Local Comic Book Store Weighs in on D.C. Comics' Superman Controversy

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Sci-fi and fantasy author Orson Scott Card is best known for his novel, Ender's Game, a far-sighted thought experiment joining themes of child soldiers with drone warfare to paint a nightmarish picture of what war and technology can do to morality.

Card is slightly lesser-known for his wildly bigoted views regarding homosexuality. Beyond believing sodomy laws are a good thing because they keep LGBT people closeted, in a 2008 op-ed, Card went as far as advocating the armed overthrow of the U.S. government should California's Prop. 8 be struck down.

Unsurprisingly, his views are somewhat contentious.

That's why when D.C. Comics hired Card to pen a run of Superman, it caused quite the stir. Comics stores announced that they wouldn't carry the comics or would donate the profits to gay charities and a petition was launched by All Out to drop Card from the project.

That was enough for the project's artist, Chris Sprouse, to announce the controversy was overshadowing the work and that he would drop out.

It may even mean the end of the project for D.C., who substituted the Card stories on the schedule with issues penned by other creators, while D.C. figures out what to do about the kerfuffle.

From an article on Wired:

The news has inspired speculation about whether or not this could mean that DC will quietly kill off the controversial Card story entirely, with some suggesting that the story remaining un-illustrated gives the publisher an “out” to avoid any potential breach-of-contract legal response. (As a freelancer, Card wouldn’t have the option of a wrongful termination suit.)

The controversy has also raised the question of whether Card's opinions will cast a shadow on the film version of Ender's Game, slated to hit theaters in November of this year.

“Chris Sprouse’s decision to not illustrate Card’s writing, should be a sign to other companies, including the producers of Card's upcoming film Ender's Game, that there's no upside in hiring people whose rhetoric goes beyond opinion and into the dangerous territory of extremism,” Andre Banks, Co-Founder and Executive Director of All Out wrote in a press release. “Thankfully, our tolerance for intolerance is shrinking.”

One person who doesn't think so is Craig Hilpert, owner of the Boise Comic Book Company.

"No matter what he does, Ender's Game will always be a pinnacle of science fiction writing," Hilpert told Boise Weekly.

Hilpert said that his shop wasn't planning to boycott the book, because there are a lot of different people whose work went into it and to lump them all in with Card's views is unfair. He also thinks it would be unfair to fans of Superman to deny them those comics. But Hilpert also said he chose not to highlight the book in his regular newsletter because of its controversy.

Hilpert also said he was a little surprised this book generated the controversy it did, since Card has espoused his views for some time and penned no shortage of comics.

"It never really was a big issue before," said Hilpert. "But I think it's because then, he wasn't part of the National Organization for Marriage."

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