Today, Marvel Comics published The Immortal Hulk #43 by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett. As we pointed out, a number of messages were intentionally hidden in the artwork, referring to other Hulk comic book creators, including Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Jim Starlin, and Al Milgrom. However, there was one more which has been taken in a very different fashion.
A jewelry store featured in the comic is named after David Cronenberg, the horror movie director, known for the kind of body horror that The Immortal Hulk has embraced in its run. But, instead of the window sign reading 'Jewelry,' it reads 'Jewery' instead and is placed above a Star of David. While, in the foreground, Joe Fixit/Bruce Banner and the store employee are talking about money.
This has been seen as an anti-Semitic trope or slur by many people who have used social media to call for action or an apology. When approached by Bleeding Cool, artist Joe Bennett told us, "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."
The errors and wording were also overseen by Marvel, of course, and I understand that internally Marvel is acknowledging their editorial failure regarding this. The artwork will, as you might expect, be corrected for the digital version, as well as for future printings and collections. But there is no sign, yet, of the comic being recalled.
The comparison is being made to a recalled issue of Wolverine that featured the word "kike" rather than "killer" in error, rather than the issue of X-Men Gold in which the artist Ardian Syaf inserted specific references to an anti-Christian/Jewish march with violent demands.
IMMORTAL HULK #43
(W) Al Ewing (A) Joe Bennett (CA) Alex Ross
• New York City holds eight million people…and harbors one monster. A creature of chaos and anarchy, driven by rage and contempt for the structures of man.
• His criminal activities continue even while the beast is hidden in the skin of an ordinary human. But don't be afraid, citizens. This radioactive disease has a cure.
• The U-FOES are here… and they're going to kill the HULK.
• Say "thank you." Rated T+In Shops: Feb 03, 2021 SRP: $3.99