Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf has hinted that he has been fired from his job after he inserted political and religious references tied to a blasphemy case that has embroiled Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama into a new Marvel comic.
Critics say the coded references inserted by Ardian, an Indonesian penciller who illustrated X-Men Gold, were anti-Christian and anti-Semitic. “My career is over now,” Ardian said in a Facebook post. “It’s the consequence [of] what I did, and I take it.”
“Please no more mockery, debate, no more hate,” he said. “I hope all in peace.”
The controversial images include an X-Men character Colossus wearing a shirt that reads “QS: 5:51,” referring to a verse in the Qur’an that some Indonesian Muslims interpret as forbidding Muslims from being led by Christians and Jews.
Another shows a building labeled “212,” in reference to a large protest by conservative Muslims against Basuki on December 2 last year.
Marvel said the images would be removed in subsequent print runs.
“The mentioned artwork in X-Men Gold #1 was inserted without knowledge behind its reported meanings,” Marvel said, according to Comicbook.com.
“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,” it said.
Reports pointed out that X-Mem Gold writer Marc Guggenheim and Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the creators of the X-Men franchise, are Jewish.
X-Men character Kitty Pryde, the youngest of the X-Men, is also Jewish.
Ardian, who has denied that he is anti-Semitic or anti-Christian, apologised in his Facebook post for “all the noise.”
Basuki, the first Christian to lead the capital in 50 years, is on trial on charges of blasphemy over remarks deemed insulting to the Qur’an.
The 50-year-old is currently seeking another term as governor and won the first round of voting on February 15. He faces former education minister Anies Baswedan, a Muslim, in a run-off vote set for April 19.