The backlash to DC Comics' decision to hire sci-fi author and vocal gay-rights opponent Orson Scott Card for its new Adventures of Superman anthology could create ripples felt beyond the comparatively small comics industry.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the spotlight on Card's contentious views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage -- he's tried to link homosexuality to childhood molestation, and advocated government overthrow if marriage equality were upheld -- arrives at an inopportune time for Summit Entertainment, which is adapting the author's acclaimed 1985 novel Ender's Game.
Even as the Twilight Saga studio begins to parcel out promotional materials (Battle School logos debuted just last night) in the buildup to the Nov. 1 opening of the $110 million film, mainstream-media outlets are reporting on the author's involvement with the National Organization for Marriage, a group dedicated to the opposition of same-sex marriage and gay adoption, and the calls for DC to drop Card from the Superman comic. It makes Summit's Comic-Con International plans problematic, to say the least.
While having the award-winning author on stage in the cavernous Hall H alongside Ender's Game stars like Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield and Ben Kingsley might've been a no-brainer a few weeks ago, now that scenario seems riddled with pitfalls (not the least of which are an audience Q&A and the possibility of an organized protest).
“I don't think you take him to any fanboy event,” an unnamed studio executive told The Hollywood Reporter. “This will definitely take away from their creative and their property.”
Meanwhile, the fallout continues within the comics industry as a petition calling for DC to drop Card from Adventures of Superman has attracted more than 14,000 signatures (a rival campaign in support of the author has just 145). The number of comics stores refusing to stock the issue has grown to at least nine, with four more retailers -- including Zaldiva Comics in Oakland Park, Florida, and The Comic Book Shoppe 2 in Ottawa, Ontario -- making their decisions known.
"Anti-gay activists like Card can't expect to spread the same hateful and dangerous rhetoric they once did without it negatively impacting how the public views them," a spokesman for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation told the trade paper. "As a board member of NOM, one of the most visible anti-gay organizations, Card is not merely a holder of anti-gay views but someone who has used his own fame and resources to actively make life more difficult for hardworking LGBT people and our families. He might still want the buying public to financially support his creative endeavors, but the public is responding with an affirmative ‘no.’ ”
Adventures of Superman debuts online April 29 and in print May 29.