Marvel Reacts To Ardian Syaf Controversy

X-Men Gold - Ardian Syaf

Syaf Puts Bigoted Codewords Into X-Men Gold

Controversy erupted around Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf over the weekend as X-Men Gold readers discovered something disturbing. In his art for the series’ first issue, Syaf hid several allusions to Indonesian politics and certain passages of the Koran, reports. The references refer to protests against a Christian politician, who Indonesian Muslim hardliners have accused of heresy. The numbers 212 and 51 are seen referencing these protests. Additionally, notes that Syaf placed a reference to a certain passage in the Koran on Colossus’ shirt in a baseball scene. This passage, in the Indonesian tradition, reads as a command to not appoint Jews or Christians as leaders. To make matters worse, Syaf is of the majority population of Indonesia while the Christian politician is of a minority Chinese group. When this was discovered, social media erupted.

There are also anti-Jewish references in the art. These include place Kitty Pryde, a Jewish mutant, by a jewelry store sign so her head would be next to the “Jew” part of the word. This is particularly upsetting to some as the creators of the X-Men, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, were Jewish, as is X-Men Gold scribe Mark Guggenheim.

Marvel and Fellow Creators React

On Saturday night, Marvel issued the following statement:

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.”

Numerous comic book talent have reacted to the Syaf controversy. Most notably was Marvel writer, and Muslim convert, G. Willow Wilson:

She later expanded upon her thoughts in a Tumblr post on how Syaf’s interpretation was incomparable with modern Muslim belief. Other talent have reacted:





As of now, Syaf seems to be on the book, having completed issue two of X-Men Gold. However, in the wake of last weekend’s controversial comments in regards to diversity, Marvel’s back is to the wall. At the time of this writing, it is unknown if Syaf will be fired, or even removed from the title. On his personal Facebook page, Syaf remains unapologetic about his actions.

Stay tuned to Word of the Nerd as we cover this developing story.

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About the author

Daniel Kalban

Daniel is the writer of The Eagle webcomic and aspires to one day join his favorite writers at the Big 2. Until then, he keeps plugging away at various projects, as well as serving as a reporter for Word of the Nerd on various subjects, especially the DC Comics "beat".

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