Marvel rejected an essay because the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer called Trump 'Orange Skull'

Jamie McCarthy/NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images/Marvel

Art Spiegelman, the legendary cartoonist best known for his epochal graphic novel Maus, has revealed that Marvel rejected his most recent essay due to a Donald Trump reference.

In the essay, published in The Guardian, Spiegelman writes about the golden age of comics and the birth of Marvel.

It was supposed to serve as an introduction to a collection of golden age Marvel comics being published by the Folio Society.

However, his piece was rejected after he made a political statement about the current president, likening him to the Captain America villain Red Skull, calling him 'Orange Skull' instead, a reference to his infamous barnet.

The offending line reads as follows:

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.

The writer does not suffer fools gladly. On one occasion, he was asked by a German journalist whether writing a comic book about Auschwitz was in bad taste, he replied: "No, I think Auschwitz was in bad taste.”

At the close of the piece, Spiegelman explains:

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I was asked to alter or remove the sentence that refers to the Red Skull or the intro could not be published.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 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.

Marvel's move is a little curious as the company has made references to Trump in the past (comparing him to the villain M.O.D.O.K.) and has even made jokes about Brexit.

In conclusion, the cartoonist notes that he recently discovered Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter and his wife both recently gave the maximum donation of $360,000 to Trump’s re-election campaign.

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