Immortal Hulk #43 Courts Controversy for Antisemitic Imagery
Usually, when discussions of Immortal Hulk happen, it’s about the quality storytelling. This week’s latest issue made news for other reasons, antisemitic imagery snuck in by artist Joe Bennett.
The issue features Joe Fixit in control of Bruce Banner’s body. In the comic, Fixit buys some jewelry with a stolen credit card to pawn in later. In the panel featuring the crime, the store window says “Cronemberg (something) Jewer(y)” and underneath is the Star of David, a Jewish symbol. You can see the panel below and the sequence in a released preview.
The use of “Jewery” and the Star of David play into numerous stereotypes of Jewish individuals running the diamond industry. It also ties into antisemitic beliefs that Jewish merchants are shady people to do business with.
The scene has nothing to do with Judaism at all and there’s little reasons for any of it to be included in the background.
Artist Joe Bennett released a statement through Marvel:
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.
Bennett has found himself in controversy in the past when he responded to a transgender joke about She-Hulk with laughing emojis and stated that journalist Glenn Greenwald should have been punched instead of slapped in 2019.
Marvel also stated that they “fully acknowledged this mistake was missed on our side as well.” They will be “correcting” future printings as well as digital copies.
This isn’t the first time antisemitic imagery has been snuck into a Marvel comic. In 2017 artist Ardiaf Syaf featured numerous references in X-Men Gold #1 to verses in the Quaran that are commonly translated as antisemitic as well as having the word “Jewelry” next to Kitty Pryde, a Jewish character. After that, you’d think Marvel editorial might pay a bit more attention to these sort of things making their excuse a bit more puzzling.