'Superman' artist drops out of project following Orson Scott Card controversy

Fans objected to Card, who has voiced anti-gay marriage views, being hired to write a 'Superman' story. Artist Chris Sprouse has now left the project.

The first issue of the anthology 'The Adventures of Superman' is scheduled for a May release.

Comic book artist Chris Sprouse announced that he was leaving a “Superman” project on which he was working with sci-fi author Orscon Scott Card because of the controversy surrounding the writer’s views against gay marriage.

Card was hired to write a story in the anthology series “Adventures of Superman,” with Sprouse illustrating, but the artist said he became uneasy with the project after news coverage of Card’s views.

 “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,” Sprouse said in a statement. “My relationship with DC Comics remains as strong as ever and I look forward to my next project with them.”

DC Comics, the company behind the series, said in a statement that it “fully support[s], understand[s] and respect[s] 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."

The story by Card and Sprouse was supposed to appear in an anthology series of “Adventures of Superman,” which was scheduled for a release later this year, but a new story will take its place. However, DC Comics said in its statement that it will “will re-solicit the story at a later date when a new artist is hired,” so Card’s narrative will presumably see the light of day at another time.

Renewed discussion over Scott’s views against gay marriage started when the company announced that the “Ender’s Game” author would be behind a “Superman” story. The news was greeted by a petition on the website AllOut.org requesting that DC remove Card from the anthology. The petition currently has more than 16,500 signatures.

Before it was announced that the story had been postponed, some comic book shops, such as Floating World Comics in Portland, Ore., had said that they would donate any proceeds from Card’s story to LGBT organizations. Some others, such as Zeus Comics in Dallas, Texas, said they would not be selling the issue.

Card, who is a practicing Mormon, has written multiple times about his views on gay marriage and homosexuality. In a 1990 column for the magazine Sunstone, in which he discussed the issue of homosexuality in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Card wrote that “the Church has no room for those who, instead of repenting of homosexuality, wish it to become an acceptable behavior in the society of the Saints…. 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.”

Later, in an article for The Rhinoceros Times, Card wrote that “calling a homosexual contract 'marriage' does not make it reproductively relevant and will not make it contribute in any meaningful way to the propagation of civilization.”

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