Marvel fires Indonesian artist who hid anti-Christian, anti-Semitic messages in X-Men comic

Numbers with references to a Quran verse and links to a rally asking for the arrest of a Christian politician in Jakarta were snuck into artwork for the Marvel X-Men comic.
Numbers with references to a Quran verse and links to a rally asking for the arrest of a Christian politician in Jakarta were snuck into artwork for the Marvel X-Men comic. PHOTO: IMGUR/REDDIT USER KINDA1994GUY

Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf has been sacked by Marvel after stirring controversy by hiding anti-Christian and anti-Semitic messages in a recent issue of the X-Men comic.

The publisher said in a statement on Wednesday (April 12) that Ardian's contract has been terminated "effective immediately".

Ardian, who was lead artist on the first three issues of X-Men: Gold, inserted the numbers 212 and 5:51 into scenes in the first issue.

X-Men leader Kitty Pryde, a Jewish character, was drawn in front of a jewellery store that bore the number 212.

It was a reference to Dec 2, a day of mass protests last year against Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, who is a Christian of Chinese descent.

A second scene shows X-Men member Colossus wearing a shirt printed with the the number 5:51, a reference to a verse in the Quran about which Ahok allegedly misspoke.


The cover artwork for the new comic series X-Men: Gold. PHOTO: MARVEL: INSTAGRAM 

The verse reads: "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."

 

Marvel said issues 4-9 of X-Men: Gold will be drawn by substitute artists while it searches for a permanent replacement.

In an earlier statement, Marvel said the artwork was "inserted without knowledge behind its reported meanings". It added that the artwork will be removed from subsequent printings and digital versions.

Ardian has since posted an apology on his Facebook account, in which he also stated that "my career is now over".

"It's the consequence what I did, and I take it. Please no more mockery, debate, no more hate. I hope all in peace," he wrote.


Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf has worked for several American comic book publishers, including Marvel and DC Comics. PHOTO: ARDIAN SYAF

"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."