DC comics is facing a mounting backlash over employing a virulently anti-gay writer to pen a new issue in its Superman series, with a number of stores even refusing to stock the issue when it comes out later this year.
The writer in question is Orson Scott Card, a celebrated Science Fiction stalwart. However, in recent years Card has become somewhat infamous for his anti-gay views. Now, legions of fans are protesting Card’s involvement with a forthcoming Superman storyline with several comic book stores saying they are going to refuse to stock the comic book, including Baltimore’s Gorilla King Comics and Ireland’s Big Bang Comic Shop, or that they will donate profits from those sales to charity because of their disappointment with DC.
It might be worth noting that Card has in the past written a number of titles for DC rival Marvel Comics, but his participation did not cause the same controversy as his getting his hands on the Man of Steel’s rudder. This may be because of how rapidly attitudes have changed with regards to gay rights, a general lack of consistency on the part of fans or, more likely, it might be the fact Superman has come to stand for something quite iconic, that is to say the hero of the lowly and disenfranchised.
Card, who is a a member of the board of directors of the notoriously anti-gay National Organization for Marriage, has written a number of polemics against homosexuality, and made a number of unsubstantiated claims such as that evidence shows someone is more likely to be homosexual if they have been sexually abused as a child.
In particular, and unsurprisingly given his NOM-affiliation, Card has been especially outspoken on the topic of gay marriage, such as last year when he wrote in favor of North Carolina’s overreaching amendment to ban same-sex marriage, civil unions and straight and gay domestic partnerships, Amendment 1.
In that op-ed, he alleged the fight was not over marriage equality but rather, “It’s about giving the left the power to force anti-religious values on our children. Once they legalize gay marriage, it will be the bludgeon they use to make sure that it becomes illegal to teach traditional values in the schools.”
He went on, “Any child with any gender or sexual confusion will be pushed inexorably away from the decision to establish a traditional family. They’ll be told, again and again, that any sign of effeminacy or gender confusion or same-sex attraction is an irrevocable, lifelong compulsion and they might as well shape their lives accordingly.”
In the very same piece, a bumper pack of Card’s views, the writer alleges that science in fact shows there is no evidence of an immutable quality to homosexuality (there is) and that science supports the effectiveness of reorientation therapy (it does not).
In previous years, Card has even gone so far as to use his platform to imagine a “homosexual society” grounded in “disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse,” this the subject of a 2004 essay Homosexual “Marriage” and Civilization.
Still, and despite receiving thousands of complaints, DC comics has so far refused to budge on the issue and is terming it as a matter of freedom of expression.
A spokesperson from DC Comics gave the following statement to the Advocate:
“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.”
DC has since — and perhaps with an eye to the Card backlash — revealed that out lesbian character Batwoman will be getting married, an apparent first for DC Comics.
Card will, we have been assured, be writing a storyline in keeping with Superman’s established character. The question seems to be, who will save DC from the ire of equality-minded Superman fans when the comic is released in April?
Image Credit: Ben Northern.