The controversy surrounding DC’s hiring of Orson Scott Card, outspoken anti-LGBT and marriage equality science fiction writer, to pen the digital-first Adventures of Superman comic (covered before in February by Capeless Crusader’s own Jetter in beautiful detail) has already lead to one major change—a prompt exit from artist Chris Sprouse (left).
Yesterday, Sprouse announced that due to the media attention and controversy surrounding the upcoming release that he would be stepping away from the project in favour of future work with DC. In a statement to USA Today, Sprouse announced, “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.”
Said media attention includes an online petition to remove Card from the project by LGBT activists AllOut.org currently standing at 16,500 signatures, a selection of comic retailers stating they will not stock the series, as well as some serious fan and industry backlash via Twitter and other media outlets. Orson Scott Card’s well documented opposition to marriage equality and the LGBT community has caused controversy before, as fans of Card’s extremely popular novel Ender’s Game were unsurprisingly shocked by Card’s strong stance —almost as shocked as DC fans on the announcement of their digital-first release Superman title —a very “modern” project – being given to Card.
DC themselves also released a statement in support of Sprouse’s decision and to announce the search for a replacement artist to work on Card’s Superman story. Understandably, DC have not said much on Card’s outspoken position or on the choice to hire him on this new Superman project. However, with the DCU seemingly overflowing with LGBT characters in recent years, it seems odd for DC to skate a line that would cause so much upset in fans and the industry alike. Although, always worth baring in mind: any publicity is good publicity.
DC’s statement reads as follows: “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. In the meantime, we will re-solicit the story at a later date when a new artist is hired.”
This statement also tells us that Card’s Superman story will not feature in the first solicitation of the series. Due to Sprouse’s departure, the Card story (as one of an anthology of different short stories by different writers and artists) will feature in a later issue release after a new artist has been secured for the project.