Cable Artist Jon Malin on Nazis, Marvel, SJWs, X-Men… and Shell Beach (UPDATE)

Posted by January 22, 2018 Comment

Last night, the current nineties-style artist on the X-Men title Cable, Jon Malin, was discussing the effect that people dubbed as “Social Justice Warriors” are having on the comic book industry.

Used as a term of abuse against people that cover a wide range of people such as those who promote and support the #metoo campaign to those who think that the breasts on Blink are a bit much these days, it has also been seized as a badge of pride by some. It’s often portrayed as left wing or liberal, but left-of-centre, centrist or right-of-centre travellers can also be tagged with this label.

When it was pointed out to Malin that the X-Men could themselves quite conceivably fit within the critique of “Social Justice Warriors”, with the parallels and analogies of oppressed minorities, Civil Rights and prejudice, Malin replied,

That’s “X-Men are closer to Jews in SJW Hitler’s Germany fighting for freedom because they see ideologues rising, silencing them, weaponizing hate, racism and socialism against the people they claim are the root of social ills. SJWs are not Nazis but Nazis are SJWs and X-MEN aren’t SJWs” just in case it gets deleted. But it doesn’t seem to be.

The tweet in question has received all manner of responses across the industry.

Whether that was Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actress and co-founder of the Pop Culture Hero Coalition, Chase Masterson chiming in, asking Marvel to look into Malin,

Or even Matthew Rosenberg, the writer of the current X-Men comic event, Phoenix Resurrection.

But Malin seemed pleased with the response he provoked,

“Glad to expose the vipers nest that is the growing SJW infestation of this industry that is killing creative voices that politically difer, afraid to take creative chances for fear of the slightest offense including attacking a 95 YO Stan Lee & closing comic shops everywhere.”

Some compared this to the Ardian Syaf affair, in which the Indonesian artist smuggled radical Islamist messages and symbology associated with hate speech and death threats against Christians and Jews into the launch issue of X-Men Gold last year and believe that this will mean Malin’s head at Marvel.

The Syaf affair, however, involved messages snuck past editorial and published by Marvel, rather than tweets on a personal Twitter account.

And many hold onto Beatrice Evelyn Hall‘s summary of the French philosopher Voltaire‘s thoughts “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Which always seems to pop up when people start talking about Nazis.

But Jon Malin has been voicing his opinions, and even if they are against the spirit or ideas of the comics he draws, it’s not as if he is sneaking such messages into his work. After all, Jon Malin was in favour of Ardian Syaf losing his job for doing that.

“I think, as long as he was fired, it will be a good example and properly curtail events like this. If he quit… well, quitters never win.”

And Jon Malin would never do that.

Would he?

Reader Eric Vincenti writes “Thunderbolts #4, page 3, panel 3. The billboard. I see what you did there. Noice!” with Jon Malin’s response “Nice catch, Eric! Glad someone knows what it means. :) ”

Let’s have a look, shall we? Thunderbolts #4 from 2016… to Marvel Unlimited…

Shell Beach, Jon Malin? What would that be a reference to?

Turns out it’s a reference to an alt-right reading of the movie Dark City. The Matrix is often used with the concept of choosing the red pill to evade the “social justice warrior” version of reality, also big government, mainstream media, and liberal-tinted glasses to get at the real truth. But as this critique states, 

I have always found it ironic that Alt Righters use terminology from The Matrix film, given that taking the red pill within the logic of the film leads to defending a multi-racial shithole suspiciously called Zion.

Charming. But yes, not only diverse movie franchise but created and directed by transwomen creators, the Wachowskis. In Dark City, everyone is a lot more white. Rufus Sewell plays John Murdoch, an amnesiac man who finds himself suspected of murder. Murdoch attempts to discover his true identity and clear his name while on the run from the police and a mysterious group known only as the “Strangers” who rearrange the city and the memories of everyone who lives there, always night time. A memory emerged, that he comes from a place called Shell Beach, which he tries to get to. But no one can ever leave the city. The film is about that Quixotian struggle and while (spoilers) Shell Beach is revealed as just another fake memory, the protagonists aim to recreate Shell Beach for real.

As the previous critique states,

Dark City is the film The Matrix pretends to be, both in general and for the Alt Right. It is a film that explores the subject of meaning through memory, both individual and group. Tradition comes from a group memory, race being the most primal group identity.

And yes, it goes through that rabbit hole too.

The Shell Beach billboard could be a reference to the recreated reality of Pleasant Hill in the comic, where SHIELD has taken supervillains, changed their memories and minds and have kept them imprisoned in a mundane reality.

It could also be a shout out to those who see Shell Beach as an idealised icon of the alt-right, and one that, if it doesn’t exist, should be fought for.

Your mileage may vary.

UPDATE: Jon Malin denies the interpretation above completely saying

And then:

I shall use my sucking skills on this bottle of San Pellegrino immediately!

(Last Updated January 23, 2018 9:28 am )

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