Jon Malin, the current artist on Marvel's Cable series, is under fire for a controversial tweet in which he referred to Adolf Hitler as a "social justice warrior," seemingly implying that Nazis themselves are SJWs.
This led some fans to further scrutinize Malin's past artwork, especially in light of the controversy last year in which former X-Men Gold artist Ardian Syaf hid anti-semitic messages in the debut issue of the series. However, upon being called out for what some are identifying as an alt-right message spotted in an issue of Thunderbolts Malin drew, the artist once again took to Twitter, this time to downplay it as something people are reading too much into.
The image in question is a billboard in the background of a panel of Thunderbolts #4 that reads "Shell Beach," which is the name of the coastal town from the 1998 film Dark City. The town is depicted as a place that's familiar, yet inescapable, which mirrors the false reality of Pleasant Hill -- a prison S.H.I.E.L.D. created to house criminals under the guise of living in a quaint neighborhood in a storyline that led to the launch of the Thunderbolts series Malin illustrated.
However, a common alt-right reading of the film relates its themes to those of repression and nationalism, and even describes them as something to strive for.
When a reader caught the subtle nod to the film and pointed it out on Twitter last August, Malin acknowledged the connection.
Nice catch, Eric! Glad someone knows what it means. :) https://t.co/ix5vwVtqVu— ＭＡＬＩＮ (@JonMalin) August 9, 2017
Upon being compared to the aforementioned Ardian Syaf, though, Malin took to Twitter in order to clarify that the Dark City reference was merely meant as a metaphor for the similarities between Shell Beach and Pleasant Hill, as opposed to a hidden and potentially hateful message.
Saw @bleedingcool hit piece saying I'm = Ardian Syaf. Syaf hid blatant anti christian/jewish messages. I referenced a movie that creeped me out as a kid because of Pleasant Hill similarities, not some "reading". Comics journalism, everyone. Take an ideological bow, @richjohnston— ＭＡＬＩＮ (@JonMalin) January 22, 2018
Malin’s run on Cable comes to a close with February’s issue #154, with a new creative team on board with March’s #155. The artist currently has no announced work with Marvel past that.
Via Bleeding Cool