Ardian Syaf, the artist who has come under fire for sneaking controversial political and religious references into X-Men Gold #1, responded to the criticisms on his Facebook page late last night.
The Facebook post has since been removed from Syaf’s page, but it included screenshots of an exchange Syaf had in which the Indonesian artist says “I don’t hate Christian or Jew.”
The controversy involves references to protests against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the Christian governor of Jakarta who has been accused of blaspheming the Quran. Syaf drew Colossus wearing a shirt reading “QS 5:51,” citing a passage from the Quran that is translated into Indonesian as “Muslims should not appoint the Jews and Christians as their leader.” The number 51 appears elsewhere throughout the issue, further referencing the passage, as does the number 212, which references protests against the governor that took place on Dec. 2.
In the same social media exchange, Syaf confirms the political and religious references were intentional. He also stated, “I told all Marvel the truth [sic] meaning of the number,” he wrote, “let’s see how Marvel will act.
Marvel did act yesterday, releasing a statement about the issue to ComicBook.com distancing itself from Syaf’s political and religious messaging and stating that disciplinary action would be taken against the artist, though no details on what form that action would take were provided.
“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.”
G. Willow Wilson, a writer for Marvel Comics and a Muslim, also wrote about the X-Men Gold controversy, disputing the Indonesian translation of the Quran passage in question and criticizing Syaf for his philosophy.
This is all to say that Ardian Syaf can keep his garbage philosophy. He has committed career suicide; he will rapidly become irrelevant. But his nonsense will continue to affect the scant handful of Muslims who have managed to carve out careers in comics. From what I can deduce off of Facebook, it appears he is trying to claim the Charlie Hebdo defense…ie, he doesn’t mean anything by it; we just don’t understand the nuance and subtly of the local bigotry. Much good may it do him. Goodbye, Ardian Syaf. We hardly knew ye, which is just as well.