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Interview

The Mary Sue Interview: Richard Neal of Zeus Comics on Boycotting Orson Scott Card’s Superman Comic


Zeus Comics and Collectibles on a Friday night is a flurry of activity – probably not unlike a busy day at the Daily Planet. Customers buzz in and out of the kaleidoscopic store, brimming over with questions about pre-orders and pull lists. About two weeks ago, the Dallas store became a lightning rod at the forefront of a nationwide debate – but tonight, it’s business as usual.

Behind the counter and at the center of it all is Richard Neal, who for the past 12 years has been owner and operator of the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award winning comic shop. With Neal at the helm, Zeus Comics became one of the first stores to decide not to carry the controversial Orson Scott Card written Adventures of Superman – a decision, he explains, that had several elements to consider – but one inevitable conclusion.

“Orson Scott Card has a history of using negative-, or hate-, speech, towards the gay and lesbian community in terms of writing articles and essays, and being an outspoken advocate,” Neal said. “Over the last decade or more, he’s gone from just kind of having one negative opinion [about homosexuality] and moving into this pure on hate speech. It’s to the point where it’s not even something that you can ignore. You’re like, I really can’t support this.”

Neal, along with a portion of the Zeus audience, is gay. The decision to put Card, an outspoken anti-gay activist who once described homosexuality as “reproductive dysfunction,” behind the voice of one of the nation’s most iconic superheroes was a betrayal on multiple levels – as a gay man, as a comic book fan, and as a retailer.

“Over the weekend that the news broke, I emailed my contact at DC Comics and said ‘Hey, I don’t feel comfortable supporting this, what can we do? Can you guys change anything, is anything going to happen?’ And I basically got a reply back saying ‘There’s nothing we can do, but we can pass the comment on to the Superman team,’” Neal said, describing what lead him to decide not to carry the book.

“So then, by Tuesday, I’m really coming to understand that I just can’t carry this issue. It’s already got a negative connotation to it, it’s attacking me, it’s attacking my community.”

Zeus Comics, Neal explained, is plugged into the needs and wants of its audience, whom he describes as well read, forward thinking and progressive. “I made a Facebook post, just going into why I’m not carrying this one comic, written by this anti-gay bigot. And I received nothing but 100% endorsement from our audience,” Neal said. “Did I receive any negativity? I did – I saw it [coming from] outside of our audience. I saw it on comic blogs, people mentioning that they ‘never really liked’ our store, ‘wouldn’t shop’ at our store, those kinds of things. But I felt confident that I’d made the right decision.”

Neal was shocked when other stores around the country began reaching out to Zeus and following suit. “I was very encouraged by the support that I got from other stores, even though I wasn’t really advocating that for them. That’s a decision they have to make on their own. It’s a decision I’m making,” Neal said, stressing that he never encouraged other stores not to carry the book. “If DC really wants to publish this book, it will be on a shelf, and if somebody really wants it, they can go get it. Or, they can go buy it digitally – they can do whatever they want to do. It is not my power to deny somebody a comic book if they really want to read it. It is my choice, as a retailer, to decide what products that I want to stock in my store.”

It was a choice that rippled through the comic community faster than a speeding bullet – and left fans divided. Critics of the boycott likened Zeus’ decision to an attack on Card, and in some cases, even censorship. “It’s grossly unfair to try to threaten someone’s livelihood simply because they believe marriage is the union of husband and wife.” Thomas Peters, Director of the National Organization for Marriage, of which Card sits on the board, lamented in an article for the Baltimore Sun. “He has a right to his personal beliefs. It’s good to see DC Comics is standing by him.” Neal, who makes a conscious decision not to carry numerous products in his store for a variety of reasons, doesn’t happen to agree.

“Orson Scott Card is a popular science fiction author. He’s writing one issue of Superman,” Neal said. “This has absolutely nothing to do with his livelihood. This more has to do with the store, as a consumer, making a choice on what products it wants to carry. For example – I don’t carry pornography. Zeus has made a choice not to carry pornography. Am I censoring pornography? Am I denying them their livelihood?”

“If it’s ‘censorship,’ then I ‘censor’ several hundred things every single month when I order [books for the store] from previews,” Neal continued. “I censor things when I decide not to stock Pez. I censor things when I decide not to stock a publisher whose quality of comic books is poor, who doesn’t sell in the store. I mean, censorship is a very intentional word that [critics] are trying to apply to one thing, when technically it could apply to any of my actions. I put stuff in the store that I know is going to sell. That’s what I stock. And Orson Scott Card has become so toxic that his comic book would not sell at Zeus.”

It’s that toxicity that Neal says is already hurting DC Comics as a whole, simply by association with Card.

“If somebody becomes so toxic, or so negative, that it’s going to hurt DC Comics’ brand, they should let them go,” Neal said. “We see this all the time in sports endorsements – Nike would let go of Lance Armstrong, Nike would let go of Tiger Woods if they themselves become so negative that it was ultimately going to impact the brand negatively. We have to look at whether publicity on this one specific issue is going to give DC enough sales that it’s worth them risking losing the confidence of another audience. This goes beyond just making high sales on one issue. We’re already seeing in the Batwoman articles – about Batwoman proposing to her girlfriend – and it’s already [been] marred, because they talk about the positives with Batwoman and then the very next article is about how DC hired Orson Scott Card. It’s already infecting everything else they’re doing.”

While Neal says Zeus did carry Card’s Ultimate Iron Man in 2005, he stresses that it was before much was known by the public about Card’s beliefs. While he does have several books in the store – and in his home – written by authors whose beliefs don’t always line up with his own, it’s a combination of Card’s anti-gay activism and the character he’ll be writing for that make this situation different.

“I have a shelf full of writers and artists and publishers and marketers, and just products that I don’t necessarily know their political beliefs, or where on the spectrum of equality that they fall,” Neal said. “But at what point do you decide somebody’s gone crazy? At what point do you realize, okay – this is now incendiary? This is now too hot to touch. This is too important of an issue to ignore. I mean, he did this to himself. It wasn’t like an off comment on Twitter at 9:00 at night because he’d had too much to drink – this is consistent and habitual, to the point that it is repulsive.”

In response to the growing pressure from fans, DC released a statement on Card’s hiring, saying in part “As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.” It’s a standard boilerplate response – and Neal isn’t buying it.

“If Card had said something negative about gender, if Card had said something negative about race or ethnicity and had been so incendiary for such a long period of time – DC would have fired him. DC would have let him go. So it’s a little offensive to me that they wouldn’t take that same stance even though we’re looking at an issue of equality,” Neal said.

“The message that it sends, in their statement, where they talk about creators rights and opinions – they’re basically saying  ‘Sorry guys, we can’t do anything.’ That’s the real damning piece of evidence – when they came out afterwards and basically said ‘Oh, our writers have opinions about all this stuff, but it doesn’t reflect on DC.’ Well, no – that writer is writing Superman. And you want Superman to stand for everybody, you want him to stand for equality. You want him to stand for truth, justice, and the American way. You need to make sure that people who work on that are also, themselves, inspiring.”

And while the damage that Card’s hire has done to DC’s reputation amongst LGBTQ fans goes without saying, Neal also raised concerns about what the hire would mean for the Man of Steel – Superman himself.

“Having read comics for several decades, I know that when a writer first gets on an iconic character, they typically go through and try to redefine what that character’s meaning is,” Neal said. “So my fear is on Superman, we’re going to see some of [Card's ideals] come through. Superman has always looked out for us. He was always the best of us. He was always strong, he was always caring, he was always trying to do what’s right. So it was really poignant in All Star Superman, where he’s talking to a kid who appears to be about to jump off a cliff, and his interpretation is that it’s maybe an attempted gay suicide. He’s just being kind, welcoming and just letting this person know that it’s going to be alright. That is Superman. Superman is that kind of caring individual. He’s not someone who sits on a board and denies people’s rights.”

Though the response to his decision may have been varied, Neal remains firm in his conviction, and his dedication to the Zeus Comics audience. He chooses to focus on the good that’s come from the discussion.

“What’s happened over the last week its that we have informed the audience – we’re at the point now where we’re making informed consumers,” Neal reflected.

“We make choices all the time to support certain types of causes or certain writers, we go to certain gas stations because they weren’t part of an oil spill, we buy organic milk, we go to a local brewery. What we’ve done with this issue is that we’ve informed the audience about hate, and hate speech, and how it affects us, and how we’re going to spend our dollars on things that are positive.”

Chaka Cumberbatch is a writer, cosplayer, and professional disseminator of anime news. You can find her on Twitter as @princessology.

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  • Anonymous

    We need more interviews like this – rational points of view, being well and concisely expressed, without histrionics. Well done to Neal for calmly taking a stand.

  • Cthandhs

    I could not agree more with his decision not to stock OSC’s superman. Sometimes the only way to get the message across that hate speech won’t be tolarated is to vote with our dollars.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ImCrystalLynn Crystal Lynn

    “you want Superman to stand for everybody, you want him to stand for equality. You want him to stand for truth, justice, and the American way. You need to make sure that people who work on that are also, themselves, inspiring.”

    True words, Neal. Very true words.

  • Anonymous

    “Threaten someone’s livelihood”? Yeah, I’m sure OSC is about to go broke any minute.

  • Ayumi09

    Wow, there’s so much controversy surrounding this single comic book. I’m curious now about whether or not OSC’s personal beliefs will be reflected at all in his characterization of Superman. Oddly enough, if anything, all this has made me interested in acquiring the issue.

  • Anonymous

    What I honestly don’t understand is how the same man who came up with the Hierarchy of Foreignness and based the whole series of books on the idea that people are people, even if they’re spacebugs or self-aware computer networks, can possibly believe that LGBT people don’t deserve to have the same rights as the rest of the world.

  • TheBoost

    Free speech has consequences. I respect Card’s rights, but if he uses those rights to let us all know what an awful person he is, then no one should be surprised if there are consequences.

  • TheBoost

    Hate is a terrible thing. It doesn’t allow you to think straight.

  • Anonymous

    Thomas Peters says “It’s grossly unfair to try to threaten someone’s livelihood simply because they believe marriage is the union of husband and wife.”, which makes me wonder, what would be fair to try to threaten someone’s livelihood over? Not that the boycott of Card is an actual threat to his livelihood. Why does ‘the author’s belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife’ fall into the unfair-reasons-not-to-buy-a-thing category rather than the fair-reasons-not-to-buy-a-thing category? Who gets to decide what goes in which category? It sort of strikes me as though Peters feels like Card is entitled to have people buy his stories which is just ridiculous. Authors are not entitled to audiences; they have to build them.

  • Anonymous

    Never mind the irony of NOM talking about threatening someone else’s livelihood…

  • Anonymous

    Right on, Neal!

  • Anonymous

    Damn hero in my book. Just what the holyfuck was DC thinking, knowing that almost every geek under 35 is okay with the gays (and has access to any comic book writer’s Wikipedia page)?

  • http://www.facebook.com/michaelinthenow Michael Fleming

    Batwoman’s girlfriend, Maggie Sawyer, was a Superman character first. If I’m not mistaken one of the first who wasn’t a “gay character” but a character who just happened to be gay. Makes you wonder what Mr. Card would have done with her if she was still head of Metropolis SCU.

  • http://twitter.com/Loerwyn Kathryn

    They almost certainly won’t be reflected in his portrayal of undies-on-the-outside-man, but that doesn’t change the fact that OSC/NOM can and will profit from this venture.

    Using a character who embodies diversity and equality and using him to financially support the complete opposite of that seems inherently wrong to me.

  • Flei Necromantika

    Woah,you americans are retarded.
    Leave guy alone.
    I read Clive Barker,and basically every single belief of his clashes with mine.
    What the fuck is wrong with all of you?

  • http://twitter.com/Sarakenobi Incredibly Awesome

    church indoctrination?

  • moffatt0184

    that’s your freedom to do so, mine is just to accept Card’s freedom to his opinion. Easy to forget that when everyone’s expecting others to accept everyone’s opinions “or else” Welcome to the new world order of America

  • Anonymous

    Comics aren’t just for kids but kids do buy them and there ought to be some sort of warning placed on the cover at the very least. You expect Superman to be something safe not something suddenly handed over to the KKK or the Taliban or OSC.

  • Ayumi09

    I for one am supporting DC Comics, who will also profit from this. I am a long time reader of their comics and would be more than willing to give them my money. OSC’s personal beliefs are irrelevant to my enjoyment of this product. I’m sure there are many other products I purchase produced by people with different viewpoints from my own. Will I let that affect my enjoyment of those products? Not at all. I am not that easily offended.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laura.truxillo Laura Truxillo

    “Thomas Peters, Director of the National Organization
    for Marriage, of which Card sits on the board, lamented in an article
    for the Baltimore Sun. ‘He has a right to his personal beliefs. It’s
    good to see DC Comics is standing by him.’”

    THAT’S a pretty damning bit of publicity, right there. I mean, hell, think about it, DC. You’ve got the Director of an organization dedicated to keeping LGBTQ as second-class citizens (and maybe even recriminalizing homosexuality one day!) saying that it’s good to see you standing by them.

    Well, “standing by him.” But the “him” in question being a man who is under fire for being a major part of that same organization.

    To me, that, more than all the outrage from fans, should be the bit that makes you stop, think, and feel a little bit sick about yourselves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laura.truxillo Laura Truxillo

    Does Clive Barker actively campaign to deny people their rights? Because that’s “what’s wrong with us.” It’s not just that his beliefs clash–it would be a worse world if people couldn’t read books by writers they don’t agree with.

    He actively sits on the board for NOM. He actively seeks to deny full rights to LGBTQ citizens. Hell, he’s actively sought to have homosexuality recriminalized. Like, as in, throw people in jail for being gay.

    There’s disagreeing with someone, and then there’s someone actively making the world a worse place.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laura.truxillo Laura Truxillo

    Why does everyone miss the bit where it’s not just about being offended. It’s about crap like NOM. NOM doesn’t merely offend–it seeks to deny human beings of their rights.

    It’s the difference between someone saying that your religion or lack of religion is wrong (offensive?) and someone trying to make you legally obligated to follow their religion.

  • Ayumi09

    Oh, don’t worry, I didn’t miss that it was NOM. From what I know about the group, it is not involved in any illegal activity, nor is it advocating violence towards anyone. It has been stated that NOM seeks to deny human beings of their rights, when they are legally advertising and campaigning for what they believe in. Whether or not I agree with them is irrelevant; however, they are well within their rights to voice their opinions. One could even say that by trying to silence NOM, they would be denied their right to freedom of speech.

    Either way, none of this has anything to do with the fact that I am interested in reading this comic, as OSC is a talented author.

  • http://twitter.com/Loerwyn Kathryn

    No, it’s just being watched by the FBI, apparently, as a potential breeding ground for home-grown terrorists, particularly in the wake of OSC calling for a governmental overthrow simply over the issue of marriage equality. They might not directly and openly advocate violence, but they’re certainly spreading the seeds that could certainly grow into violent confrontations.

    But even then, it is NOT about their views. It is about their actions. This comic will indirectly support them financially. Yes, they’re legally allowed to have views, but their views – and actions – are almost entirely revolved around recriminalising homosexuality, thus destroying thousands – if not millions – of lives and families across the US. They are, above anything else, a hate group. They have nothing but their own interests in mind, and will gladly suppress and marginalise (at the very least) a minority group in order to see that through.

    No-one is denying them their right to speech, we’re urging others NOT to buy this title if you have any compassion at all. By buying this comic, by supporting OSC, you’re contributing to a group who wishes to eliminate the rights of a minority group.

    And if OSC is a talented author then I’m a turnip. Have you noticed how *nothing* he has written since Ender’s Game has had anywhere near the same critical response? The following novels came close, but for someone so “talented” he sure puts out a whole load of tripe. His previous comics work was not well-received, too.

  • http://twitter.com/Loerwyn Kathryn

    And, don’t forget, his views aren’t the ‘core’ issue – it is his actions.

    DC don’t get the issue *at all*

  • http://twitter.com/Loerwyn Kathryn

    Clive Barker’s beliefs? Sort of along the lines of how he’s gay, in a stable relationship and has (adopted?) children?

    Clive’s nothing but a positive role model. And he’s English. Like me. So, y’know, I’ll stick up for him.

  • Ayumi09

    This reminds me of the Chik-Fil-A thing all over again, gosh. By buying this comic, I am supporting a company that I DO enjoy purchasing from, that being DC Comics. I have spent money on a lot of things, and I’m sure that some, even most, of the money I’ve spent did eventually end up funding some kind of illicit activity, be it drugs, a hate group, whatever. I do not agree with these kinds of beliefs, so does that mean I should stop spending money? I am guaranteed a short, boring life if that were the case.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Armstrong/662562153 Adam Armstrong

    If superman was the only comic DC published your logical fallacy would have some merit. But since there are literally hundreds of other titles that they publish, you’re just supporting homophobia and NOM.

  • Ayumi09

    Yep, you’ve got me. I am SUCH a huge homophobe that I’m wanting to buy this issue JUST so I can support homophobia. Not cause, you know, I enjoy reading and collecting comic books or anything. DC may publish “hundreds of other titles”, but they’re only publishing one Adventures of Superman this year. Thanks, but try again.

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    It’s not so much that Card believes in only heterosexual marriage, it’s that he voices this belief in public, frequent, and confrontational ways.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I’m curious what he has planned for the comic, too…so, I’ll 4Chan it.

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    “almost every geek under 35 is okay with the gays”

    If only.

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    On the one hand, I credit him for not bringing his bigotry into his art too overtly. On the other hand, yeah, what the fuck?

  • Wayne Anthony Feeney

    Well done, Ayumi, on extrapolating Kathryn and Laura’s points and applying them to something that is completely beside the point. If you are unaware of where your money is going when you purchase something, well, there is something to be said for ignorance. That may excuse you in certain cases. Their point is that any purchaser of this comic will be, by now surely, well aware that their money is indirectly supporting the hate-mongers that comprise NOM. There is no excuse for knowledgeably supporting such beliefs. If you’re so concerned with supporting DC Comics, instead of buying OSC’s Superman, go out and spend it on one, or even two issues of one of their series you would not normally bother with.

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    You don’t have to actually be a homophobe to support homophobia. It’s like how I don’t really want to kill people, but my tax dollars still support drone attacks.

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    You don’t have to actually be a homophobe to support homophobia. It’s like how I don’t really want to kill people, but my tax dollars still support drone attacks.

  • Ayumi09

    Why thank you, Wayne, for your kind words. No, I don’t spend my free time poring through the business records and financial statements of every single business affiliated with a product that I purchase, do you? Bought anything from Nestlé? Congrats, you funded child slave labour. I will take your advice and buy an issue of a series I don’t usually bother with then: that being Adventures of Superman, which I was only ever interested in because of all the hype surrounding it. I suppose all I can do now is buy the comic and cross my fingers that OSC chooses to spend his fraction of my $3.99 on a sandwich for lunch instead of a donation to NOM.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Also, Card goes beyond simply believing marriage is the union of husband and wife. He actively works to undo and prevent equal rights for GLBT people and calls their sexualities disfunctions.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    …and actively works to undo the laws that have been passed so far to protect the rights of GLBT people.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Ayumi, that is your choice. This is mine. I can’t always afford to only put my money where I think nobody awful will benefit from it. Local grocery stores I have access to all have terrible records for how they treat their employees. But I cannot afford to travel to or get a Costco membership (Costco has a much better track record on this). So I knowingly purchase from these other chains for my food because any other option would be almost impossible. But this is easy. I can decide not to purchase this comic. I have a long list of comics I’d want to read.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laura.truxillo Laura Truxillo

    “What they believe in” IS denying other human beings their civil rights. As in, they literally believe in denying people the right to marry. They literally believe in recriminalizing homosexuality. The believe in denying other human beings their rights based on sexuality.

    It’s not all that different than belonging to an organization that believes in outlawing interracial marriage and works toward that end.

    “One could even say that by trying to silence NOM, they would be denied their right to freedom of speech.”

    No. No, one could not. Please read the first amendment again. That whole, “Congress shall make no law…” bit. “Freedom of Speech” promises freedom from government action against the words of a person or organization. It does NOT promise freedom from the personal consequences of that speech. If the personal consequences are that people don’t want anything to do with you, businesswise, then that’s tough. And no one is trying to “silence NOM.” We’re simply saying that it’s a hateful organization, and that we don’t want to support it, and that someone sitting on the board of such an organization is not someone who should be writing a character that has always been about truth, justice, and equality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laura.truxillo Laura Truxillo

    If the actual information that money you spend goes to a hate group or terrorists or child labor–like, actual, hey, this organization directly supports THIS organization type information–and your are generally opposed to those sorts of things…then yes, maybe you should not spend your money that way. It in no way guarantees you a “short, boring life” to be responsible.

  • Ayumi09

    Perhaps you should read my comment again before quoting it at me. It was previously implied that purchasing things that indirectly support the company financially is bad. I was stating that if I stopped spending money on things that indirectly supported bad companies financially, then there would be practically nothing I could spend my money on. Unless I chose to grow my own food, I would be unable to buy from pretty much any store, since SOMEone, SOMEwhere with a system of beliefs that is not in line with mine would benefit indirectly. Not being able to spend money on food, because I don’t want to support the BAD BAD companies, and not having access to land on which to grow my own food, will leave me without food, thus causing a short life. I can’t believe I actually have to explain this…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alissa-Knyazeva/100000197242034 Alissa Knyazeva

    I want to know if he was always like this. Many moons ago I did a book project on Ender’s Game (chosen by my group, not me, though I enjoyed the read somewhat) and I wrote an essay that compared OSC’s view points and life to those expressed in the book. At the time, his homophobia wasn’t well known, but I was able to draw parallels between his other opinions and life experiences and the book’s content, however.

    I mean… it’s just an incredible cognitive dissonance. How can you promote tolerance to such extreme levels and then oppose it? I’m wondering if this thing is a “new” development for him, but he’s too attached to the money he’s making on the stuff he wrote earlier so he won’t just openly denounce it, even if he no longer believes it.

  • http://twitter.com/diefrankenmaus Kate

    Seriously. People need to learn that freedom of speech only guarantees you the right to the speech act without being arrested, not protection from the consequences of that act.

  • Anonymous

    I’m well aware of that. Plenty of people have done a great job of calling out the exact extent of Card’s bigotry in this and other threads. I was actually trying to highlight the ridiculousness of there being categories of things for which it is or isn’t fair to refuse to purchase someone’s work. People who make the “it’s unfair to boycott someone for (reason)” seem to operate on an assumption that sellers are entitled to have buyers, and that sense of entitlement is patently ridiculous.

  • Travis Fischer

    This is like the Comic Book version of the Chris Brown (who beats women) thing. Look, it’s not that difficult a concept to grasp. There is a certain point where the personal beliefs and actions of a creative individual overshadow their actual work.

    I don’t want OSC to get my money. I don’t really want him to get anybody’s money because I know what he uses it for.

    But he’s probably already cashed DC’s check. His actual involvement in this is probably over. The only thing a boycott accomplishes is that it rolls that issue of Superman up and whaps DC on the nose with it saying, “No! Bad puppy! Don’t do that again!”

  • http://twitter.com/Loerwyn Kathryn

    But how often were you directly aware of those things? And how often could you avoid purchasing?

    You can’t – or I dare say shouldn’t – avoid paying your taxes. You can’t avoid spending money for utilities, fuels, food, etc. And yes, some of that money will go to support organisations or events that are distasteful. Would we have the wars and discord in the Middle-East if we didn’t use petrol? Maybe not. But our society functions on petrol, and its presence is unavoidable because products you have will invariably have petrol involved at some point, even just for transportation.

    But we’re talking about something non-essential and completely avoidable. You can buy the digital version of this title, or will be able to, and not get the OSC story. You’d still get your fix of Superman, but you won’t have given money to OSC. If you buy it, you’ll willingly be giving money to someone who spends their time and money attacking a minority group. Not just speaking out about them, but actually actively campaigning to destroy the civil rights and liberties of families and people across the US.

    You’ve done the same thing as so many of these articles, though. You’ve said “beliefs”. IT IS NOT ABOUT CARD’S BELIEFS. It *never* has been about his BELIEFS. It is about his *ACTIONS*. His actions, done with the sole purpose to destroy the lives of potentially millions of people in the US. He doesn’t just speak out against homosexuality, he actively crusades to see it wiped out. And it’s not something separate from his work. Aside from all the naked fights between young boys in his magnum opus (does that not strike you as a little creepy?), he recently has his novella Hamlet’s Father republished, in which he desecrates Shakespeare’s Hamlet by using it as a vehicle to promote his view that homosexuality, paedophilia and abuse are linked.

    If you want Superman, there are, what, almost 70 years of Superman comics for you to read? That’s not including the spin-offs, appearances, different titles, etc. If you care even the slightest about the LGBT community, or equality, or ANYTHING, then you would not buy this comic, because to do so would be to give money to OSC (and, thusly, NOM) to fuel his crusade against minority groups.

  • http://twitter.com/NegroLuvKFC Heywood Jablowme

    Orson Scott Card is a Mormon. What do you expect? When will gays accept a persons right not to like homosexuality? Bigots.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I’m sure there’s an example that’s more ironic and bizarre, but I can’t think of one.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I really, REALLY doubt that figure is accurate.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    That’s ridiculous.

  • http://twitter.com/Sarakenobi Incredibly Awesome

    how is it that wanting equal rights is bigotry when actively campaigning to suppress rights is somehow TOTALLY AWESOME?

  • tean

    My store is also not carrying this comic, and we are continuously receiving negative or threatening phone calls about it. I don’t understand people at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/winter.crawley Dara Crawley

    That’s not always true.
    Obviously so due to the popularity of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight….or Red Son…or the Justice Lords….or even Superboy Prime…or…Do I have to go on at this point?

  • http://www.facebook.com/winter.crawley Dara Crawley

    I agree but you have to understand the logic of it
    The idea is that by supplier’s not carrying a certain product they are denying their costumer’s the right to buy that product. Which used to be somewhat true before the internet. However people can just download it or order it online.
    It’s faulty logic, but it does make sense.

    Overall I think this whole thing is blown way out of proportion. Buy the comic or don’t. It’s a simplistic argument for Neal to basically insinuate that hiring Card somehow shows DC hates the Queer community (I use Queer because I hate sexuality being treated in such binary terms). It’s not quite comparable to being compared to hiring a writer with racist sentiments because I think…last I checked there are still more positive Queer characters at DC than PoC and with women it’s a slightly more nuanced and complicated issue than either race of sexuality. Either way DC hired Frank Miller and he has a load of problems with women and certain ethnicities that come through his writing (consciously or not)

  • http://www.facebook.com/winter.crawley Dara Crawley

    Can I ask….why does everyone assume his actions with the money he recieves will go to supporting the denial of rights to the Queer community?

    Has he actually said that?

    I’m not saying spending money on the comic is good or bad, but everyone here who is posting to not buy the comic is acting like they have direct first hand knowledge that Card is going to spend that money in a very specific way, and it’s kind of hilarious. For all we know that man will buy himself a new house, a car, or somthing completely unrelated to his personal beliefs. It would actually be pretty funny if after everything unfolds if he just came out and said “Yeah didn’t donate a cent, I went on a vacation and paid off some debt. Now the Ender’s Game movie money…that’s another story”

  • http://www.facebook.com/winter.crawley Dara Crawley

    You do know the poster never made a comment on sexuality. Sexuality and relationship status does not equal belief.

  • Guest

    This article has a great in-depth discussion on recurrent themes in OSC’s books (“which [focus] on the figure of an abused child with a consistency I can only call compulsive.”). I remember Songmaster specifically conflated homosexuality with pedophilia, and that was 1979. http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2011/10/hamlets-father-orson-scott-card-and-the-nightmare-of-the-patriarchal-family.html

  • Guest

    This article has a great in-depth discussion on recurrent themes in OSC’s books (“which [focus] on the figure of an abused child with a consistency I can only call compulsive.”). I remember Songmaster specifically conflated homosexuality with pedophilia, and that was 1979. http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2011/10/hamlets-father-orson-scott-card-and-the-nightmare-of-the-patriarchal-family.html

  • http://twitter.com/nachtritter Duke Fleed

    [...]“knowing that almost every geek under 35 is okay with the gays”[...]

    I wish I lived in that happy universe of yours, but in the one I live in, it’s still commonplace among geeks, nerds, and gamers to use ‘gay’ in a derogatory manner and make fun of homosexual males at about any opportunity. Oh but they have gay friends, or they don’t REALLY actually mind homosexuality. Except they make fun of people they supposedly accept and use them as an insult to straight people.

  • http://twitter.com/nachtritter Duke Fleed

    There’s a difference between not liking something and wanting to go so far as destroying the government and replace it with another one that will suppress the thing you don’t like so you don’t have to acknowledge its right to exist, ever.

  • http://twitter.com/nachtritter Duke Fleed

    I’m pretty sure that Clive Barker never advocated or encouraged the random arrests and punishment of straight people for liking straight sex, just to remind them straights that the man-to-woman sex and marriage is wrong! I don’t know that he didn’t do that, mind you. But some just might say that Clive Barker never encouraged overthrowing the government just because they might give people of a different sexual orientation than his the same rights as he.

  • http://twitter.com/nachtritter Duke Fleed

    The point is that Clive is an entirely different animal than OSC. Be it on the level of beliefs or sexual orientation, Clive has never encouraged anyone to suppress the rights of anybody else. You can disagree with him but still read his material. In the case of OSC, he has actively encouraged people to rise against the government just so his children wouldn’t have to live in a country where gay people have equal rights. You can’t just buy his stuff and disagree with him, because if you do buy his stuff, you’re supporting his cause. There’s a whole political level you get with OSC that you just don’t with Clive Barker.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laura.truxillo Laura Truxillo

    For me, in this case, it’s less about “my money goes to support this.” (Whereas in Chick-Fil-A, when the numbers got put up, there was no way I could feel right about it, even if just a nickle from my sandwich went there.)

    It’s that I don’t want to support HIM. As a person. Because what he DOES, what he actively seeks to do, is so utterly reprehensible to me, that I want nothing to do with him or anything he produces.

    There have been people I’ve been iffy about buying books from because of things they’ve said, but when it turns into action, no, it’s not even “iffy” anymore. It’s not about how he will spend the money. It’s about the fact that DC chose to give writing duties for their flagship character, a character who has always represented the best in humanity, to a man who actively seeks to deny other human beings their rights.

  • Penny Sautereau-Fife

    Thomas Peters, like NOM itself. is a Vatican Front, allergic to honest,and virulently anti-gay. Defending blatant homophobic bigotry as “merely supporting the Biblical view of marriage” is one of his favorite lines.

  • http://twitter.com/Loerwyn Kathryn

    Because he’s on the Board of Directors for NOM? If you don’t believe that doesn’t involve donating money, then I think that’s kind of naive – and this is also ignoring the requirement for followers of his church (he’s a Mormon) to donate a percentage of their earnings. And, of course, that church will feed money into itself and into things like “Gay Cure Therapy”. And considering the amount of money OSC earns from sales, film deals, etc.? That’s not a small amount of money.

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    It would be like if Cloud Atlas were written by David Duke.

  • Anonymous

    DC doesn’t seem to have a problem with homophobic writers over the years, such as Chuck Dixon, or Garth Ennis.

  • http://twitter.com/thegaf The Gaf

    “Censorship” is the Government banning DC Comics from printing and selling this work. What Zeus Comics is doing is called “capitalism” and “following their conscience”. Good for them.

  • Anonymous

    Then I’m putting my blame on the “Seattle bubble” I live in ;) I was speaking more of the ‘don’t really actually mind homosexuality’ sentiment, and I agree that those same folks can possibly become asshat trolls in forums and online gaming with their derogatory terms.

  • http://twitter.com/thefremen Miles

    Frank Miller’s Dark Knight is kind of an argument against having writers who don’t fit the books write the books. I mean, “The God Damn Batman” meme wouldn’t exist without him.

  • Anonymous

    Two things though: One, even assuming that Card has his money and isn’t involved anymore, we can show *DC* that we won’t give them our money for hiring people like OSC. DC has been nearly as problematic as Card himself in this whole debacle. I am totally for whapping DC on their nose for this!

    Two, I’m pretty sure Card gets a portion of the profits on the run.

    It’s really a pity, because I enjoyed a lot of Card’s work before I was made aware of his bigotry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Not tolerating someone’s intolerance is intolerant! Write it down, people!

  • Anonymous

    The justification I’ve heard given is that he’s not judging the *people* but rather their *actions*; he claims to have no problem with gay *urges* (and I seem to recall in at least one interview, implied that he thought they made sense on the grounds that a man will know better what a man wants in bed than a woman will), but rather *acting* on those urges.

    To use the ‘spacebugs’ analogy, you don’t judge the bugs for being different, you judge them for what their actions cause.

    Which is obviously still stupid, inasmuch as there’s nothing wrong with the *actions* either. But I can see how he could twist his logic around enough to justify things to himself such that the Hierarchy of Foreignness doesn’t directly contradict this position.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1074630034 Emily Krebs

    “As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression,
    however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are
    just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.”

    And this here highlights one of the biggest flaws with our culture and society: The notion that companies are somehow separate, sentient, and unfeeling, entities that must be excused of all actions because it’s “just a company” and it “does what’s in the best interest of the company.” But what is a company? A bunch of robots? No, it’s a group of people. People make these decisions, not some sentient floating business dust. And so the actions that a company takes, that a group of people takes, reflect those people’s morals, and the idea that morals are somehow separate from a company is ridiculous.

    History seems perfectly content reminding us constantly that the Nazis were people who did evil things, and they are constantly deplored for their actions. No one goes around saying, “Oh, well, the people shouldn’t be held accountable, because it was just the Nazi machine that felt that way. Himmler? Yeah, not his fault, just doing his job.” Yet when it comes to business, suddenly the people become faceless background blobs who are powerless against the whims of the industry. That image of the one rich evil corporate CEO that we so love to revile in movies and books? That’s us. That’s not just one guy. That’s every single person in a company who accepts this philosophy of the force of intangible business ruling them.

    So bravo, Neal, for cutting the crap and reminding us that companies aren’t objects; they’re people. And when people do awful things, they should be held accountable.

  • Anonymous

    But in the Ender books the destruction caused by the bugs in the first war and the murders commited by the piggies are explained and forgiven, because it’s accepted thet their actions were based on an alien system of values and ideas. So he can explain away vivisection and attempted genocide, but not two guys boinking? IMHO that’s a very strange place to set the line between acceptable and unacceptable.

    I suppose the whole problem is that he can accept the existence of a completely alien way of life because it’s so disconnected from what we experience here. But he can’t get over the idea of someone making smaller changes in his own reality. I’ve met people like that – they’ll tell you how tollerant they are since they have no problem at all with strange customs of some Amazonian tribe they saw on TV, but if they had to see a black doctor or have a lesbian teach maths to their children, they’d explode.

  • http://twitter.com/cythraul Stephen Dunscombe

    This and also this.

  • http://twitter.com/cythraul Stephen Dunscombe

    But what NOM believes in is denying people human rights. They’re a lobby group, devoted to changing the law to make it less just, less compassionate, more bigoted, and more oppressive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Nice ableist slur.