Marvel asks New York councilman to not dress up as Captain America

A New York City councilman was asked by Marvel last week to refrain from using its characters for political purposes after he used a photograph of himself wearing a Captain America costume in a fundraising email.

Ben Kallos, who represents Manhattan's Upper East Side and is running for borough president, received a cease-and-desist letter Friday shortly after his campaign sent out a "Superhero Alert" to donors filled with various superhero references, Patch reported.

The email features Kallos, 38, in Captain America garb holding the iconic comic book hero's red, white and blue shield.


New York Councilman Ben Kallos was asked by Marvel to stop using its characters for political purposes. 

New York Councilman Ben Kallos was asked by Marvel to stop using its characters for political purposes.  (Ben Kallos)

"While Captain America was pretty busy fighting Hydra, sleeper agents, Loki, Ultron, and Thanos, Ben's been fighting for everyday New Yorkers," the email reads. "And while the real Captain America has super strength, Ben’s power comes from us."

"And like Captain America, he can do this all day, but we've got to make sure he's got the resources to keep fighting," the email states.

Eli Bard, Marvel's deputy chief counsel, was not amused and asked Kallos in a letter to stop using its characters during his campaign.

"While Marvel appreciates your obvious affection for our properties and welcome your support as a fan," wrote Bard, "we ask that our characters not be used for political purposes."

Kallos told Fox News his campaign has taken the request in stride.

"I think we're trying to have fun with it," he said. "Even in their letter, it was kind of tongue-in-cheek... saying 'You're obviously a fan. We love that you're a fan' and they were just like 'Don't campaign around this.'"

The 38-year-old Democrat shared the "charming" letter via Twitter.

"Got this charming letter from [Marvel]," Kallos wrote, "and got a kick out of it, thought you might too!"


A message to Bard from Fox News was not immediately returned. Kallos didn't say whether he would comply with Marvel's request.

"If folks really want to know how the rest of the story turns out, they should subscribe and tune in to the next issue," he said.

Kallos said he is a big fan of nerd culture, he said, having attended Anime NYC and hosted screenings for "Avengers: Endgame."