Marvel Terminates ‘X-Men Gold’ Artist’s Contract Amid Controversy

x-men gold controversy

Marvel Comics has officially terminated the contract of Ardian Syaf, “effectively immediately.” The termination follows controversy surrounding Syaf’s artwork in X-Men Gold #1.

Syaf’s art will still be featured in X-Men Gold #2 and X-Men Gold #3, as it is too late to alter these upcoming issues of the bi-weekly series. RB Silva will provide art for X-Men Gold #4, which was originally solicited as being drawn by Syaf. Silva will also illustrate X-Men Gold #5 and #6. Ken Lashley will draw X-Men Gold #7-9.

Marvel has also stated that they will announce a replacement for Syaf as X-Men Gold’s lead artist in the near future.

Here’s the full statement from Marvel Comics:

“Marvel has terminated Ardian Syaf’s contract effective immediately. ‘X-Men Gold’ #2 and #3 featuring his work have already been sent to the printer and will continue to ship bi-weekly. Issues #4, #5, and #6 will be drawn by R. B. Silva and issues #7, #8, and #9 will be drawn by Ken Lashley. A permanent replacement artist will be assigned to ‘X-Men Gold’ in the coming weeks.”

The X-Men Gold controversy began when the issue was released in Indonesia. Fans in the country began noticing political and religious references hidden in Syaf’s artwork that were lost on most North American readers. Marvel responded with a message stating that Syaf would be disciplined:

“The mentioned artwork in X-Men Gold #1 was inserted without knowledge behind its reported meanings. These implied references do not reflect the views of the writer, editors or anyone else at Marvel and are in direct opposition of the inclusiveness of Marvel Comics and what the X-Men have stood for since their creation. This artwork will be removed from subsequent printings, digital versions, and trade paperbacks and disciplinary action is being taken.”

Marvel did not, at the time, specify what that discipline would look like. Syaf himself commented on the situation, declaring his career to be over:

“My career is over now. It’s the consequence what I did, and I take it. Please no more mockery, debat, no more hate. I hope all in peace.”

Ardian Syaf
Ardian Syaf with his works via

G. Willow Wilson, the creator of Marvel’s Ms. Marvel character and a Muslim, also wrote about Syaf and the X-Men Gold controversy on Sunday.

This is all to say that Ardian Syaf can keep his garbage philosophy. He has committed career suicide; he will rapidly become irrelevant. But his nonsense will continue to affect the scant handful of Muslims who have managed to carve out careers in comics. From what I can deduce off of Facebook, it appears he is trying to claim the Charlie Hebdo defense…ie, he doesn’t mean anything by it; we just don’t understand the nuance and subtly of the local bigotry. Much good may it do him. Goodbye, Ardian Syaf. We hardly knew ye, which is just as well.

X-Men Gold #1 is on sale now. X-Men Gold #2 will arrive in stores on April 19.

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