Al Ewing has announced that he will no longer work with his long-time Immortal Hulk creative partner, Joe Bennett, after the artist produced a piece of pro-Jair Bolsonaro artwork, which the Marvel writer described as ‘reprehensible propaganda.’
The artwork in question, posted to Facebook by the Brazillian artist himself in 2017, depicts the current Brazillian president as a sword wielding military general in shining armor, wielding a shining sword and riding astride a flaming horse, chasing down and beheading rat-like representations of his political opponents, including (as identified by Bleeding Cool) former Brazilian Presidents Dilma Rousseff, Michel Temer, and Luiz Inácio da Silva, as well as Senator Aécio Neves.
“Onward my captain! Brazil needs you!” Bennett captioned the photo, adding that his piece was colored by Marcos Martins (assumed to be the Brazillian Marvel artist of the same name).
Bennett’s artwork subsequently caught the attention of Ewing, who took to his personal Twitter account on September 2nd to publicly denounce the piece, which he found to be “reprehensible.”
“If you’ve seen the image, you know what it is,” explained Ewing. “An armoured swordsman, which I assume represents Bolsonaro given Joe’s commentary, slaughtering tiny, scurrying people, with the buck teeth and ears of rats. And big noses. One of them is cosplaying Dracula.”
“I’m assuming these are political enemies of some kind, but even if not, the tropes are apparent,” he continued. “Human beings as vermin being exterminated. Even if it’s no longer up, that it was drawn in the first place, signed, and so proudly displayed by Joe speaks volumes.”
Ewing further noted that “This isn’t the first issue with Joe that I’ve been made aware of. I’ve spoken behind the scenes, but that’s no comfort to people at the sharp end of this kind of brutal propaganda. My lack of public visibility on this has let people down, and I apologise.”
The storied Marvel writer then informed his followers that, “In the interests of adding some material action to that apology, I’ve made donations to Rainbow Railroad and the Rainforest Trust. I understand if that feels like an empty or insufficient gesture for those reading this.”
Turning to the subject of his working relationship with Bennett, Ewing asserted, “Immortal Hulk is done, but I won’t be working with Joe again. If people choose not to pick up my work with other artists in the future on the basis of my handling of this, I understand and accept that. If I’ve lost your trust, that’s on me.”
“I can’t speak for Joe on this,” the writer added. “He can speak on it for himself. But I will say that it’s not up to him – or me – what those hurt by his behaviour in the past should be willing to accept from him now. He’s made his bed.”
As his lengthy thread on Bennett drew to a close, Ewing lamented, “With all this said, I’m probably going to remain off Twitter myself for now, and not read or reply to mentions for a while.”
“Again, if that feels insufficient, I understand,” he concluded. “Thank you for reading.”
This is not the first time that Bennett’s artwork has caused controversy.
Earlier this year, a spelling error and an attempted reference to esteemed horror filmmaker David Cronenberg seen in the artwork of The Immortal Hulk #43 resulted in Bennett facing accusations of anti-semitism, all of which he promptly and fervently denied.
What do you make of Ewing’s declaration that he will no longer work with Bennett? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!