Marvel Comics has recently drawn flak after an Indonesian Muslim artist included coded anti-Semitic and anti-Christian references in the pages of the first issue of its latest "X-Men Gold" comic.
Artist Ardian Syaf has been criticized for inserting coded references to the religious and political turmoil going on in his home country. Some of his fans also slammed him for including in the comics some references that indicate his support for the hardline Islamist movement against Jakarta's Christian Gov. Basuki Purnama Tjahaja, aka "Ahok," who is facing blasphemy charges after allegedly quoting the Quranic verse QS 5:51, Heat Street details.
In one of the "X-Men Gold" comic panels, Syaf displayed the number "51" on the shirt of a man clenching his fist among the crowd while listening disapprovingly to Kitty Pryde, an X-Men character of Jewish descent. Comicbook notes that Kitty's head is placed near the "Jew" portion of a sign that reads "Jewelry."
The panel shows the number "212" on a storefront. The number is known as the date (Dec. 2, 2016) on which a massive protest against Ahok was held. Meanwhile, X-Man Colossus is also featured wearing a shirt bearing the letters "QS 5:51" in another panel.
In response to the backlash against Syaf's hidden anti-Christian and anti-Semitic references in "X-Men Gold," Marvel released a statement to ComicBook, explaining that the meaning of the hidden references were not known when Syaf's artwork was inserted. The company also said the controversial artwork will be taken out of the next versions of "X-Men Gold."
"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," Marvel said in its official statement. "This artwork will be removed from subsequent printings, digital versions, and trade paperbacks and disciplinary action is being taken."
Syaf is a freelance artist for Marvel Comics. The disciplinary action that he will undergo is still unknown.