Marvel Comics has pledged to edit a panel of this week's Immortal Hulk #43 - which appears to contain anti-Semitic content in the background of a scene - for future reprints, and in current digital versions of the issue, as announced in the publisher's mailer to retailers.
In a message Thursday afternoon to Direct Market (comic book store) retailers, the publisher indicated it was accepting requests for exchanges of physical copies of the issue's first printing with 'corrected versions.'
"Marvel is correcting and reprinting the main and variant editions of Immortal Hulk #43, originally on sale 2/3," reads Marvel's statement from its mailer. "Requests to return for exchange on Immortal Hulk #43 with these corrected versions may be made starting today."
The panel, seen here in its unedited form, features Hulk personality Joe Fixit haggling in a jewelry shop. In the background, the window of the shop reads "Cronemberg's Jewery" (or more accurately "Cronemberg's Jewer," with the "Y" apparently blocked by one of the characters), alongside a the Star of David, a common symbol of the Jewish faith.
Taken as a whole, the seeming inclusion of the Anti-semitic term "Jewery" in relation to a jewelry store, alongside the prominent Star of David, and the haggling conversation the characters are engaged in appear to invoke anti-Semitic stereotypes historically used to harass and marginalize Jewish people.
Immortal Hulk series penciller Joe Bennett took personal responsibility for the content of the panel, stating in an apology that he "failed to understand" the implication of including a Star of David in the scene, and that both the spelling of "Cronemberg" and "Jewery" were typos, with his intended lettering of the sign meant to read "Cronenberg's Jewelry," as an homage to famous body-horror film director David Cronenberg, whose surreal films have influenced Immortal Hulk.(opens in new tab)
"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," reads Bennett's statement, published on his public Facebook page (opens in new tab).
"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," Bennett's statement continues.
"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."
CBR reports (opens in new tab) that a Marvel Comics representative also stated Marvel "fully acknowledged this mistake was missed on our side as well," though the publisher has not addressed the editorial process behind the mistake.
Immortal Hulk writer Al Ewing has yet to release a statement on the matter.
Bennett previously received criticism for perceived bigotry due to violent comments he made in relation to the 2019 assault of gay journalist Glenn Greenwald (opens in new tab), which Bennett later deleted and apologized for. In 2020, Bennett received criticism for responding to now-deleted transphobic comments on his public Instagram page with laughter emojis, indicating his approval of the comments.
Joe Bennett is the solicited artist for March 10's Immortal Hulk #44. Marvel has not indicated any changes to the original solicitation.