In the last couple of days, there has been a lot of controversy between Marvel Comics and artist, Ardian Syaf. X-Men Gold #1, illustrated by Syaf, included various numbers and letters in the art that were references to a controversy in Syaf’s home country of Indonesia involving the Christian Governor of Jakarta, who claimed that his opponents were misusing a verse from the Quran to argue that people should not vote for a Christian as their Governor.
The publisher says that Ardian’s contract has been “terminated immediately,” but that his work will still be seen on shelves.
“My career is over now,” Syaf wrote. “It’s the consequence what I did, and I take it. Please no more mockery, debate, no more hate. I hope all in peace. In this last chance, I want to tell you the true meaning of the numbers, 212 and QS 5:51. It is number of JUSTICE. It is number of LOVE. My love to Holy Qur’an … my love to the last prophet, the Messenger … my love to ALLAH, The One God.”
“My apologize for all the noise. Good bye, May God bless you all. I love all of you.”
Issues two and three of X-Men: Gold, where he was the lead artist, have already been sent to print.
Most prominently in the comic were references to the Quran verse in question, Quran Surah 5:51, which Syaf drew on Colossus’ t-shirt. In response to the outpouring of anger against his actions, Syaf has released a statement stating, “My career is over.”
Here is a picture of all the references made in the comic.
Marvel also released a statement on the controversial art.
“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.”
X-Men Gold #1 was illustrated by Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf. Syaf snuck several references into the art, including numbers referencing protests by Muslim Indonesians of the Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who himself was accused of making certain intolerant statements.
He drew X-Men leader Kitty Pryde, a Jewish character, in front of a jewelry store with only the first three letters of the word clearly visible.
It is worth noting that the X-Men were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, two Jewish creators. Marc Guggenheim, the writer of X-Men Gold #1, is himself Jewish. Even within the context of the issue, the X-Men are led by Kitty Pryde, who is Jewish and a former love interest of Colossus. Colossus’ best friend, Nightcrawler, is also a Catholic priest and is part of the team.
X-Men Gold released on Wednesday and was generally well-received by fans. The controversy came to the forefront this morning when the references to the Qu’ran verses and Jakarta protests were noted on social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook, as well as on Reddit.