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Friday, March 8, 2013

UPDATE: Superman, Bigotry, and Portland's Comics Shops

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Fri, Mar 8, 2013 at 12:29 PM


A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about how DC Comics was facing backlash for hiring militant bigot Orson Scott Card to write a story in a Superman comic. Following those reactions, the artist for the comic, Chris Sprouse, has backed out of the project, explaining, "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." The issue's now moving forward, but without Card's story.

(Would a comment from Sprouse saying, "You know, I just didn't want to work with a homophobe," or a comment from DC saying, "So... ah... we shouldn't have hired a gay-hating weirdo to write a character who stands for tolerance and freedom. Our bad!" have been better? Yeah. But the end result's likely the same—sure, DC's claiming Card's story will still run at some point, but the more likely scenario is that DC will sweep this thing under the rug in a while by giving Card a kill fee.)

But where does this leave local comics shops? In the case of Floating World Comics—which had planned not only to host a signing with one of the book's other writers, Jeff Parker, but also to donate their share of the issue's proceeds to an LGBT charity—things haven't changed.

"Our event was a response, to try an turn an ugly situation into something positive," says Floating World's Jason Leivian. "Also to demonstrate that if Card wants to aggressively pursue his agenda, it won't go unnoticed. He can expect people to speak up against him. Good for Chris, and his response which effectively led to the story's cancellation.

"No reason to cancel our show," Leivian continues. "It turns our party into even more of a celebration. And people can buy the book knowing that the only compensation Card got was a kill fee."

Parker also weighed in. "As far as I know I'm still going to sign that Wednesday! I think Jason has hired dancers or something." Parker also points out that Vancouver's comics shop, I Like Comics—one of the first stores to announce they wouldn't be selling the issue due to Card's participation—is now ordering 200 copies of the comic.

Meanwhile, one person's been noticably silent through this whole thing. Daniel D'Addario at Salon tried calling Card, but was told Card wouldn't be commenting. "He thinks that it always makes these things worse," a woman at Card's home explained.

Wait. Card somehow making things worse when he opens his mouth? Nah. That's crazy talk.

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