Wait, Marvel? On Pfizer.com?
For some, comic books may seem to be simply a form of entertainment featuring fantastical characters and mythical plots. However, through the years, they have proven to reflect and even influence our society. World War II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, AIDS, and 9/11 are only a few of the meaningful moments in our history that comic books have explored.
So, it’s not so unusual to find Pfizer and BioNTech collaborating with Marvel Comics to create a story which addresses a topic that, since 2020, has so greatly impacted lives all around the world: COVID-19. An original comic book called “Avengers: Everyday Heroes” is the result of that collaboration.
About the Story
The story opens in a lobby where people from all walks of life are waiting, masked, to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. On the television, breaking news is reporting that the Avengers are working together to battle Ultron, a villainous artificial intelligence that continuously evolves. The story progresses through news updates and the observations of one family.
“As fun as it is to write superheroes, I really loved working with Marvel and Pfizer to develop the family at the heart of this story,” says comic author Paul Allor. “The love and respect they have for one another, and their sense of public service, made writing their conversations an absolute joy.”
The significance of that story is meant to feel familiar and empowering by demonstrating, through analogy, that everyone can a part when it comes to COVID-19. It is meant to inspire personal action to help protect against this persistent infectious disease by encouraging people to keep up with their COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters.
Paul Allor, author of "Avengers: Everyday Heroes" browses in a comic book store.
The Advantage of Working Together
“For generations, the Avengers have been Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. They protect us, no matter how big the threat,” says Patrick Morris, VP Ad Sales & Partnerships at Marvel. “While the individual characters such as Iron Man, Thor, and Captain Marvel are heroes in their own right, they are at their strongest when they come together to fight an enemy like Ultron.”
The story revolves around that sense of collective responsibility, and Allor's passion for the project was rooted in their like-minded personal ideals. “I’m a huge believer in the idea that we should all do our part to help keep ourselves safe,” they say.
"Avengers: Everyday Heroes” explains the history of the Avengers and Ultron in a way that fans can appreciate and people who don’t follow comics or the films can easily understand—all the while representing the reality we all know from living in the age of a worldwide pandemic.
Artwork by Paco Diaz, courtesy of Marvel Comics
What Makes a Hero?
Since the early days of COVID-19, we as a society have, understandably, focused our attention on the heroes behind the scenes and on the frontlines. Back in 2020, New Yorkers would stop whatever they were doing every day at 7 p.m. and show appreciation for healthcare workers through a cacophony of cheering, clapping, and banging pots from windows, balconies, and fire escapes.
“This comic flips the narrative by showing how everyday people are everyday heroes when they stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations,” says Sharon McDermott, Director of COVID-19 Global Marketing at Pfizer.
“While the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic left many feeling helpless,” adds Navin Katyal, US. P&L and Global Lead, mRNA Portfolio at Pfizer, “we can all now be everyday heroes and champion health decisions for ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities.”
“Avengers: Everyday Heroes” is available as a digital comic on Marvel.com. A limited run of print editions is available at some offices and retail locations nationwide.
Paul Allor is a comic book writer who’s worked on properties including the Marvel Universe, GI Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and many more. They’re also the writer of creator-owned books including Hollow Heart, Monstro Mechanica, and Past the Last Mountain.They live in Indianapolis with a blind rescue dachshund.
Paco Diaz is a traditional and digital illustrator and comic book artist from Spain who has worked on major titles for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and Dark Horse Comics, as well as many Spanish comic books. Among the books he has illustrated are: Avengers: Endgame Prelude, X-Men, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Deadpool, Hawkeye, Wonder Woman, and Nightwing.