No, I’m seriously asking.
This is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
This is an unnamed foreign dignitary from X-Men: Schism #1, by Carlos Pacheco, Cam Smith and Frank D’Armata:
Now, I’m not asking “Wow, does an obvious swipe leave Marvel open to legal action,” because if anyone at the publisher was concerned about that, Greg Land wouldn’t be working on Uncanny X-Men right now. But what I am talking about is – That’s clearly Ahmadinejad. Yes, the Marvel U Ahmadinejad apparently started losing his hair earlier, but the similarity is unmistakable… which makes this panel all the more problematic:
Here’s my question: Could this count as libel? The character is never named (as Ahmadinejad, or anyone else), and I seriously, seriously doubt that writer Jason Aaron meant to make any statement about Ahmadinejad’s love or lack thereof of hitting children, but – receding hairline or not, that is clearly Ahmadinejad. Look at his ring above, and then at the real thing:
Legal minds, I’m curious: Could this count as parody, or fair use? Is it just a non-actionable “coincidence”? I really have no idea how the law works with this kind of thing – Is it similar to the McFarlane vs. Tony Twist lawsuit? That was judged in Twist’s favor, wasn’t it? – but it’s been bothering me since I first read the comic.