Could Orson Scott Card’s new Superman project already be hitting speed bumps? According to a report in USA Today, artist Chris Sprouse has now left art duties on the digital first Superman anthology title ‘Adventures of Superman’ from DC comics. Again this is attributed to the controversial writer of said story, Orson Scott Card and his views on the LGBT community and same sex marriage and the media furor it has caused.
For anyone unfamiliar with the recent media controversy surrounding this story, DC comics recently hired novelist and up until now predominantly Marvel comics writer Orson Scott Card to be part of their Superman anthology. This was immediately met with widespread criticism and fervent outrage from both gay and straight communities. This is due to the writer’s comments on the LGBT community in which he linked homosexuality to pedophilia and paraphilia and his opposition to same sex marriage. In 2009, he also became a member of the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that seeks to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Sprouse leaving is just the latest in a long line of controversies related to the title. Many comic book writers and artists have weighed in with their views such as Mark Waid (writer of Marvel’s Daredevil and Indestructible Hulk titles) who had this to say:
” … we’re not talking about a writer’s beliefs, we’re talking about his actions. I’d never advocate a writer losing a gig based on his personal or political beliefs. We’re not discussing that. We’re discussing someone who is a high-profile activist for what many, MANY people would consider a hate group spewing hate speech, and I fail to understand how that behavior should be condoned or rewarded. It cuts both ways — I’m a vocal liberal, and if I likewise became a spokesperson for an activist group that could fairly be accused of attacking or bullying a minority group and my publisher felt my affiliations would reflect poorly on them, they’d have every right to let me go. Freedom of speech does NOT mean freedom of consequence.”
Many online petitions have been set up calling for Card to be fired from the title and a lot of retailers have refused to carry the print version of the book. Despite this boycott DC comics have so far backed their decision to hire the writer stating that they support freedom of expression and that the personal views of individuals associated with the company were not the views of the company.
DC comics are no strangers to having gay characters in the pages of their books. Recently there was a lot of media attention on one of their titles, ‘Earth 2′ where it was revealed that the new 52 version of popular character Green Lantern Alan Scott was in fact openly gay.
It was apparently not an easy decision for the artist to leave the book as he gave this statement:
”It took a lot of thought to come to this conclusion, but I’ve decided to step back as the artist on this story. The media surrounding this story reached the point where it took away from the actual work, and that’s something I wasn’t comfortable with. My relationship with DC Comics remains as strong as ever and I look forward to my next project with them.”
DC responded by saying they are delaying Card’s story in the anthology until a new artist is found and released this statement:
”We fully support, understand and respect Chris’s decision to step back from his Adventures of Superman assignment. Chris is a hugely talented artist, and we’re excited to work with him on his next DC Comics project.”
This, I’m sure, will not be the last we hear of this story and the controversy won’t die down anytime soon. It will be interesting to see what comes of this so stay tuned.