Comics / Spotlight / Queer Comics

Gay Community Challenges Superman Writer Orson Scott Card

By Philip Schweier
February 12, 2013 - 21:32

Orson Scott Card
DC Comics has enlisted science fiction writer Orson Scott Card to pen its new series Adventures of Superman, which hits comic shops in May. Card’s hiring has created a wave of unrest in the LGBT community due to his vocal opposition to same sex marriage.

Card, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has taken a hardline view of same-sex marriage. In a 2004 essay entitled Homosexual 'Marriage' and Civilization, Card wrote, “The dark secret of homosexual society – the one that dares not speak its name – is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally."

I disagree completely with Card’s opinions regarding same-sex relationships. But it should be noted that first and foremost, he is an author. A good author? I couldn’t say, not having read his work. His books seem to sell, so I assume he has an audience somewhere. While I sympathize with those who oppose Card’s hiring, I can’t help but ask: what do his politics have to do with his ability to write comics?

Art by Chris Samnee for the cover of Adventures of Superman #1, scheduled for May
Card is an established writer with several novels to his credit. He recently entered the comic industry writing Ultimate Iron Man for Marvel Comics. It’s my expectation that DC Comics chose him due to his track record as a writer. And that should be the only basis for choosing him to write a comic book, not his politics.

Shortly after the release of kd lang’s 1989 album, Absolute Torch and Twang, I became interested in her music. I bought her first few CDs because I liked the music, not because she was gay or because of her views on vegetarianism. Her “Meat Stinks” campaign drove a wedge between her and the country music community. Personally, I didn’t care; I just enjoyed her music. But in time, I became less interested. Subsequent CDs were less enjoyable for me and I stopped buying them.

My point is that politics have nothing to do with a person’s professional qualifications. Many people have voiced their disapproval of DC Comics for hiring Card. But it should be understood that it was a commercial decision on the part of the publisher. It would appear to not be a very wise one, given the PR backlash.

The argument could be made that he is too vocal in his belief, which has been called nothing short of bigotry and is more in line with the philosophy of super-villain rather than a super-hero. Perhaps so. I wouldn't know. Usually when I hear someone poisoning my world with a message of hate and intolerance, I stop listening. Without an audience, they tend to shut up and go away.

Rather than continually debate the issue, perhaps the most effective means of combating it is also commercial in nature. My suggestion to those who object to Card is to vote with their wallets.

If the New 52 has taught us anything, it’s that DC Comics wastes little time in cancelling titles that fail to sell well. I suggest that if you object so strongly to Orson Scott Card's stance on gay issues, then don’t buy Adventures of Superman – or any other subsequent title written by Card – and in due course, DC Comics will cancel it. Once the publisher recognizes Card's work won't sell, it will stop giving him work.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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