In Which Marvel Sides With Hydra
August 18, 2019 12:57 PM   Subscribe

While preparing an upcoming anthology its "golden age", Marvel Comics reached out to comic book artist Art Spiegelman to provide an introduction. However, towards the end of his essay Spiegelman had a sentence critical of the current president, and Marvel asked him to remove it, claiming that Marvel wanted to stay "apoltical". Instead, Spiegelman has withdrawn the entire essay. (Fortunately UK outlet The Guardian has shared it.)

The offending reference was in the last paragraph:
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.
Some might argue that that this new "apolitical" stance - after a history of its heroes taking definite anti-Fascist positions - is because of Marvel's Chairman Ike Perlmutter's sizeable donations to Trump's administration and status as one of Trump's unofficial advisors (a connection which actor Armie Hammer recently pointed out during the furor over the Soul Cycle CEO for similar donor activity).

Fortunately, the work of Marvel's own artists and filmmakers have provided copious examples of how even people who aren't superheroes can stand up against fascism.
posted by EmpressCallipygos (23 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
 
WWJD

What Would Jack Do?

SPOILER: “…Jack took a call. A voice on the other end said, ‘There are three of us down here in the lobby. We want to see the guy who does this disgusting comic book and show him what real Nazis would do to his Captain America’. To the horror of others in the office, Kirby rolled up his sleeves and headed downstairs. The callers, however, were gone by the time he arrived.”
posted by entropicamericana at 1:09 PM on August 18, 2019 [155 favorites]


Hail Hydra.
posted by adamrice at 2:04 PM on August 18, 2019


Good for Art.
posted by rodlymight at 2:10 PM on August 18, 2019 [11 favorites]


Good for Spiegelman, and fuck Perlmutter.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:36 PM on August 18, 2019 [29 favorites]


There is no such thing as apolitical. The whole concept is a weapon wielded by people who have the luxury of the status quo on their side.
posted by Nothing at 2:39 PM on August 18, 2019 [146 favorites]


Uh, Marvel Entertainment is headed by one of the biggest Trump donors. It is very political indeed.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:45 PM on August 18, 2019 [6 favorites]


Er, yes, the fact of Marvel being headed by a Trump donor is mentioned in the post.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:03 PM on August 18, 2019 [11 favorites]


So do Marvel's comics never reference Trump at all?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:08 PM on August 18, 2019


Marvel makes comics?
posted by loquacious at 3:11 PM on August 18, 2019 [7 favorites]


I'm sorry I won't see/read how some of their stories end. They've been a big part of the cultural gestalt but I won't indulge, and whenever marvel is mentioned in my presence I'll be right there saying that patronizing their product is supporting modern Nazism. There is no apolitical consumption.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:29 PM on August 18, 2019 [8 favorites]


It's a great essay. I am amazed that Perlmutter allows Chris Evans the freedom to tweet to his 12.9 million followers whatever thoughtful, eviscerating take down he comes up with of Orange Skull. Like this one with 184 thousand likes. Captain America, indeed.
posted by pjsky at 3:52 PM on August 18, 2019 [9 favorites]


i can't begin to explain how happy it makes me that chris evans and mark hamill are both as equally awesome as their fictional counterparts
posted by entropicamericana at 3:56 PM on August 18, 2019 [37 favorites]


It's a great essay. I am amazed that Perlmutter allows Chris Evans the freedom to tweet to his 12.9 million followers whatever thoughtful, eviscerating take down he comes up with of Orange Skull. Like this one with 184 thousand likes. Captain America, indeed.

Perlmutter has been pushed out of any role at Marvel Studios; he only has control over the publishing company, as I understand it.
posted by kewb at 5:09 PM on August 18, 2019 [3 favorites]


Perlmutter is still the chairman of Marvel Entertainment, the umbrella company for Marvel, but that in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of Disney, so it's unclear whether he has any actual power. (Wikipedia says that Jeph Loeb, who's currently head of Marvel's TV properties, reports to him, for what that's worth.) I doubt very, very much that this stance has anything to do with Perlmutter directly, and imagine that it probably has a lot to do with Disney not wanting to anger a certain extremely vindictive chief executive.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:22 PM on August 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yah, us rank and file middle managers at larger companies can internalize risk aversion pretty well without actually getting yelled at by the CEO (or even imagining that's likely.)
posted by mark k at 5:31 PM on August 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


Let me work this out for my own understanding: Marvel asked Art Spiegelman (author of Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus) to write an essay about Marvel's Golden Age (which introduced characters like Captain America, created by unapologetic anti-fascist Jack Kirby), and Marvel is wringing their hands over Spiegelman being too political

Haha oh my god

To be fair, I am 0% surprised
posted by lesser weasel at 5:33 PM on August 18, 2019 [82 favorites]


Let me work this out for my own understanding: Marvel asked Art Spiegelman (author of Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus) to write an essay about Marvel's Golden Age (which introduced characters like Captain America, created by unapologetic anti-fascist Jack Kirby), and Marvel is wringing their hands over Spiegelman being too political

To be a little more precise, I think it was the Folio Society, a niche reissue publisher (kind of like the Criterion Collection, but for books) who licensed the Marvel content and commissioned the Art Spiegelman essay. I haven't seen anything that indicated Spiegelman had any direct dealings with Marvel, just that he received their request to make the edit secondhand through Folio Society. So maybe, like, a Folio Society editor got a little ambitious and didn't realize he was opening up a can of worms, but at least I don't think this was Marvel's idea in the first place.
posted by Mothlight at 6:11 PM on August 18, 2019 [3 favorites]


If Marvel wanted to avoid politics they should've just let Stephen Colbert win the 2008 election.
posted by ckape at 6:26 PM on August 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


Perlmutter is still the chairman of Marvel Entertainment, the umbrella company for Marvel, but that in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of Disney, so it's unclear whether he has any actual power. (Wikipedia says that Jeph Loeb, who's currently head of Marvel's TV properties, reports to him, for what that's worth.)

Perlmutter was frozen out on the film side of Marvel four years ago. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was unhappy with Perlmutter's bullshit and got Disney to bring Marvel Studios under Walt Disney Studios so that Feige reports directly to WDS CEO Alan Horn, with Perlmutter having no control on that end. He still holds sway over the TV and the publishing arms of Marvel.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:08 PM on August 18, 2019 [11 favorites]


It's totally fair to turn up your nose at Ike Perlmutter and his bullshit. But there are actually hundreds of artists who work for Marvel, many of whom are actively critical of the right, the GOP, Trump, and creeping fascism and are clear about it in their work.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:20 PM on August 18, 2019 [13 favorites]


Spiegelman's reason for withdrawing the essay is a piece of genius.

He did not withdraw it because he objected to being asked to remove the Orange Skull reference; but because he 'realized that perhaps it had been irresponsible to be playful about the dire existential threat we now live with'.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 2:41 AM on August 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


Art Spiegelman is basically citing Pres. Supervillain.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:35 AM on August 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Just in case anyone forgot, Perlmutter is not only a top supporter of the Orange Skull, he helps kill wounded soldiers by being one of Mar-A-Lago's Shadow Rulers of the VA.. Perlmutter basically is a Hydra agent except Hydra is composed of know-nothing rich white guys.
posted by benzenedream at 7:44 AM on August 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


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