The lead artist scheduled to illustrate the upcoming Superman series for DC Comics announced he would not work with author Orson Scott Card after controversy erupted concerning his positions on marriage equality and the LGBT community as a whole.
Chris Sprouse said that he could not ethically be part of a project that included someone so virulently anti-LGBT.
He announced on Tuesday that he has quit the job, adding that he “wasn’t comfortable” working with Scott Card.
“It took a lot of thought to come to this conclusion, but I’ve decided to step back as the artist on this story,” Sprouse said.
“The media surrounding the story reached the point where it took away from the actual statement, 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,” he continued.
DC Comics said that they would continue to support Sprouse and his decision, saying in a statement that they “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.
“In the meantime, we will re-solicit the story at a later date when a new artist is hired,” the comic book giant said.
Scott Card, the popular author of the Ender’s Game series, is known for his anti-LGBT positions, which saw a massive backlash when DC announced him as writer of the upcoming series.
In the 1990s, he advocated for laws banning gay sex to remain on the books and enforced by government, and in 2004 put out an essay titled “Homosexual ‘Marriage’ and Civilization,” in which he wrote that “many” LGBT people “first entered into that world” due to being raped or abused.
In one of his most recent works, a 2008 novella called Hamlet’s Father, he portrayed King Hamlet as a pedophile who molested many of the characters as children, and implies that the abuse turned them homosexual.
“It seems surprising that DC would put Card in charge of writing Superman, given his prejudiced views,” Eric Rekow, founder of MythEdge Comics, a webcomics collective in San Francisco, told 429Magazine.
“DC has been at the forefront recently of inclusiveness … as a means of adding diversity to their character base. It would seem to be a step backwards to hire a writer whose well-known views on sexual orientation would be so antithetical to these strides,” he added.
The first casualty has been an artist.