Marvel Comics plans to take “disciplinary action” against an artist who slipped political propaganda into a comic book.
The comic book giant has been under fire since it was revealed that Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf used Islamist and anti-Semitic verses in the series released on Wednesday, “X-Men Gold #1.”
Fans started to point out the hidden messages on social media, prompting Marvel to announce Saturday that it would pull some of the images, according to Time.
“The mentioned artwork in X-Men Gold No. 1 was inserted without knowledge behind its reported meanings,” Marvel Comics said in a statement 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. This artwork will be removed from subsequent printings, digital versions, and trade paperbacks and disciplinary action is being taken.”
Some of the references created by Ardian, who is an Indonesian artist, appear to attack Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama of Jakarta, Indonesia. His 2014 election victory marked the city’s first non-Muslim governor and was highly controversial with conservative Islamists arguing that only Muslims should be elected to high office.
There are at least two specific references to the governor in the comic book, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Also included is a reference to a Quran passage that some interpret as condemning Jews and Christians as allies.
Despite the backlash, Ardian has defended the comic book’s artwork.
“Making friends [with Jews and Christians] is okay,” he told the Jakarta Post. “Who said it’s forbidden? I have a lot of Jewish and Christian friends. [But] choosing a non[-Muslim] as a leader is forbidden. That’s what the verse says. What can I do as a Muslim? If I worked at DC, I could put [the messages] in a Superman comic book.”
This article was originally published in the New York Post.