– by Stephon White

Marvel Comics commissioned an essay from Pulitzer-Prize-winning comic book artist, Art Spiegelman. His graphic novel, Maus, won the award following its publication in 1980. The graphic novel features cover artwork by Spiegelman depicting several mice in the foreground, while a Hitler-esque mouse is elevated and in the background staring at the reader. It is one of the main publications that helped the graphic novel format be accepted as something adults could enjoy just as much as books. In 1980, he proved comics were not just for kids.

Spiegelman’s Marvel-comics-commissioned essay was withdrawn by himself after Marvel requested specific changes to it. Most notably is a clear jab at President Donald Trump. Spiegelman’s essay refers to Trump as the “orange skull”. To be specific and quote Spiegelman, he says “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”.

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Marvel’s response to his essay submission can best be described by Spiegelman below.

I turned the essay in at the end of June, substantially the same as what appears here. A regretful Folio Society editor told me that Marvel Comics (evidently the co-publisher of the book) is trying to now stay “apolitical,” and is not allowing its publications to take a political stance. I was asked to alter or remove the sentence that refers to the Red Skull or the intro could not be published. I didn’t think of myself as especially political compared with some of my fellow travelers, but when asked to kill a relatively anodyne reference to an Orange Skull I realized that perhaps it had been irresponsible to be playful about the dire existential threat we now live with, and I withdrew my introduction.

Not one to be censored, Spiegelman pulled the essay from Marvel. It was subsequently published by The Guardian last Friday. Spiegelman cites the person behind the censorship as being Billionaire chairman and former CEO of Marvel Entertainment Isaac Perlmutter who is a supporter of President Donald Trump. Spiegelman cites the connection as well as a recent political donation. Spiegelman says Perlmutter and his wife have each recently donated $360,000 (the maximum allowed) to the Orange Skull’s ‘Trump Victory Joint Fundraising Committee’ for 2020,”

Spiegelman further added, “I’ve … had to learn, yet again, that everything is political … just like Captain America socking Hitler on the jaw.”

This seems meta as it is reported that Perlmutter advises Trump on how to run the government during his visits to Trump’s Mara Lago resort. Shocking accusations to say the least. What do you think? Hail Hydra?

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