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Scribbly
04-13-2017, 06:38 AM
Marvel's artist fired over hidden messages on artwork:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-entertainment-news-updates-april-marvel-officially-terminates-x-men-1491945410-htmlstory.html

Marvel has fired “X-Men Gold” artist Ardian Syaf after the controversy over the politically charged hidden messages*in the first issue.
“Marvel has terminated Ardian Syaf’s contract effective immediately,” the company said in a statement that also explained that Syaf’s work will still be seen in “X-Men Gold” Nos. 2 and 3 because the next two issues of the bi-weekly series have already been shipped to the printer.
https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/04/marvel-fires-artist-ardian-syaf-for-hiding-politic.html

http://www.polygon.com/comics/2017/4/11/15256972/x-men-gold-marvel?yptr=yahoo

The Spirit
04-13-2017, 08:32 AM
Wow that's surprising.

Buckyrig
04-13-2017, 12:28 PM
Politically charged?

The artist's 'political' position is that people should be prosecuted for blasphemy (which apparently it wasn't even) and Christians and Jews shouldn't be allowed to hold political positions.

And then a "Jewelry" sign is suspiciously placed (in light of the hidden messages) near Kitty's head in a panel.

Call it what it is. Bigotry.

Steve Colle
04-13-2017, 03:20 PM
As an addition (or an aside), there's a two-panel sequence where Kitty is in the stands talking to Wolverine in the background. Kurt is about to swing the bat in the foreground and when he does in the second panel, it just happens to connect in front of Kitty's face. Convenient. The fact that Kurt is German, I'm sure, played a role in that particular artistic choice. Too many coincidences to not be deliberate. I think Marvel had no choice but to terminate his contract.

Stewart Vernon
04-15-2017, 02:53 AM
I discussed this quite a bit on a few timelines on Facebook last week...

I feel like the first problem was that the artist here did all the "easter egg" messaging behind his editor, writer, and Marvel's back. Even if he had hidden benevolent stuff, to me that was a no-go from the start.

The artist, in my opinion, just doesn't have blanket permission to do whatever he wants in the background without at least giving the writer and editor a heads-up. The editor needs to have the chance to make sure the easter eggs are benevolent and are in sync with the writer and the company's overall intent.

You simply can't sneak stuff by your writer and editor like that... and end up putting them and the company on the spot to answer to how that got through!

THEN... when you factor in that the stuff he was sneaking in was political, religious, and racially charged... and appears to be something intentionally negative (hence why he sneaked it rather than tell anyone about it beforehand)... he basically wrote his own ticket out of the big leagues here.

It's one thing to do cute gags and put your friend's names on tombstones and stuff in a comic... but you'd tell the writer/editor about it OR it would be something that is immediately obvious to them. You don't sneak secret religious, political, gang, or whatever messages into books.

IF this guy was working a creator-owned book that was HIS book... then he could do whatever he wants... and people could buy it or not and he'd only be risking his own fortune. As it is, he put a lot of other people's necks on the line for his choices. That, as much as the negative message itself, is gonna get him blacklisted big time.

So, basically... multiple reasons why I don't feel sorry for the guy.

Steve Colle
04-15-2017, 12:32 PM
I was amazed at the backlash the book's editors were getting for not catching the antisemitic visual messages: amazed, but not surprised. To understand why this content didn't get seen and edited out before publication, the public needs to understand four important factors:

1) Time allowance in a tight production schedule;
2) Number of hands the material goes through while understanding not all of them work to fine tune;
3) Knowledge and experience of those editors;
4) Art vs. writing in the editorial process.

In a company with an editor-in-chief, executive editors, group editors, editors, and assistant editors dealing with the production of multiple monthly titles, the assistant editor is the closest to the material and the creators who produce it. These assistant editors have tight deadlines to maintain on getting concept to script to pencils to inks to colors and letters, with individual pages moving forward as soon as they are completed instead of waiting for an entire package to be collected before going to the next stage of production. To describe creating and publishing a comic as anything short of a production line doesn't properly define the process. The editor, as quality control, is doing their best to catch any and all mistakes and misinformation before it goes to the next stage in as quick and efficient a manner as possible. Two points make matters harder: 1) once the pages move to the next creator, they can't be pulled back for correction to maintain the schedule and 2) there is usually more than one title they are working on to juggle around. That's with the obvious stuff or problems that are closer to the surface, not content that isn't as obvious. To give you an idea of how this tight process effects the writer, I cite a conversation I had with Len Strazewski in 1992 when I asked him if he ever regretted not making a change in an issue. He explained that the process is so quick that you can't work to make it perfect, just make it good enough and then hope you can make adjustments in the next issue.

Second, just like any business that has workers, supervisors, managers, general managers, owners, and other positions interspersed in the mix, the editorial positions in comics are likewise a case of who takes care of the big picture and who is responsible over the finer details. Though there are potentially many editorial hands this will go through (and even the hands of the other creators who may catch something before going to press), the fact remains that each set of eyes will have a different level of connection and time to each issue's content. If it isn't blatant or standing out like a sore thumb, it will most likely get missed. It's the nature of the scheduling beast.

Third, the editor's knowledge and experience can either work for them or, in this case, have a detriment on the final product. That's one of the reasons many eyes see the work before it goes to press. Working as an editor - as I speak from experience - is like having a radar scanning for anything that either stands out or doesn't seem quite right. A lot of it is feeling-based, where a bit of doubt can send the editor looking for one of two things: confirmation that the material is correct or confirmation that the feeling was right and a change needs to occur. To be honest, that's where personal knowledge and experience play a big role. However, if you don't have those, things may slide by. Having worked with Comixtribe in the past, I know Steven Forbes and Tyler James have caught things I have missed, even things as "small" as the misuse of a crossbar I in a word balloon. Steven, who has military experience that I don't, knows the proper names for firearms where I don't. Even if I were to look them up, would I know which firearm an individual would use in any given instance? I may not, but with time, I could at least try to find out for the betterment of the story. If the assistant editor or those others who were looking over this material didn't know the source material of these antisemitic images, would they have known to take it out?

Finally, the fact remains that most editors spend the most time on the writing. It's the first step of the process and most often the background that the editor has come from, either with degrees in literature, journalism, or other written experience. Mostly ;). With that said, those editors who don't have as much experience in the artistic aspects of sequential art, from form to design, can't always see the little things when the big things aren't obvious to them.

All together or independently, each of these points factor into things getting missed. We're human.

Steve Colle
04-15-2017, 02:06 PM
Just found this on Bleeding Cool:

https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/04/15/marvel-comics-amend-ardian-syafs-artwork-x-men-gold-1-adding-grocery/

Interesting. I'm going to take a look at my copy to see if there was anything else that might have gotten missed...

Stewart Vernon
04-15-2017, 06:37 PM
I never blamed the editor in this... when someone hides semi-cryptic messages, you can't blame the editor for not knowing every cultural significance in the world.

What I do feel like, though, could happen as a result of something like this... He may have put the magnifying glass on some fellow artists from Indonesia who haven't done anything... and he may also have forced companies and editors to be more critical of even the benign gags that fans actually like.

This sort of thing doesn't usually result in more artistic freedom going forward for those who weren't a problem.

Scribbly
04-16-2017, 05:25 PM
I never blamed the editor in this... when someone hides semi-cryptic messages, you can't blame the editor for not knowing every cultural significance in the world.

What I do feel like, though, could happen as a result of something like this... He may have put the magnifying glass on some fellow artists from Indonesia who haven't done anything... and he may also have forced companies and editors to be more critical of even the benign gags that fans actually like.

This sort of thing doesn't usually result in more artistic freedom going forward for those who weren't a problem.
Totally agree.
I didn't read this book, neither that I am interested, but I was shocked by the news. The artist in question was totally disloyal to his employers. Period.And truly sneaky.
Personally, I wouldn't get these "hidden messages" in thousand years by reading the pages and staring at these panels. Fortunately, somebody did. And exposed it. And it blew up in the face of the perpetrator. I don't think that was casual or unintentional. Graphic guerrilla tactics. I don't think he was really interested on keeping his job at Marvel. Neither was interested on keeping his Jakarta's colleagues jobs with American Publishers running. As result, all the Editors and Publishers are by now forced to have five eyes for checking and rechecking any piece of artwork and job applications coming from artists living in that area of the world with the inconvenience this may bring to everyone. That is what terrorists are always looking for: The inevitable repression that comes after their unexpected attempts against society are made. They live for that.
BTW, if walking on a crowded comics convention, I would like to be 300 yards far away from this guy table. IMHO.