captain america punches nazis.

Marvel Fired Immortal Hulk Artist Joe Bennett After Allegations of Anti-Semitic Cartoons

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Marvel Comics fired Brazilian artist Joe Bennett and vowed not to hire him for “any future Marvel projects,” following allegations of anti-Semitism and troubling imagery in his artwork. Bennett had previously worked for Marvel Comics for nearly thirty years, beginning in 1994.

Marvel made the decision immediately after Bennett’s Immortal Hulk partner Al Ewing announced on September 2nd that he would no longer work with the artist over a 2017 political cartoon, and that the cartoon in question “isn’t the first issue with Joe that I’ve been made aware of.” Comic fans had also called out the work in early September as “deeply insensitive.”

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Ewing cited Bennett’s alleged anti-Semitic imagery and other issues raised, writing, “I’ve spoken behind the scenes, but that’s no comfort to people at the sharp end of this kind of brutal propaganda. My lack of public visibility on this has let people down, and I apologise.”

Ewing added that he made donations to Rainbow Railroad and the Rainforest Trust, adding “I understand if that feels like an empty or insufficient gesture for those reading this.”

Ewing ended his thread by writing, “Immortal Hulk is done, but I won’t be working with Joe again. If people choose not to pick up my work with other artists in the future on the basis of my handling of this, I understand and accept that. If I’ve lost your trust, that’s on me.”

This isn’t the first time Bennett has seemingly attacked members of marginalized communities. He previously mocked the 2019 assault of gay journalist Glenn Greenwald by a far-right Bolsonaro supporter. And just last year, Bennett “liked” transphobic comments on his public Instagram page. He is also an outspoken supporter of Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, a fascist Trump-like leader currently overseeing the devastating spread of Covid-19 throughout his country.

Bennett has also been accused of hiding anti-Semitic imagery in Immortal Hulk and X-Men Gold #1, which we will not be posting but can be seen here. When those surfaced earlier this year, Bennett issued an apology through Marvel, saying:

“I’ve been including references to famous horror directors to pay respects to the genre throughout the series, and in Immortal Hulk #43, I included a nod to David Cronenberg. The misspellings on the window were an honest but terrible mistake – since I was writing backwards, I accidentally spelled both of those words wrong.”

“I have no excuse for how I depicted the Star of David. I failed to understand this troubling and offensive stereotype, and after listening to you all, I now understand my mistake. This was wrong, offensive, and hurtful in many ways. This is a mistake I must own, and I am sorry to everyone who I hurt by this. I am working with Marvel to correct this, and I am using this lesson to reflect on how I approach my stories and my work.”

If Bennett’s apparent anti-Semitic imagery was already known by Marvel, then why did they keep him on the payroll? And how did they get through countless proofreaders and copy editors in the first place? Marvel did the right thing by ceasing to work with Bennett, but you have to wonder why it took them so long.

After all, there’s no shortage of talented illustrators in the world, most of whom don’t seem to harbor anti-Semitic and pro-fascist sentiments.

Bennett’s work has appeared in dozens of Marvel titles, including The Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America (vol. 2), Fantastic Four (vol. 3), The Incredible Hulk (vol. 2), Thor, and most recently Captain America and the Falcon. Bennett has also worked prolifically for other publishers like Chaos! Comics, CrossGen, Dark Horse, DC Comics and Vertigo.

(via Games Radar, image: Marvel Comics)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.