Maus creator Art Spiegelman claims that his introduction for the upcoming Marvel: The Golden Age 1939–1949 collection was rejected because the publisher wants to remain “apolitical.”
Spiegelman wrote in The Guardian that he turned his essay into the Folio Society in June. However, he reports that a Folio Society editor told him that “Marvel Comics (evidently the co-publisher of the book) is trying to now stay ‘apolitical,’ and is not allowing its publications to take a political stance.”
Spiegelman added that they requested him to remove a reference to the Red Skull that was included in the essay.
“I was asked to alter or remove the sentence that refers to the Red Skull or the intro could not be published. I didn’t think of myself as especially political compared with some of my fellow travellers, but when asked to kill a relatively anodyne reference to an Orange Skull I realised that perhaps it had been irresponsible to be playful about the dire existential threat we now live with, and I withdrew my introduction.”
That reference to Red Skull refers to President Donald Trump as the Orange Skull. Not only does it refer to President Trump, but it insinuates he’s growing “international fascism.”
The reference was published by Spiegelman in The Guardian along with what Spiegelman claims is the majority of his essay that would be used as an introduction in the book.
“Auschwitz and Hiroshima make more sense as dark comic book cataclysms than as events in our real world. In today’s all too real world, Captain America’s most nefarious villain, the Red Skull, is alive on screen and an Orange Skull haunts America. International fascism again looms large (how quickly we humans forget – study these golden age comics hard, boys and girls!) and the dislocations that have followed the global economic meltdown of 2008 helped bring us to a point where the planet itself seems likely to melt down. Armageddon seems somehow plausible and we’re all turned into helpless children scared of forces grander than we can imagine, looking for respite and answers in superheroes flying across screens in our chapel of dreams.”
Spiegelman would then describe President Trump as a “dire existential threat.”
“I didn’t think of myself as especially political compared with some of my fellow travellers, but when asked to kill a relatively anodyne reference to an Orange Skull I realised that perhaps it had been irresponsible to be playful about the dire existential threat we now live with, and I withdrew my introduction.”
Spiegelman’s claim about Marvel Comics claiming to be “apolitical” is hard to believe. Just recently, they had an alter-ego of Bruce Banner and the Hulk come out and support transgender rights. (Related: Marvel Comics Reveals The Hulk and Bruce Banner’s Alter Ego Supports Transgender Rights)
And maybe the biggest rebuttal of Spiegelman’s claim comes from current Marvel Comics writer Saladin Ahmed. Ahmed recently declared, “Politics are central to the story for me.” (Related: Marvel Comics Writer Saladin Ahmed: We Live in an “Omnipresent Culture of Misogynist White Supremacist Violence”)
What do you make of Spiegelman’s claim that Marvel Comics is trying to stay “apolitical.” Do you buy it?