Artist Exits Orson Scott Card Superman Story

30 REP Superman H
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Plagued by controversy because of the “Ender’s Game” author’s anti-gay views, the DC Comics project has lost illustrator Chris Sprouse.

Progress on this Superman tale isn't exactly moving fast as a speeding bullet.

Chris Sprouse, the artist who had been slated to collaborate with Orson Scott Card on a Superman comic-book story, has departed the project.

The prolific sci-fi author behind the Ender's Game series of books has been outspoken in his views against same-sex marriage and gay rights. Because of those views, DC Comics received backlash when on Feb. 6 it announced Card as one of several authors who would contribute a chapter to new Superman anthology series.

Sprouse announced Tuesday that the media attention the story received prompted him to drop out of the project.

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"It took a lot of thought to come to this conclusion, but I've decided to step back as the artist on this story," Sprouse said in a statement. "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."

Card, who has made his anti-gay stances known since the 1990s, has become more vocal about his views in recent years. In 2009 he made waves with an editorial in the Mormon Times in which he wrote:Marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down." That year, he also joined the board of directors of the right-leaning National Organization for Marriage.

Among the pushes calling for DC to drop Card from the project is an online petition from AllOut.org that has attracted more than 16,000 signatures. The group's co-founder an executive director, Andre Banks, applauded Sprouse's depature.

“Chris Sprouse’s decision to not illustrate Card’s writing, should be a sign to other companies, including the producers of Card's upcoming film Ender's Game, that there's no upside in hiring people whose rhetoric goes beyond opinion and into the dangerous territory of extremism,” Banks said in a statement.

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DC issued a statement Tuesday supporting Sprouse’s decision.

"We fully support, understand and respect Chris's decision to step back from his Adventures of Superman assignment," it said. "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."

Slated to launch digitally April 29, Adventures of Superman will feature 10-page stories by different creative teams. The stories will be published in print issues starting May 29. Card is co-writing his story with semi-frequent collaborator Aaron Johnston, but because DC must now move to replace Sprouse, their tale will not appear in the first print issue.

In place of Card’s story, the first collected issue will include a story from writer Jeff Parker and artist Chris Samnee. Their Superman story will join one by writer Justin Jordan and artist Riley Rossmo, as well as a work by Jeff Lemire.