Ardian Syaf was basically posting subtle terrorist messages. Did Marvel Comics fire him and report him to National Security? Hardly.
Ardian Syaf is an Indonesian comic book artist that works for several American comic publishers. He’s deliberately inserting subliminal messages against non-muslims 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.
Marvel Artist Ardian Syaf Hid Anti-Christian And Jewish Messages In This Week’s X-Men Comic
Posted by Rich Johnston, April 8, 2017
In Indonesia, 212 is the number used to denote a specific mass protest from 2nd December last year. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims marched against the Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok,, over allegations of blasphemy regarding his use of the Qu’ran in campaigning against opponents. The march was organised, in part, with the National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesian Ulema Council’s Fatwa. It was pretty hardline conservative and the protest demanded the government prosecute and jail Ahok based on the council’s fatwa, declaring him to be a blasphemer. This year, a 212 2.0 march with similar aims was held on the 21st of February.
Ahok caused a great deal of controversy in Indonesia after he referred to a verse in the Qur’an while campaigning, specifically the verse Al Maidah 5: 51 and said that people should not believe Islamic leaders who claim it forbids Muslims from being led by non-Muslims. He has since repeatedly apologised for his statements, but it hasn’t stemmed the protest.
The verse translates into English as “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.”
A more common Indonesian translation of the verse, however, states that “Muslims should not appoint the Jews and Christians as their leader”. So. What has this to do with comic books?
The number 212 and 51 appears in a scene of X-Men Gold #1 by Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf, published last Wednesday, with comic book character Kitty Pryde addressing the crowd. Let’s zoom in.
That would be the Jewish character Kitty Pryde, in a scene talking about being the new leader of the X-Men.
The X-Men were created in the sixties by Jewish creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, in a comic written by Marc Guggenheim, raised Jewish.
Later in the comic, on Colossus’ shirt, we see the letters and numbers QS 5:51 referring to that verse. QS stands for Qur’an Surah, with Surah meaning chapter.
Colossus is playing alongside Christian character Kurt Wagner, Nightcrawler. Ardian posted the original art image to the first on Facebook, to his Indonesian followers.
The messages were soon spotted.
It appears that Ardian added the messages to the comic after coming home from being on the march himself. Some of his readers objected to their use in such a comic book.
In previous works, Ardian Syaf has hidden political figures in the background – an issue of Batgirl featured mention of President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, who was the previous governor of Jakarta (or DKI as it is also known).
When that was posted, Ardian mentioned that no one had made a fuss.
But too late – the message has escaped onto social media.
And an open letter has been published to Marvel asking them to address the situation.
It wouldn’t be the first time comic book creators have snuck messages into comic books. Ethan Van Sciver spent most of his time on New X-Men hiding the word “Sex” in the background. Al Milgrom lettered a mocking message into a comic when Marvel EIC Bob Harras was fired. And there was the time a production artist drew a penis on Bucky in classic Captain America archive reprints. But conservative Islamic hate speech references? This may be a new challenge for Marvel to deal with in such difficult times for the publisher.
Neither Ardian Syaf nor Marvel representatives replied to inquiries made earlier today. UPDATE: Marvel has now issued a statement.
From Marvel’s response:
Marvel Comics did not respond directly to Bleeding Cool’s inquiries earlier today, but we have received their response indirectly. They state,
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.
It has been noted that this does not include any apology. As to what may happen with Syaf, there are no details. We will keep an eye on any developments.