DC Comics recently hired Orson Scott Card to write a story in the first issue of their new Superman comic, Adventures of Superman. Card's a hell of a writer—he wrote Ender's Game, one of my favorite novels, the long-awaited film adaptation of which will come out this fall. He's also a relentless, shameless bigot.
For at least 20 years, the Mormon author has been doing his sanctimonious best to deny respect and basic civil rights to everyone who isn't heterosexual. There's a huge chasm between the person who I imagine wrote Ender's Game—a fantastic, nuanced story about the brutal lies of war, the strength and frailty of human beings, and neat rooms where kids can float around because there isn't any gravity—and the person Card's revealed himself to be through actions like serving on the board of the National Organization for Marriage. When he isn't saying that gays and lesbians should be arrested—
What we do with small children is to establish clear boundaries and offer swift but mild punishment for crossing them. As their capacity to understand and obey increases, the boundaries broaden but the consequences of crossing them become more severe...
Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society. (Via.)
—he's (apparently seriously) vowing to overthrow any government that lets gays and lesbians get married.
Marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down. (Via.)
Heh. Okay, buddy. ANYWAY, while Card's written comics before—he rehashed Ender's Game for Marvel, and also wrote Ultimate Iron Man—Superman is the first time the issue of a boycott against his comics work has come up. Joining several other retailers, Vancouver's I Like Comics has decided not to sell the first issue of Adventures of Superman.
Last Friday, I emailed several of Portland's comics shops to ask them if they'd be following I Like Comics' lead. I emailed Floating World Comics, Cosmic Monkey Comics, Bridge City Comics, Things from Another World, and Excalibur Comics.
I heard back from Cosmic Monkey, Floating World, and Bridge City—though only the first two were willing to go on the record. Despite multiple emails, neither Things from Another World nor Excalibur responded at all.
Reactions from Cosmic Monkey and Floating World are below—plus, some thoughts from Portland writer Jeff Parker, who, along with artist Chris Samnee, also has a story in the controversial issue.
Here's Cosmic Monkey Comics' stance, straight from Adam Healy, one of the store's owners:
Even though we find Orson Scott Card's opinions and beliefs to be offensive, as would most reasonable people, we will still stock the Superman he writes, if only in small numbers, mostly just pre-orders. There are a number of writers, artists and editors who hold and occasionally profess abhorrent and offensive ideas, yet we do still carry their material, albeit in very limited quantities. It is the curse of the comics retailer to have to carry a variety of material that includes offensive and/or embarrassing works.
I also spoke with Floating World Comics' Jason Leivian, who—like Chicago's Challengers Comics—has found a pretty fantastic solution: Yes, he'll be selling the issue, but 100 percent of Floating World's proceeds from the book will be going to "All Out or another LGBT charity organization."
"While I feel that a financial boycott may hit DC's bottom line a little harder," Leivian says, "I like that there has been a large public response to this story and I'd like to spin it in the opposite direction by using this controversy to directly support organizations Orson Scott Card would be opposed to."
Leivian will also be hosting a signing with writer Jeff Parker to coincide with the issue's release in late May.
"That was a real psych-out," Parker said when I asked him about how it felt to be part of an book that's so controversial. "We had this one day of news of the book coming out, mentioning me and Chris Samnee and everyone cheering 'We love this!' And the next day was everyone saying 'We hate this!'"
"There are a lot of gay readers in comics, and this comes at a time when marriage equality is fighting to finally be a national right," Parker says of why this particular book, at this particular time, has garnered so much attention. "As for Superman, here's my out-there theory for the earliest reaction: I think that variant cover that Samnee drew just nailed everything we like about Superman. It feels right. And you look at this hero and think, 'There's no place for haters with this guy.'"
I'll update this post if and when I hear back from Excalibur and Things from Another World.