Not all protest art resonates with its audience. One of Marvel’s comic book artists—or shall we say, likely former artists—found out the hard way this past weekend.
According to The New York Times, Indonesian fans of the comic pointed out secret political messages artist Ardian Syaf had hidden in panels of the first issue of X-Men Gold. The Indonesian penciller put references to verses from the Quran that translate roughly with anti-Christian and anti-Semitic meanings, as an apparent statement about the political situation in his home country.
In one panel, the character Colossus is seen wearing a shirt with a verse from the Quran on it (see above). Indonesian readers interpreted this as a religiously and politically motivated slight at both Christians and Jews—especially targeting Jakarta’s new Christian governor, the first in 50-plus years in the country, the population of which is predominantly Muslim.
Marvel has since said it will remove the artwork from the issue and would discipline Syaf. Apparently, really discipline him.
Now, in the wake of the controversy, the artist himself is saying he’s done with comics for good. “My career is over now,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “Please no more mockery, [debate], no more hate.”
The controversy is an additional blow to Marvel, who is already dealing with the fallout from a sales executive’s highly criticized comments about diversity and female characters in the company’s comic book lines.
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