“Maus” creator Art Spiegelman said Marvel Comics rejected his essay for a comic book collection because it compared Donald Trump to a Marvel villain.
In an essay published in the The Guardian, the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novelist writes that the book’s co-publisher Marvel Comics was trying to stay “apolitical,” and asked him to remove a reference comparing Trump to the Nazi supervillain Red Skull in what was meant to be the introduction to the book. He refused and withdrew the introduction
The book, titled “Marvel: The Golden Age 1939–1949,” will be available in September with an introduction by Marvel editor Roy Thomas.
Spiegelman writes about how “the young Jewish creators of the first superheroes conjured up mythic – almost godlike – secular saviors to deal with the threatening economic dislocations that surrounded them in the great depression and gave shape to their premonitions of impending global war.”
The rejected essay, he writes, concludes 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.”
After he was told that the essay could not be published with the Orange Skull reference, Spiegelman writes: “I didn’t think of myself as especially political compared with some of my fellow travelers, but when asked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.”
He notes that he later learned that billionaire chairman and former CEO of Marvel Entertainment, Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter, is a longtime friend of Donald Trump’s, and that he and his wife have each recently donated the maximum $360,000 to the “Trump Victory Joint Fundraising Committee” for 2020.
Spiegelman won a Pulitzer Prize for “Maus,” a two-volume memoir in comic-book form that depicts his father’s experiences as a Holocaust survivor.