Here in this culture war, most of us in the LGBT community and our allies are well aware of the fact that there are many people who will do almost anything to stop us having equal rights. However, we have now gotten to the point where if you are a member of a major, notable business, or in the public eye at all, anti- gay sentiments will earn you a lot of negative publicity and the blowback that goes along with it. That is what is happening with the Superman Comic’s anti- gay writer, Orson Scott Card, and it is happening in a big way. So big, in fact, that major players who are supposed to be working with him on an upcoming film are threatening to halt promotion, according to The Guardian.
In case you didn’t know, Card is on the board of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which is arguably the number one organization campaigning against marriage equality in this nation. Card is a sci-fi author, and he is set to write the digital First Adventures of Superman anthology. However, the February 6 announcement from DC Comics that Card was working on the piece drew much backlash, and it is even threatening his project with the digital adaptation of his novel, Ender’s Game. The film is due in theaters this November, but promotions could be halted due to his public personal beliefs. Said beliefs include that legalizing gay marriage “Is about giving the left the power to force anti-religious values on our children,” and being gay is a “reproductive dysfunction.”
These beliefs are causing much discord. One studio executive said that the production company should “keep him out of the limelight as much as possible.” Another executive went on to say:
“I don’t think you take him to any fanboy event. This will definitely take away from their creative and their property.”
There is an AllOut.Org petition that is quickly reaching its goal of 15,000 signatures demanding that DC Comics drop Card as a writer. Comic book retailers are refusing to sell his comic book. A freelance writer, Glen Weldon, wrote on NPR that this will be the first time in 45 years of Superman fandom that he distances himself from a production of the comic. Weldon says:
“DC Comics has handed the keys to the ‘champion of the oppressed’ to a guy who has dedicated himself to oppress me, and my partner, and millions of people like us,” Weldon said. “It represents a fundamental misread of who the character is, and what he means.”
I have to agree with Glen Weldon. As an out and proud lesbian who loves superheros, I am now, on the basis of principle, feeling the need to shun this comic, no matter how good the story line might be. I cannot understand how or why anyone who is LGBT+ or allied could support it. Weldon’s reasoning is my own: it is one thing to have a difference of opinion, but Orson Scott Card is an activist who actively campaigns against our basic human rights. Huge difference between the two. Further, Superman is a hero for the oppressed, and the man writing about him is an oppressor. Talk about irony!
The thing is, though, the comic book community and the world at large is beginning to accept gay characters and LGBT people in general. In the U.S., the majority of people are in favor of marriage equality. Also, the comic book series that have introduced gay characters have been more than well received. For instance, Archie Comics and Marvel Comics introduced gay characters last year, and DC Comics reintroduced the Green Lantern as a gay character.
Further, Archie Comics reported thousands of new subscribers after their introduction of the gay character Kevin, and only lost seven. Also, DC Comics co- publisher Dan Didio reported the reception of gay characters as “extraordinarily positive.” Marvel Comics writer Daniel Ketchum, who is gay himself, had braced himself for backlash instead of the accolades he received for the introduction of the story line that the hero Northstar would be marrying his partner.
In short, DC Comics’ inclusion of Orson Scott Card on their payroll is going against what their readers want. Times are a changin,’ folks. Either hop on the bandwagon and let go of your bigotry (or at least keep it to yourself), or suffer the consequences of airing such bigoted opinions.
Once again, if you agree that DC Comics needs to get rid of Orson Scott Card, you can sign the petition here.