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Maus Author Art Spiegelman Says Marvel Essay Pulled Over Trump Dig

Legendary creator Art Spiegelman, whose Maus was the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize, says an essay for the Folio Society's Marvel: The Golden Age 1939–1949 had a dig at President Donald J. Trump that he was asked to remove.

According to The Guardian, Spiegelman was approached to write an introduction for Marvel: The Golden Age 1939–1949. His essay examined how Jewish creators of the time used superheroes to talk about political issues. In the conclusion, Spiegelman wrote, “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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The Folio Society responded to Spiegelman's essay by telling him Marvel Comics wanted to stay "apolitical... and is not allowing its publications to take a political stance." He was then told the essay would not be published unless the line equating Red Skull to President Donald J. Trump was removed. Spiegelman refused and later published the article with The Guardian.

“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," Spiegelman wrote.

“International fascism again looms large … and the dislocations that have followed the global economic meltdown of 2008 helped bring us to a point where the planet itself seems likely to melt down,” he continued. “Armageddon seems somehow plausible and we’re all turned into helpless children scared of forces grander than we can imagine, looking for respite and answers in superheroes flying across screens in our chapel of dreams.”

The Pulitzer Prize winner then brought up Marvel Entertainment Chairman Ike Perlmutter's relationship with the President, writing, “is a longtime friend of Donald Trump’s, an unofficial and influential adviser and a member of the president’s elite Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. And 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.”

Marvel Comics and the Folio Society did not respond to The Guardian's requests for comment.

Originally serialized in Raw magazine, Maus tells the story of Art Spiegelman's father, Vladek, and his experiences in the Holocaust. The book is famous for using mice to represent Jewish people and cats for Germans. The graphic novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992.

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Marvel: The Golden Age 1939-1949 goes on sale Sept. 25. The collection retails for $225 USD and is currently available for pre-order exclusively through Folio Society. The volume features an introduction from Roy Thomas.

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