Al Ewing and Joe Bennett have been working together for the recent epic, and well reviewed, Hulk run Immortal Hulk since 2018. In recent months, Bennett’s negative behavior has begun to overshadow the collaboration for Marvel. Today, Ewing took to Twitter to speak out about Bennett and an image that has been making the rounds since 2017.
On Twitter, Ewing writes:
There’s an image doing the rounds that Joe Bennett drew back in 2017. I won’t link to it, but I have seen it, and it’s reprehensible. Thread follows.
If you’ve seen the image, you know what it is. An armoured swordsman, which I assume represents Bolsonaro given Joe’s commentary, slaughtering tiny, scurrying people, with the buck teeth and ears of rats. And big noses. One of them is cosplaying Dracula.
I’m assuming these are political enemies of some kind, but even if not, the tropes are apparent. Human beings as vermin being exterminated. Even if it’s no longer up, that it was drawn in the first place, signed, and so proudly displayed by Joe speaks volumes.
This isn’t the first issue with Joe that I’ve been made aware of. 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.
In the interests of adding some material action to that apology, I’ve made donations to Rainbow Railroad and the Rainforest Trust. I understand if that feels like an empty or insufficient gesture for those reading this.
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.
I can’t speak for Joe on this. He can speak on it for himself. But I will say that it’s not up to him – or me – what those hurt by his behaviour in the past should be willing to accept from him now. He’s made his bed.
With all this said, I’m probably going to remain off Twitter myself for now, and not read or reply to mentions for a while. Again, if that feels insufficient, I understand. Thank you for reading.
Bennett has courted controversy within comics and out. Immortal Hulk #43 featured anti-Semitic imagery which was removed by Marvel after printing. Bennett expressed remorse over the art saying it was “wrong, offensive, and hurtful in many ways”. He also called it a “mistake”.
Bennett also has shown anti-LGBT sentiment replying with a laughing emoji to a transphobic comment as well as saying that a gay journalist should have been punched instead of slapped by a far-right journalist.
While Ewing has spoken up, Marvel has remained relatively silent. It’s clear Ewing is done working with Bennett now that the Immortal Hulk run is over but is that Marvel’s attitude as well? Time will tell.