Update December 30, 2014: Subsequent to news outlets picking up on this banner Monday, Marvel licensee Aykroyd & Sons LTD has removed the artwork from its website.
Original Story: Marvel Studios has yet to fully pull back the curtain on what people can expect from July's Ant-Man, but an image circulating online Monday may serve to somewhat confirm the appearance of one character and raise more questions about Ant-Man’s place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The image appears to have originated on the website of U.K. licensee company Aykroyd & Sons LTD, which seems to have established licenses mainly for sleepwear and swimwear with Disney, Marvel, and DC Comics, among others.
The image features Ant-Man in his legitimate movie costume (based on the official poster) along with an image of the film’s villain Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll), in what looks like a variation of this unconfirmed piece of concept art that surfaced online a few months ago.
If legitimate, the fact that is originated with a licensee does raise some questions – like is the Yellowjacket image lifted straight from the film or is it based early concept art used to toys and other licensed merchandise, which can sometimes vary.
And the image does have a red flag or two. The Ant-Man and Yelllowjacket images appears to have been Photoshopped together using two different resolution images. Ant-Man appears upscaled and pixelated in the original size image, whereas Yellowjacket does not. This seems unlikely if the image originated with Marvel Studios.
Also potentially intriguing in this image is the small logo in the right-hand cover, labeled "Avengers Initiative." This phrase has been used in comics to reference a recruitment drive of sorts for the Avengers in both comics and movies, and if legitimate, it appears as if Ant-Man licensed products may be marketed under the Avengers umbrella in a newly-created brand. Of several Marvel-related banners to appear on the Aykroyd & Sons site, Ant-Man is the only one that carries the logo.
Disney declined to comment on the artwork Monday afternoon.