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‘Superman’ controversy brewing at DC

superman-toutIn perhaps a move that caught them by surprise, DC Comics is facing some backlash from comic fans after they announced science fiction author Orson Scott Card had been commissioned to write a story for their Adventures of Superman series.  Card, who is an award-winning and best-selling author of the Ender’s Game series, is also a long-time critic of homosexuality and has written and called gay marriage “the end of democracy in America.” In 2009, he became a board member of National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a group that campaigns against same-sex marriage.

For some, this is an odd move as DC has attempted to include LGBT characters in its superhero universe over the last half decade.

Card, a Mormon, was called out by Salon‘s Donna Minkowitz as a “disgustingly outspoken homophobe” after an interview in 2000. Said Card during the exchange with Minkowitz, “I find the comparison between civil rights based on race and supposed new rights being granted for what amounts to deviant behavior to be really kind of ridiculous. And the idea of ‘gay marriage’ — it’s hard to find a ridiculous enough comparison,” Per Minkowitz, Card added this little gem: “By the way, I’d really hate it if your piece wound up focusing on the old charge that I’m a homophobe.” Sadly, the irony of that statement was lost on him, when in 2004 he wrote: “[I]t is a flat lie to say that homosexuals are deprived of any civil right pertaining to marriage. To get those civil rights, all homosexuals have to do is find someone of the opposite sex willing to join them in marriage.” Then, in 2011 he published a version of Hamlet in which the prince’s father is a gay pedophile. Card wrote: “Old King Hamlet was an inadequate king because he was gay, an evil person because he was gay, and, ultimately, a demonic and ghostly father of lies who convinces young Hamlet to exact imaginary revenge on innocent people.” Publishers Weekly took him to task for that, saying Card’s focus on Hamlet’s father was “primarily on linking homosexuality with the life-destroying horrors of pedophilia, a focus most fans of possibly bisexual Shakespeare are unlikely to appreciate”.

Actor Michael Hartney -who describes himself as “as big a Superman fan as you’ll ever meet” – has written to DC voicing his concerns about Card. “If this was a Holocaust denier or a white supremacist, there would be no question. Hiring that writer would be an embarrassment to your company. Well, Card is an embarrassment to your company, DC. And of all the characters Card could have been hired to write, you give him Superman? The character that taught me to lead by example? To do the right thing, even when it was hard? To keep going, even when it seemed hopeless? What an insult. Kids are killing themselves. They are killing themselves in a climate of intolerance and homophobia publicly fostered by people like Orson Scott Card. You don’t have to contribute to this. You shouldn’t. You mustn’t.

Petition website,Allout.org, has started an appeal, calling for DC to drop Card.

But, while I’ve known the man to be a raging homophobe for a long, long time (working in the book business as long as I have, you learn these things) and refuse to buy or read any of his work, and felt dirty even talking about the film version of Ender’s Game due this November on DoorQ, but should he be denied work because he is a fucking, altogether, raging homophobe? And if so, what difference is this then, than the McCarthy witch hunts of 1950s?

The biggest impact readers of Superman can do with this issue -first in digital format, and then a physical comic- is to make it the poorest selling comic in DC’s line. But then I hear it already, from the collectors, those completest fans whom won’t skip an issue because…well, they can’t do just do that. The consumer ultimately makes the decision for the company selling the work, and if Card’s Superman story sells poorly, he’ll never be asked back.

And that is more of win than signing a petition, which I will admit, seems rather pointless here.

And while DC –which is owned by Warner Bros- has not released a statement, the other thing fans can do is impact the box office of The Man of Steel –though I admit that seems just as pointless. And this November, when Ender’s Game comes out, no matter what the reviews, don’t go and see it and make sure you friends and family are aware of the issue.

To me this a more viable protest than signing a petition.

We must stick firm to our beliefs as much as Card has stuck to his. Maybe this dust up will give pause to movie goers and comic book fans that have gay friends and family members. Card will always have fans –I’ve been telling readers for years about his horrid homophobia, and they just shrug and say they can read his work and ignore his politics. That is fine, even as I shake my head. I have hopes that if I can stop one reader, well, I’ve won and Orson Scott Card did not get a new reader.

5 Comments

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  1. Scott says
    February 11, 2013, 7:38 pm

    First off you’re some sort of bigot your self sir!
    Who cares that he is anti-gay! So long as he doesn’t bring those sentiments into the comic he’s writing? I could give two craps so long as the story and writing is good! People really need to let go of stuff I’m sorry but things are being made WAY too damn complicated. He doesn’t like gay marriage? So what neither does most of America and is as sick of hearing about it as I am! Let the man be for Christ Sakes.

    Reply
  2. Austin says
    February 11, 2013, 9:13 pm

    This is really unfortunate. The level of intolerance for other people’s views kind of makes me sick. Of course I’m talking about the author of this article. Drawing comparisons to the holocaust or civil rights because someone has a belief in morality is intellectually bankrupt. The fact that you can only hurl insults and use playground insults like “homophobe” means you are not being intellectually honest about the discussion and are probably too close minded to understand how someone can be against homosexuality and NOT be hateful.

    I, among many others, find it a great example of classic Superman morality to have someone of this caliber making comics.

    Reply
  3. Hav says
    February 11, 2013, 9:41 pm

    If you don’t want to support Card for his beliefs, you should definitely boycott his Superman story. Boycotting the entire comic line, however, is stupid, and boycotting Man of Steel, something Card has literally nothing to do with, is probably the most ignorant idea I’ve heard in a while. Some joe-schmoe has hired a delusional douchebag to write a one off story in a comic line, and you want to harm the work of people completely unrelated to him because the property is the same? Come on. Even you have to admit that’s pretty nonsensical.

    Even if people listened to you, and Man of Steel was boycotted in massive quantities by people all over the world, and became a box off failure of epic proportions, Warner Brothers would think Zack Snyder was a shitty director and they shouldn’t have picked him. Or maybe Superman was miscast. Or any number of other things that are ACTUALLY RELATED to the product itself, than Card writing a one off story in a Superman comic book. Jesus.

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  4. SH says
    February 12, 2013, 2:46 am

    Well, first of all, anyone has a right to work, so even the freakyminded ones like mr Card.
    But…, that said…, having read all of what he says, isn’t it obvious he is a selftormented closethomosexual himself? And with all that talk of pedophilia…, I’m even guessing that’s one of his problems to!
    It’s his way of fighting the feelings he has himself. The way the Mormons teach themselves to fight it. By just hating and hating and hating. But the more disgusting hate you spew, the more obvious it is to the rest, that he has to be one himself.

    So, going back to the books. If they’re good, read them. If they’re bad, don’t read them!
    His sick thoughts shouldn’t have anything to do with his creativity.
    Now what should be said about mr Card is…, having asked for anything that compares to the ridiculousness of gay marriage…, well that would be religion.
    Now I’m not saying that gay marriage is ridiculous. But I am saying that religion is! So he believes in something ridiculous and spurts out hate for something that’s quite logical. So who’s the idiot?

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  5. February 12, 2013, 11:10 am

    I do believe I noted how pointless it is to boycott Man of Steel, just as much as pointless as signing a petition to have DC drop him -I’ve never seen them to actually accomplish anything.

    The consumer IS the ultimate decision maker here, however, and they’ll either make Card’s story successful or not. And that was my point at the end, all the other stuff was just information.

    Have I used my influence as a long-time reader and bookseller to suggest to potential readers of Card’s work to contemplate how damaging his views can, and do you they want to support that by purchasing his works?

    Yes and no. It usually depended upon the audience. I can read body language fairly well, so I know when to speak up and when to be quiet.

    Have many friends who once read his work and have no found out hateful he can be and stopped reading his stuff on their own?

    Yes.

    Can I influence anyone into not buying his novels or this Superman story or stop people from seeing Man of Steel or Ender’s Game when it comes out in November?

    No. I’m just some dude trying to put information out there. Is it tinged with opinion? Of course. Blogs usually are, even this one.

    I was brought up to question everything, never take things at face value and beware of hypocrites (which all of are, by the way). Orson Scott Card, by expressing his opinion, is by the de facto nature then, an activist for that opinion.

    And so must I be.

    In the end, I’m disappointed the DC has hired him, but in a free country, they’re able to do that. But on the flip-side, I’m also able to point out my feelings on his hiring as well, and offer solutions to people who disagree with Card’s opinion.

    Oh to wish I could, though. Then I could stop people from reading James Patterson books and seeing Tom Cruise films.

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