How much flak can the Man of Steel take?
For Superman publisher DC Comics, the answer is quite a bit—but all of that flak might begin to tarnish the comic book company’s image.
Ahead of the Superman film “Man of Steel” due out this summer, DC Comics plans to release a digital anthology of short comics titled “Adventures of Superman.” Among the writers is Orson Scott Card, who is staunchly anti-homosexual.
Card, famous for his sci-fi book “Ender’s Game,” has written and spoken out against gay marriage. He’s a board member of the National Organization of Marriage, a nonprofit that fights gay marriage initiative. In many of his writings on the topic, Card has suggested that incidents of child abuse and rape cause children to become gay.
Superman fans aren’t haven’t it.
Since the news about Card’s involvement broke last Wednesday, much of the comic book community has been up in arms, criticizing the decision fiercely. For instance, Brett White, a contributing writer for Comic Book Resources
“Orson Scott Card can write all the science fiction he wants, creating the worlds from scratch and molding new characters to fit his outlook on life. That's his prerogative. He should not, however, be allowed to come anywhere near pre-established superheroes like Superman, who possess a single, unifying trait: an overwhelming compassion for all human beings and the desire to fight for their survival and rights. This is not a political statement. This truth goes beyond political leanings.”
The outcry inspired a petition on AllOut.com
, which is an online initiative to drive awareness and equality around lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. The petition has almost reached its goal of 10,000 signatures.
This crisis, which began in the comic book niche, has spread quickly as a variety of news organizations—from NPR to Fox News—picked up the story.
DC Entertainment, the parent company of DC Comics, gave this statement to PR Daily
“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.”
Beyond that statement, the company has said little else, remaining silent on its social media properties as commenters pound the company.
One Facebook commenter wrote:
“35 years of reading DC comics ends today. I have been the biggest fan and supporter of DC comics since I was a child. I am seriously gutted by DC's decision to maintain association with Orson Scott Card even after his hateful statements. Similar statements made about Jews or Blacks would see Card summarily dismissed but for DC, some bigotry is just fine. This I cannot abide. Farewell.
DC Comics has not responded on its Facebook page
, though it has continued to post content to the page.
Last summer, DC Comics earned headlines for relaunching the character Green Lantern as the first openly gay superhero. In 2004, the publisher won a GLAAD award for portraying Catwoman as a lesbian. GLAAD is the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
The “Adventures of Superman” anthology, for which Card is one of many contributors, is not part of the flagship Superman series.