Earlier this week, Bill Reed, in his neat-o 365 Reasons to Love Comics feature, mentioned the following about the comic book SuperPro, “Buzz Dixon wrote #6, an issue that was allegedly pulled off of shelves due to its portrayal of the Hopi tribe.”
To give the story some air of authenticity, I did a considerable amount of research on the Hopi kachina religion. The kachinas (often mistakenly referred to as "dolls" or "clowns") are a constantly evolving pantheon of gods, demi-gods, and spirits, much like Marvel's own line-up of superheroes (a point I alluded to in the story). New kachinas are added all the time; in fact, this is the only religion to have camera toting sunburned white tourist demi-gods!
The Hopi tribe is divided into two opposing political camps, which refer to themselves in deliberately ironic terms as "hostiles" and " friendlies." Through them I took pains to emphasize was that the non-Hopi villains using kachina identities were committing a blasphemy that no real Hopi would ever do (something I used as a clue to the true identity of the culprits). Beyond that the story operates pretty much on a SCOOBY-DOO level, with me trying to have some fun with the sheer outrageousness of the situation.
I'm sure the Hopi didn't like the errors, but what really set them off was the portrayal of the blasphemy. It doesn't matter if Dixon was doing this to suggest how bad the bad guys were. He's still guilty of offending the Hopi by violating their religious tenets.
If you're smart, you don't show Muhammad wielding a terrorist bomb as social commentary. You also don't reveal the secrets of an Indian religion for the sake of mass entertainment.