With the confirmation that Marvel has terminated the contract of Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf due to the controversial secret messages hidden in X-Men Gold #1, we may have reached the end of this chapter in the book’s short history. Well, at least, after the next two issues come out, which Marvel has confirmed will still feature Syaf’s art, presumably minus any anti-Easter eggs. But what about the future of the book?
According to statement Marvel issued about Syaf’s firing, reported earlier on Bleeding Cool:
‘X-Men Gold’ #2 and #3 featuring his work have already been sent to the printer and will continue to ship bi-weekly. Issues #4, #5, and #6 will be drawn by R. B. Silva and issues #7, #8, and #9 will be drawn by Ken Lashley. A permanent replacement artist will be assigned to ‘X-Men Gold’ in the coming weeks.
Contrary to reports that R.B. Silva and Ken Lashley are taking over for Syaf on the book, however, the artists have always been a part of its longterm plan. According to an interview CBR interview published today with writer Marc Guggenheim, which was conducted last week, before the controversy broke, nothing has changed for the book’s immediate future:
You’ve got an aggressive release schedule for “X-Men Gold,” coming out every two weeks. How are the art duties being split up? Will Ardian Syaf be just churning out a book a fortnight? Seems unlikely. Rotating artists? One arc each? I know it’s a little “inside baseball” but I haven’t seen anything about any other artists being involved.
Well, lemme tell ya! We have a murderer’s row of rotating artists. RB Silva is drawing our second arc and Ken Lashley is drawing our third arc.
Indeed, Silva was previously solicited for issues #4 through #6 in May and June. As to Lashley, while his issues weren’t solicited yet, he is mentioned by Guggenheim as part of the “murderer’s row” right inside the printed copy of X-Men Gold #1:
So it’s likely that Lashley was always intended to draw issues #7-9 in July and August as well.
At that point, it will be time time for Syaf to rotate back in, that is, if he hadn’t been fired. But if the schedule isn’t interrupted by Syaf’s departure, then X-Men Gold will need to have a new artist lined up in time to get issue #9 out by the middle of August, so we should hear an announcement soon. It’s also worth noting that all of the issues of X-Men Gold are currently solicited with covers by Syaf, though Marvel has not said whether they will continue to be used after issue #3.