Artist Chris Sprouse says he's not comfortable with the media uproar over Orson Scott Card's participation in the Adventures of Superman comic.
Orson Scott Card is a pretty good storyteller, but he's also kind of a terrible human being. The Ender's Game author is infamous for his criticism of homosexuality and virulent opposition to same-sex marriage; he serves on the board of the National Organization of Marriage, a political group that works to oppose same-sex marriage in the U.S., and said in in 2008 that he would "act to destroy" any government that legalized it. In a 2004 essay entitled "Homosexual 'Marriage' and Civilization," he described same-sex marriage as a "potentially devastating social experiment" and argued that gay men and women are not actually being discriminated against because they have the same legal right to get married as everyone else - to a member of the opposite sex.
But, he's a pretty good storyteller, and thus he found himself among the writers working on Adventures of Superman, a collection of Superman short stories by various authors that's coming out in April. DC's announcement of his participation last month went over about as well as you'd expect, as fans and retailers called for boycotts of the book and the website All Out launched a petition demanding his removal, which has thus far attracted over 16,000 signatures.
And now things have taken an even more interesting twist, as artist Chris Sprouse, who was slated to illustrate Card's story, has quit. "It took a lot of thought to come to this conclusion, but I've decided to step back as the artist on this story," Sprouse said in a statement. "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."
The good news, or perhaps better news, is that DC Comics, knowing a PR win when it sees one, is standing behind Sprouse. "We fully support, understand and respect Chris's decision to step back from his Adventures of Superman assignment," the publisher said. "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."
But with Sprouse setting the standard and DC signaling that it won't throw people under the bus, what are the odds that any new artist will actually agree to work with Card? I suspect this is one Superman story that will remain untold - and that's fine with me.
Source: USA Today