Freelance Marvel artist Ardian Syaf may have just flushed his comic drawing career down the toilet after he was caught hiding subliminal hate messages against Jews and Christians in X-Men Gold #1.
The whole controversy was first spotted by someone from Indonesia who posted on the Marvel subreddit when they spotted the artwork and explained the issue in-depth:
“Ardian Syaf is an Indonesian comic book artist that works for several American comic publishers. He’s deliberately inserting subliminal messages about conservative Islamic political movement in 2017 Jakarta Election in Marvel’s comics. One of the messages written is “QS 5:51”. It is a Quranic verse which states that “Muslims should not take the Jews and Christians as their allies/friends”. Indonesian translation of the verse states that “Muslims should not appoint the Jews and Christians as their leader”, thus the Quranic verse is being used by Islamists to prevent the reelection of a Christian governor of Jakarta. Another subliminal message is “212”. It refers to the mass protest by Islamists in Jakarta that took place on December 2nd, 2016. Hence the “212”. The protesters demanded the prosecution of the Christian Governor for allegedly committing “blasphemy” towards the Quran.”
This is the page with the hidden messages:
Obviously this blew up pretty big over the weekend. Not only was the X-Men created by two Jewish creators (Stan Lee & Jack Kirby), but the current leader of the X-Men Kitty Pride is Jewish (and she was on that page). Colossus, who has the 5:51 message on his shirt is a long-time boyfriend to Kitty and his other best friend is Nightcrawler, who’s so Catholic he was once a priest.
After a few hours of internet rage, Marvel did issue a statement to ComicBook.com:
â€œThe 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.â€
However, the Marvel subreddit found that Syaf is unapologetic about hiding the messages and was posting messages yesterday on his Facebook basically defending what he did.
Marvel’s Ms. Marvel writer responded pretty harshly to Syaf:
Yeah pardon my French but f**k this guy. Kiss your career goodbye. https://t.co/jkLsJlCfEn
— G. Willow Wilson (@GWillowWilson) April 9, 2017
It’s still unclear what Marvel’s “disciplinary actions” may be to Ardian Syaf. Hopefully they (and DC, Image, and any other comic publisher) blacklist him. Because frankly, his art is garbage even without hate messages hidden in it.