But the unsurprising consequences of Orson Scott Card’s ascension as writer for the new Adventures of Superman have now begun in earnest. Today it was reported that Chris Sprouse, the illustrator who was assigned to Card’s first Superman story, has now withdrawn from the project.
According to USA Today, Sprouse said:
“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…”
The problem is the controversy surrounding Card’s anti-gay stance. Let’s be real, it’s not so much his “stance” as it is his very loud activist leadership against the equal rights of Gay Americans. As I wrote last week, Card stands for everything Superman is against. Sprouse didn’t make any specific comments regarding Card himself, but his refusal to work with him on Superman is a pretty large statement itself.
It’s harder and harder to justify DC Comics’ decision here. Will it be more difficult for other devoted Superman illustrators to work with an author who represents the opposite of their hero’s values? Does DC really want to alienate thousands of fans and readers by continuing on this path?
The controversy will probably get DC lots of sales for Card’s first story, but at what cost to the legacy of Superman?