Celebrated science fiction author Orson Scott Card also happens to be a fervent, outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage — and now the controversy sparked by his unpopular views has affected Card’s upcoming Adventures of Superman project.
Card has been opposed to gay marriage for decades; in 2009, he joined the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, a conservative group dedicated to “protect[ing] marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.” When DC announced last month that Card would co-write an issue of Adventures of Superman, the news immediately stoked fan ire. A petition urging DC to sever ties with Card has garnered over 16,000 signatures on the LGBT activist site All Out; other supporters of gay rights have called for a boycott of the comic itself.
Yesterday, the brouhaha prompted artist Chris Sprouse to leave the Superman project altogether. “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,” the illustrator said yesterday in a statement. “My relationship with DC Comics remains as strong as ever, and I look forward to my next project with them.”
His departure has delayed the release of Card’s Superman comic; it’s unclear when, exactly, the issue will hit shelves.
DC has also released a statement that backs Sprouse’s choice — but does not mention Card himself. (In a statement released in February, DC said that Card’s “personal views” were not “those of the company itself.”) “We fully support, understand and respect Chris’s decision to step back from his Adventures of Superman assignment,” the company said yesterday. “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.”
Don’t expect this to the be last time Card’s views affect one of his projects. Summit’s upcoming adaptation of his beloved novel Ender’s Game has already inspired mass anxiety among fans who adore the story but hate to support its author — and according to the Hollywood Reporter, the studio is similarly conflicted over how involved Card should be in the film’s promotion.
Card has not yet responded to EW’s request for comment.