DC hiring Orson Scott Card as one of the writers in a digital-first anthology of Superman stories is proving the controversy that won’t die, not simply because fans who appreciate the conflict between the themes associated with Superman as a character and the views that Card openly and publicly espouses about the basic rights of the LGBTQ community, along with the actions he’s taken to make those views into actual legislation, are being vocal about their disappointment regarding the choice. It’s still making news because actual members of the comic book community are doing things like refusing to stock the issue when it eventually comes to print, and movie executives are getting nervous about their blockbusters.
But while the retailer is still a big part of the comics community, you couldn’t call them as central to the industry as the artists who draw the books in the first place, and it’s now, according to USA Today, that the artist on Card’s Superman book has walked off the project, citing the negative attention that its drawn.
Chris Sprouse, who’s done much cover work and interiors for DC Comics before, and also on Midnighter, a series featuring an out gay superhero who is currently a part of the DC Universe, said in a statement:
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.
Sprouse was also due to illustrate another story for the anthology by another writer, but according to USA Today, he is departing the anthology entire. For the moment, DC comics is delaying Card’s story until another illustrator can be found, and it won’t be published in the initial collected print issue on May 29th. From their own statement: “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.” DC says they will re-solicit the story at “a later date” once they’ve locked down a new artist, a promise that, I note, does not come with much of a firm time frame. If there’s any kind of desire at DC to sweep this under the rug and hope people forget that it ever happened, this is it. I would hope that finding another artist willing to take on the job after this is a difficult one.
(via USA Today.)