In an essay for The Guardian that went up this weekend, Maus creator Art Spiegelman dives into the so-called golden age of comics that occurred (depending on who you ask) at some point between the late-1930s and the mid-1950s, with him specifically focusing on the birth of Marvel Comics and how superheroes like Captain America were explicitly created to oppose the rise of fascism. At the end, he brings it around to note that superheroes are as popular as ever with Captain America still fighting the fascist Red Skull in mega-budget movies just as America is terrorized by an “Orange Skull” of its own—meaning Trump, obviously. Then there’s a twist: Spiegelman didn’t write the essay for The Guardian, it was originally commissioned as an introduction to a collection of golden age Marvel comics being published by the Folio Society.
In an extra addendum, Spiegelman says that a Folio Society editor told him that Marvel (as co-publisher of the collection) was trying to stay “apolitical” and wanted him to remove the “Orange Skull” reference. “I didn’t think of myself as especially political compared with some of my fellow travelers,” Spiegelman explains, “but when asked to kill a relatively anodyne reference to an Orange Skull I realized that perhaps it had been irresponsible to be playful about the dire existential threat we now live with.” Spiegelman says he decided to withdraw his essay from the publication because of that, adding that he had also recently learned that Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter and his wife had both recently given the maximum donation of $360,000 to Trump’s reelection campaign.
Perlmutter has been a not-so-secret Trump supporter for a long time, and Spiegelman uses that opportunity to bring his whole thesis on the intertwined histories of superheroes and fascism together, noting, “I’ve also had to learn, yet again, that everything is political… just like Captain America socking Hitler on the jaw.” You can the full essay at that Guardian link up above.