An Indonesian Muslim comic artist was fired last week by Marvel Comics for inserting hidden political and religious references in an X-Men comic. The artist's propagandist drawings did not go down well with Twitterati either.
The Muslim artist, Ardian Syaf, reportedly inserted pro-Islam references into X-Men Gold's first issue. Syaf drew attention when people noticed the number 212 in the background of one of his artworks.
The number 212 is a reference to a large protest held against Jakarta's first Christian governor, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in December 2016. Purnama was accused of blasphemy against Islam, according to Al Jazeera.
More from IBTimes India: Here's why FBI has put a Rs 65 lakh reward on an Indian-origin man's head
Marvel terminated Syaf's contract stating that his sketches went against the brand's message of inclusiveness.
In one of his controversial drawings, Syaf had inserted the number 5:51. The number refers to a verse in the Quran, some interpret the verse as advocating that only Muslims should be appointed as leaders of Muslims.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Syaf defended his move saying, "For us Muslims, it is not a hate message. It's a rule from Allah. Allah, through this verse, says Muslim cannot choose a non-Muslim leader. That's not hatred."
Ardian Syaf going straight to the "let my bigot flag fly" stage while skipping over the "distinguish myself as a great artist first" stage.— Peter D'OH! (@Notintheface1) April 9, 2017
LOL even Wikipedia is salty from Ardian Syaf pic.twitter.com/6iNmvZmOW1— Westerners Unite (@JonnyPLupus) April 11, 2017
Just saw that Ardian Syaf is still defending that stuff he did in X-Men Gold.— John Cullen ? (@nellucnhoj) April 9, 2017
How stupid can you be.
I understand if Ardian Syaf has a big love for that 212 thingy, but put it into his art of Marvel Comic is not a good move— Aisyah Indah Rizki (@aisyahirr) April 14, 2017
"I don't hate Jews but screw those Jews" isn't a good defense. -_-. What is WITH people?! https://t.co/fcdN1NVR0A— Liana Kerzner (@redlianak) April 13, 2017
Honestly got no sympathy for Ardian Syaf and his situation. Don't try and masquerade your intolerance as activism dude #comicbooks— Glenn Gaffney (@GlennGaffney29) April 13, 2017
I don't feel sorry for Ardian Syaf, I'm confident he can get a job at United.— Ted Brandt (@ten_bandits) April 12, 2017
Ohh ardian syaf— Bob (@bobyindonesia) April 9, 2017
how low you can go with your bigotry and hypocrites? pic.twitter.com/a3BwVtwGuE
More from IBTimes India: IPL 2017: Gujarat Lions (GL) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) team news and confirmed playing XI
Syaf's drawings also drew flak from others in the profession who called him unprofessional, while some illustrators said that he is ruining the reputation of other Muslim artists and that his move may have an adverse affect on them.
Syaf also gave a statement about his artwork on his Facebook page: "The meaning behind the numbers; perhaps some will understand them. If they don't that's okay," he wrote. "You can comment on it because it's something I can't control. My advice is, although you disagree with me, please say it in a polite way."
The artist also reportedly said that he has no regrets if his controversial drawings put his career in jeopardy.
More from IBTimes India: The Voice Season 12 Live Playoffs 1 shocking results: Casi Joy, Anatalia, Felicia eliminated
Syaf has also worked for DC Comics and Dynamite Entertainment. He is also known to engage in practice of hiding Easter egg references to political figures in the backgrounds of his artwork. Syaf reportedly included a storefront sign that referenced the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, in Batgirl (Vol 4) #9 (July 2012). Although the text that accompanies the image of Widodo in Syaf's pencilled artwork is covered by a caption in the final issue.