Art Spiegelman, the legendary cartoonist behind Maus, claims he was asked to remove criticism of Donald Trump from his introduction to a new Marvel Comics book because the comics publisher is trying to stay “apolitical”. That’s right. Apolitical, aside from Marvel Entertainment Chairman Ike Perlmutter being a well-known donor to Trump’s campaign and adviser to the President on VA Affairs.
Spiegelman, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Maus, was approached by publisher The Folio Society to write an introduction to Marvel: The Golden Age 1939–1949, a collection ranging from Captain America to the Human Torch. His essay touched on how “the young Jewish creators of the first superheroes conjured up mythic – almost godlike – secular saviours.” He finished it with, “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.”
Shortly after submitting the essay, Spiegelman was informed by The Folio Society that Marvel was trying to be apolitical and “is not allowing its publications to take a political stance”. He was asked to remove the dig at Trump, but instead pulled the essay completely.
Talking to The Guardian, Spiegelman said:
“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. “
Marvel: The Golden Age 1939–1949, releasing in September, now has an introduction by Roy Thomas that presumably toes the company line.