Chris Sprouse Steps Away from Orson Scott Card’s Superman Story

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Artist Chris Sprouse, who would have been drawing controversial writer Orson Scott Card’s contribution to the upcoming Superman anthology Adventures of Superman, has stepped down from the project today. He cites the media furore over the comic as his reason for dropping the project. As a result, the first issue of this digital-first series will feature stories from Jeff Parker/Chris Samnee, Justin Jordan/Riley Rossmo, and Jeff Lemire.

DC have also issued a statement hoping to see Sprouse on a new project soon. Hopefully this will be a Superman one as well, because his Superman is super-aces —

sprouse Chris Sprouse Steps Away from Orson Scott Cards Superman Story

Sprouse’s statement regarding leaving the comic, which became controversial due to Card’s well-known association with anti-gay activism, is as follows:

The media surrounding this story reached the point where it took away from the actual work, 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.

DC have responded amicably to the artist’s decision, saying:

We fully support, 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 issue was scheduled for April, and had sparked a massive debate over whether Card was the wisest of choices for DC to hire on a Superman story. Some people thought he should have the right to free speech, some people thought maybe DC shouldn’t have hired a real world villain to write a Superman story. That oil-and-water combination of opinions has basically been interminably floating over comic book comment threads, and everybody’s had a really good, friendly time of things.

The real news from all this? It’s that there’s no need for people to boycott issue #1 anymore! Jeff Parker! Chris Samnee! Superman! Wooooooo!!

Comments

  1. David Levy says:

    I’m a little disappointed that he stepped away due to the “media surrounding this story” and not as a principled refusal to work with Card.

  2. Richard Watson says:

    So he didn’t quit because not supporting a hate-filled biggot is the right thing to but because he didn’t like the attention it was generating.

    Coward.

  3. The cleanliness of Sprouse’s Supes would certainly be this generation’s Curt Swan, I think. But he does deserve a better writer.

    (Ordwaycoughcough)

  4. Jeff Trexler says:

    Thus opening the way for DC’s first collaboration with the celebrated “‘good’ artist'” of Chick Publications, Fred Carter.

  5. As a board member of NOM, Card is actively working against marriage equality, and his views have found their way into his work. He’s not just a person with an opinion; he’s a public figure and an activist for a hard line anti-gay organization. Would DC knowingly hire someone associated with the KKK? Probably not. But for some reason, DC is okay with Orson Scott Card.

    Say what you want and do what you want, but don’t expect kinder people to support DC and call it “free speech.” Superman deserves better.

  6. Geez… give the poor guy the benefit of the doubt. He more than likely didn’t even know about Card’s toxic viewpoint, he just got assigned the gig… Sprouse is exclusive to DC. Good for him for taking for having the courage to turn the gig down if he wasn’t comfortable with it, a move that both costs him money and I imagine potentially threatens his livelihood at DC (exclusivity is no guarantee of work at DC, going by what Jerry Ordway said the other day). That he doesn’t choose to publicly slam the bigot doesn’t mean this is not a courageous thing to do.

  7. So… you’re supposed to agree completely with every opinion of every potential artistic collaborator? That sounds very safe… and bland (just like Superman actually). C’mon… this dude wrote freakin’ ‘Ender’s Game’! It is highly possible he has some other interesting thoughts kicking around worth hearing!

  8. Richard Watson says:

    “It is highly possible he has some other interesting thoughts kicking around worth hearing!”

    Mostly involving denying people like me basic human rights. What a swell guy!

  9. Re: Jason Musser, I realize not everyone will share my outlook on the world. That’s fine. We’re better for it. But I just don’t see cruelty as a valid “world view.” He’s not just an idiot with an opinion; he’s an activist against my friends and members of my family. Am I supposed to shrug that off?

  10. Suzene says:

    It’s a rough position for an artist to be in, as work’s never guaranteed. Even if it’s not a matter of stepping away from the project principle, the majority of the attention Sprouse was likely to get from being linked with OSC on this story was negative. I can see why he’d want to step away.

  11. Das BookPimp (@The_BookPimp) says:

    His Response sounds like it was filtered through PR and Legal before it hit the papers. So who knows if this was his real reason or a way for him to leave the project without adding fuel to the story of Cards bigotedness (Is that even a word?)

  12. TacoDude says:

    Imagine if a comic artist refused to draw pictures for a story written by a gay man. How would that make you feel? Outraged, right?

    So why is the opposite situation perfectly acceptable? Hypocrites.

  13. Richard Watson says:

    “So why is the opposite situation perfectly acceptable? Hypocrites.”

    Only if said gay author is actively engaged in trying to deny people basic human rights.

    Got any real world examples you can point to?

  14. Vulpis says:

    Mmmph. Has anyone actually seen/read the Card story in question? If he’s going to express his hate and bigotry in the story, that’s one issue, and I’d definitely say show the guy the door. But on the other hand, it’s possible he just wrote a story, and *didn’t* drag his personal politics into it. Anyone outside of the DC editors actually know one way or another?

  15. >So why is the opposite situation perfectly acceptable? Hypocrites.

    Oh, I think I know this one! Is it because homosexuals are not campaigning against the rights of heterosexuals? Is that it? Do I win?

  16. majorjoe23 says:

    @Tacodue: Not equivalent. For one, what you’ve described isn’t the opposite situation. Also, Sprouse hasn’t stated that Card’s views are his reason for leaving the book.

    Two, this isn’t as simple as a disagreement with Card’s believe. He’s actively campaigning against gay rights as a board member of NOM. If a conservative writer/artist decided to they didn’t want to work with a writer/artist who on the board for a pro-gay marriage group and withdrew from the project (in a non-douchey way) it likely wouldn’t be an issue.

    But you really just wanted to set up a straw man, right?

  17. Chris Sprouse’s response actually sounds like someone whose professional.

    That’s the professional way to quit a book. Whatever his private reasons, that’s nothing to do with us. He has the right to not work on projects that affect his art (as he says in his statement).

    Calling him a “coward” (as the 2nd poster) did is shocking and uncalled for.

  18. jonboy says:

    I work with a lot of people. I don’t agree with all of their political or religious beliefs. All of us will have different positions on gay marriage or immigration or gun control or animal rights.

    But I can still work with them.

    And the products we make are not impacted in the least by our different beliefs.

  19. Pink Apocalypse says:

    Every single supporter of Card that bleats about ‘free speech’ is in desperate need of learning the concept of ‘false equivalency’. Seriously, please…take some college classes before indignantly spouting ignorance as a ‘point of view’. If you have been to college, go back and take some sociology courses, and actually pay attention.

    I feel for fans of Ender’s Game, but keep this in mind: Card was not the same person back then that he is today. His views either became very ugly over time, or were always ugly, and he’s only now being vocal about it (I suspect it’s the former, rather than the latter). As sad as that is, I suppose there’s always hope he could evolve for the better. Some people like him do have an awakening or enlightenment, and with it comes crushing shame over their former limited, narrow view.

    It’s not often, but I have seen it happen.

  20. Richard Watson says:

    “And the products we make are not impacted in the least by our different beliefs.”

    I’ve a copy of “Holy Terror” (well actually I don’t because Frank Miller’s another person into whose pocket I won’t put money) that would beg to differ.

  21. george says:

    http://www.tcj.com/i-totally-forgot-to-get-mad-at-that-remake-of-total-recall/

    From Tucker Stone, Comics Journal:

    “So, DC hired a hate-monger and a leading member of an organized hate movement to write Superman comics a couple weeks back. Comics didn’t have one of those, yet, a ‘leading member of a hate group.’ What else could DC do? Comics has the crazy woman-hater. The science kook with the ‘Earth is breathing’ insanity. That guy who pretended to be a war hero or whatever the hell that was. It’s got Frank Miller — there’s a whole lot going on there. There have been some retailers who murdered people, right? So, murderers. Solid there.”

  22. Arturo Ulises says:

    “Some people thought he should have the right to free speech”
    What the hell are you talking about? You do know that free speech rights are only endangered if the government gets involved, correct? If anything, this is free market capitalism at it’s best: Where the consumers are deciding the fate of the product.

  23. Greg Giordano says:

    The point is that Card contributes time money and board membership to an organization that actively seeks to curtail the rights of a specific group of law abiding taxpaying citizens who themselves, do not abridge or interfere with same of the larger group. Period. Understand this- life liberty and the pursuit of happiness doesn’t have a bylaw that states- “except the gays”. If you want to have religions and private social organizations that prohibit gays- I can’t imagine anything that can stop that. You want to promulgate your OPINON- have at it- the internet, your voice; your ability to publish in print and video- all there for your expression and transmission. But the gay community and its allies are not required to buy things that will financially benefit those who would BY ACTION persecute them and interfere with their ability to enjoy THEIR part of the social contract and bill of rights, entitlements Federal and State.

    All this flap from both sides- all this controversy, is the actual changing of societal norms mores, laws for another big social change. If you don’t want this to change complain, protest, sink money into political action groups like OSCard’s- it’s your right. Just remember that the will of the people is plastic- What was normal and ethical 100 years ago seems anywhere from quaint to horrific depending on the behavior. There was extreme jeering and outcry against suffrage, abolitionism, fair labor laws. But it changed. Equal rights and protection from discrimination in matters of sexual orientation is the new change. Expanding the protections of and equality of any marginalized group is in fact an act of progress, growth and evolution- making a society that has respect and compassion and representation FOR ALL is a good thing.

    Those who boycott are simply engaging the capitalist form of civil disobedience. I am a capitalist. I support voting with one’s dollar; a corporation is by proxy supporting something that I feel is unjust, I have no obligation to buy their product. That in fact is one of our great American ways- to devalue with our cash that which we see serves no purpose or worse, harms us. No first amendment issue here- that’s the retort of those who would divert from the issue. Why? I wonder. Could it be so that the ACTUAL issue of the protest OSC’s anti-gay marriage, and the greater issue of LGBT rights that it must bring up, is something that the 1st amendment diversion-ist disagrees with or couldn’t care less about? I think that may be more to the point. And if you believe that those who engage in the war on LGBT rights don’t engage in the same tactics or worse? You are clearly as monumentally naive as you we in fandom are portrayed by the outside world. If the OSC’s and the anti-gay rights people can’t stand the heat then get out of the kitchen. It’s always the oppressors who cry butthurt when they start to lose face and get denied the right to oppress. yes kids, when you give a buck to OSC, you give X% of that buck to his anti-gay lobbying efforts of the organization he is a board member of. Get your head out of the sand.

    Fandom is not an excuse to bury your head and suck your thumb and hope the real world won’t happen. If we want to get respect in the “real world”, then we have to own up to a variety of issue that are skirted by us, sexism, bias, homophobia. “Just shut up and let me ignore the world cuz Superman!!” Guess what, fanboys and girls- the times, the world and even our backyards gonna change. Whether you like it or not- whether you use smokescreens of 1st amendment or throw your hands up in the air and say “what’s the big deal?” What’s the big deal- amazing. We in fandom have had childhoods (and some adult-hoods)of nerd-torture, marginalization because we read “funnybooks” or collect toys- play games. We read and consume genre fiction PREDICATED on the ideals of truth, justice, saving people in distress, empowering victims- underdog wins. Then out of the other side of our face we have the gaul to endorse bigots and deride those who seek only through boycott to make a stand on a rights issue of- again, the marginalized, the downtrodden, empowering those who suffer from repeated attack by organization’s like those that OSC belongs to and donates money to. STORYBOOK TIME= “we must do right thing at all costs”, REAL LIFE = “gimme that Superman comic even if it finances the pocket of a bigot- cuz FIRST AMENDMENT”.

    Great… Slow clap. If this was over an author who was a racist we wouldn’t even be debating this boycott.

    Those who express that antagonism to the boycott here in this thread and elsewhere are hypocrites. You don’t walk it like you read it. Social justice is clearly just an ingredient in your power fantasy fiction. Shame on you. Do the right thing and grow up.

  24. Scott says:

    This is a straight tragedy.

  25. Greg Giordano says:

    @STAM –
    That’s why it’s pretty much the case that we shouldn’t buy the Superman comic written by the public bigot who by board membership of NOM, would actively seek to deny rights to a gays AND not buy the products when we find out it is made by slave labor. I don’t own apple products because of that reason. Awesome point to bring up.

  26. The Beat says:

    There are trolls a plenty in this thread and I just swiped them away.

    Any post that was not intelligent has just been removed.

  27. jonboy says:

    @ Richard Watson

    Wow. You completely missed the point of my post.

  28. craig h says:

    @ Greg Giordano
    That, sir, was a fantastic post that I wholeheartedly agree with. Thanks for taking the time to put it all together in such an eloquent way.
    c.

  29. @The Beat
    intelligent or don`t you mean my post about how your all a bunch hipocrites.
    next time you all act high and mighty remember it it you who are just as bad. You who buy Apple products made by child sweatshops in China!

    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/apple-sweatshop-problem-16-hour-days-70-cents-172800495.html

  30. zayed says:

    teh beat=no fun club

  31. Rich Harvey says:

    “some people thought maybe DC shouldn’t have hired a real world villain”
    I’m assuming this is sarcasm on the part of the writer. In which case, it’s still bad. This is why most people don’t take the idea of “comics journalism” very seriously. Or any journalism these days. No one seems to have the ability to filter their opinions out of any piece.

  32. In the fifties it was McCarthites persecuting people for their leftist views.
    Now we have the lefties doing the same for the right.

  33. In other News: “Jeff Parker and Chris Samnee Endorse Views of Bigot, Media Furor”
    Kidding of course, but since when are artists guilty by association? I hope they aren’t tarred by the same brush as Mr Card.

  34. Krazy Joe says:

    NICE !! It’s cute to see so many close minded hatemongers spreading intolerance and hate against Card simply because he doesn’t feel exactly the same as they do.

  35. george says:

    http://www.salon.com/2013/05/07/sci_fi_icon_orson_scott_card_hates_fan_fiction_the_homosexual_agenda_partner/

    “Orson Scott Card’s long history of homophobia”

    A jaw-dropping litany.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] ComicsBeat: “Artist Chris Sprouse, who would have been drawing controversial writer Orson Scott Card’s contribution to the upcoming Superman anthology Adventures of Superman, has stepped down from the project today. He cites the media furore over the comic as his reason for dropping the project.” [...]

  2. [...] Chris Sprouse Steps Away from Orson Scott Card’s Superman Story (comicsbeat.com) [...]

  3. [...] DC backed Card, The Beat and others report that Sprouse stepped down after protest of the comic. “The media surrounding this story [...]

  4. [...] DC backed Card, The Beat and others report that Sprouse stepped down after protest of the comic. “The media surrounding this story [...]

  5. [...] DC backed Card, The Beat and others report that Sprouse stepped down after protest of the comic. “The media surrounding this story [...]

  6. [...] DC backed Card, The Beat and others report that Sprouse stepped down after protest of the comic. “The media surrounding this story [...]

  7. [...] DC backed Card, The Beat and others report that Sprouse stepped down after protest of the comic. “The media surrounding this story [...]

  8. [...] Chris Sprouse Steps Away from Orson Scott Card’s Superman Story (comicsbeat.com) [...]

  9. [...] story has drawn considerable attention from media outlets ranging from “The Verge” and “The Beat” to “USA Today” and “The Huffington Post”. This type of attention is unusual, but so is [...]

  10. [...] cartoonist slated to draw the stories, Chris Sprouse, has withdrawn from the project, [...]

  11. [...] cartoonist slated to draw the stories, Chris Sprouse, has withdrawn from the project, [...]

  12. [...] proposed Superman digital comic story written by Card ignited a firestorm of internet protest, and artist Chris Sprouse eventually withdrew, putting the story on indefinite [...]

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