Marvel artist punished over hidden Islamist and anti-Semitic messages

By Elizabeth Keatinge, Veuer

Disciplinary action was taken against a Marvel Comic artist, according to comicbook.com, because he inserted hidden Islamist and antisemitic references into X-Men Gold #1.

Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf says he included the references to the election of the governor of Indonesia's capital Jakarta.

It's been one of India's most polarizing elections and it's about more than choosing the city's leader.

There's Chinese Christian incumbent, Basuki Ahok Tjahaja Purnam.

Then there are Muslim rivals. They won the support of hard-line Islamists.

Some say the election has bigger representations about choosing between pluralism and increasingly fundamentalist Islam.

In the comic, there is one scene where Ardian says he drew the character Colossus with a T-Shirt that says "QS 5:51." It's a reference to a Quranic verse.

According to fundamentalist interpretations, it prohibits Muslims from electing a Christian or Jewish leader.

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7 Less-Known But Very Valuable Comic Books
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7 Less-Known But Very Valuable Comic Books
Why collectors want it: First appearance of the "Silver Age" -- or post-World War II -- version of The Flash, a key member of DC Comics' Justice League. Actor Grant Gustin is set to play the scarlet speedster when The CW airs "The Flash" Tuesday nights this fall.

Recent Heritage Auctions high bid: $179,250 for a copy professionally graded 9.6 out of 10.

Sandoval's advice: "It's the most valuable Silver Age DC comic for good reason. The Flash's costume hasn't changed much in the last 60 years, which is a good thing if you're thinking about the potential demand in years to come. We usually only handle about five copies a year, in any grade, making it much tougher to find than the key Marvel books of the same era."
Why collectors want it: First appearance of the Silver Age Green Lantern. Even though a 2011 movie starring Ryan Reynolds as DC's ring-slinger failed at the box office, Warner reportedly plans a big-screen team-up with The Flash timed for the 2017 holiday season.

Recent Heritage Auctions high bid: $59,750 for a copy professionally graded 9.0 out of 10.

Sandoval's advice: "This book seldom turns up in 'very fine' (8.0) or better condition. Since there's no text on the cover indicating that this is the first appearance of a new character, I bet there are copies of this in some attics or basements because people don't realize it's so valuable."
Why collectors want it: First appearance of Wonder Woman, though she neither appears nor is mentioned on the cover. Gal Gadot will play DC's Amazon powerhouse in May 2016's "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice." She's then reportedly due for a July 2017 solo film. Older fans will remember Lynda Carter from the "Wonder Woman" TV show that ran from 1975 to 1979.

Recent Heritage Auctions high bid: $56,762.50 for a copy professionally graded 8.0 out of 10.

Sandoval's advice: "It's the first appearance of a major character, yet it's not one of the 20 most valuable 'Golden Age' (i.e., World War II and earlier) comics. I can understand why some would see that as a buying opportunity."
Why collectors want it: First appearance of Superboy, although you wouldn't know it from the cover. Instead, his debut is reserved for a five-page insert drawn by Superman co-creator Joe Shuster. Superboy has since headlined the long-running TV series "Smallville" and appeared in civilian form in "Superman: The Movie" and "Man of Steel."

Recent Heritage Auctions high bid: $28,680 for a copy professionally graded 9.6 out of 10.

Sandoval's advice: "At the risk of stating the obvious: Superboy is just Superman when he was younger, which is why some don't see him as a separate character. But a lot of kids wanted to be Superboy, and that makes them passionate about collecting his appearances. The cover is nondescript, so you have to know comics to recognize this one as a key issue."
Why collectors want it: First appearance of Groot, the tree-like "Monarch of Planet X" who goes on to become a key member of the "Guardians of the Galaxy." Actor Vin Diesel voices the character in director James Gunn's upcoming adaptation, which opens on Aug. 1.

Recent Heritage Auctions high bid: $1,123.30 for a copy professionally graded 3.5 out of 10.

Sandoval's advice: "You want to invest in characters that have staying power, and you'd really have to be a riverboat gambler to place your bet on Groot. Personally, I would say take whatever you are thinking of spending on this book and put it toward the best copy you can afford of Hulk No. 181, which features the first full-length comic book appearance of Wolverine."
Why collectors want it: First appearance of Rocket Raccoon, another key member of the Guardians and arguably the star of Gunn's film. Bradley Cooper voices the gun-toting varmint while Skottie Young is writing and illustrating a new solo comic book featuring the character.

Recent Heritage Auctions high bid: $621.40 for a copy professionally graded 9.8 out of 10.

Sandoval's advice: "Lots of people hoarded Marvel Comics from the 1980s, so this book can't be considered rare. Also, for a character that's been around 30 years, the only comic book series he has ever headlined was a four-issue series in 1985. So how broad can his appeal be?"

Why collectors want it: Reprints of Charles Schulz's world-famous comic strip had appeared in other titles, such as "Tip Top Comics" and "Fritzi Ritz," but never before had a comic book simply dubbed "Peanuts" reached newsstands. What's more, this one contains a number of rare reprints from the earliest days of the strip, according to author and comic book historian Dr. Michael J. Vassallo.

Recent Heritage Auctions high bid: $13,145 for a copy professionally graded 8.5 out of 10.

Sandoval's advice: "This one is legitimately hard to find, and you could argue that the Peanuts characters are as popular as Superman or Batman. The Peanuts newspaper strip literally ran for 50 years, a great track record."

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In another scene, there is a Jewish character named Kitty Pryde who is drawn together with a sign reading "Jewelry" and her head is drawn next to the part that says "Jew."

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the creators of X-Men, were both Jewish.

Other comic book artists chimed in, such as Ario Anindito, who works for Marvel.

He said, "What he has done in the recent X-Men book is very disrespectful and unprofessional."

The artwork has been removed.

In a statement to comicbook.com, Marvel said, "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."

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