Art Spiegelman, the creator of the Pulitzer-winning graphic novel Maus, says that he withdrew an essay that he put together for a Marvel comics collection after the publisher asked him to pull a line which referenced Donald Trump as "Orange Skull."
The Guardian reports that the intro was commissioned by publisher the Folio Society, and that the title/subject matter of the collection is Marvel: The Golden Age 1939-1949. Before taking back his essay, Spiegelman wrote about how "the young Jewish creators of the first superheroes conjured up mythic—almost godlike—secular saviors" that were then used to address major real-life problems, like the Great Depression and World War II. The Guardian states that Spiegelman concluded his essay by writing, "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 essay was submitted in June and Spiegelman received feedback that stated Marvel was trying to keep it apolitical. He was told to axe the "Orange Skull" line in order to get his intro published, which he declined to do.
He stated his reasoning by comparing modern events to those taking place in the decade covered by the collection. As he put it:
"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.
“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.
"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."
He also made a point to mention that billionaire and Marvel Entertainment chairman Isaac ‘Ike’ Perlmutter has ties to the president. He stated that he has had to learn once again that "everything is political." Spiegelman's essay can be read here.