Marvel Comics was hit with a new scandal this weekend when it was discovered that X-Men: Gold artist Ardian Syaf who is of Indonesian descent hid anti-Christian and anti-Jewish messages in his artwork for issue number #1. BleedingCool.com
was the first to report the finding, and it has since blown up on social media.
In one art panel featured in the comic, Syaf hid the numbers 212
. According to Bleeding Cool, the 212 is in reference to a mass protest that took place in Indonesia last year on December 2 (2/12). In the protest, Muslims marched against the Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. They were protesting over allegations of blasphemy regarding his use of the Qu’ran in campaigning against opponents. Specifically over his speaking out against the verse Al Maidah 5: 51
, and saying that people should not believe those who claim it forbids Muslims from being led by non-Muslims. The verse in English translates as follows:
“O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are, in fact, allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is one of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.”
In the comic panel with these numbers, X-Men member Kitty Pryde who happens to be Jewish is addressing a crowd about her role as the new leader of the X-Men.
In a later panel, the number QS 5:51
appears on Colossus' shirt.
After the outcry on social media over this Marvel quickly released the following statement:
"The mentioned artwork in X-Men Gold #1 was inserted without knowledge behind its reported meanings. These implied references do not reflect the views of the writer, editors or anyone else at Marvel and are in direct opposition of the inclusiveness of Marvel Comics and what the X-Men have stood for since their creation. This artwork will be removed from subsequent printings, digital versions, and trade paperbacks and disciplinary action is being taken."
It's unclear exactly what disciplinary action will be taken against Ardian Syaf, but many are calling for him to be fired. As for the editors who let it slip by, no indication was given what repercussions if any they will face. I personally don't think the editors should face any major repercussions. These numbers are fairly obscure and I would not expect most people to know what their meaning is. However, I can't help but wonder how rare and valuable these early comics with the questionable art will become, and should we condemn anyone who tries to profit from the error?