ComicsBrokeMe hashtag revealed a state of crisis in the comic book industry, with creators describing toxic working conditions, poverty wages, overwork, and emotional/physical breakdowns.
Many artists see AI as an existential threat, in an industry that already devalues their work. It’s no surprise that this Secret Invasion intro is so wildly unpopular.