Yesterday, IGN announced that DC is launching a new digital series featuring notable comic book creators telling non-continuity (and non-New 52) stories about Superman. In the vein of their current Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, the new Adventures of Superman will come out weekly digitally and then be collected in comic book form a few weeks later as a regular monthly series.
This is an absolutely fantastic idea. Not only do we get back the red shorts Superman, we also get awesome creators telling their own stories. There are some great names attached already, including Giuseppe Camuncoli, Jeff Lemire, Michael Avon Oeming, Bruce Timm, and many more. Plus check out that Chris Samnee cover above!! Chris Samnee is drawing a story written by Jeff Parker, so that’s going to be great.
The only problem is that the opening two issues are written by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston, with art by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story. I’ve got no problem with Johnston, and I quite enjoy Sprouse and Story, but Orson Scott Card is a bigot.
Card is best known as the writer of Ender’s Game, a science fiction novel that won all sorts of awards and is considered by some to be one of the best SF books of all time. However, his stance against homosexuality and gay marriage was at one point worrisomely militant (“those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society”) and hasn’t toned down all that much. He is vehemently opposed to gay marriage, and is a member of the board of directors for the National Organization for Marriage. He’s also one of those idiots that likes to frequently link homosexuality with rape, molestation, and pedophilia, despite such links being widely debunked by every reputable study. In short, he’s a bigot, and a vocal one.
Now, I’m not saying let’s go burn down Orson Scott Card’s house and throw all his books in the blaze. The man can say whatever he wants, as much as I may disagree with it. What I am saying is that he is a TERRIBLE choice for launching a new Superman book. Superman is the ultimate outsider, an alien from another world who lives in a place where the vast majority of people are not like him. Superman cares about the marginalized, and understands those who are different, whether they be confident in their difference or conflicted. He’s been there, and he gets it. Orson Scott Card does not.
Furthermore, as much as Ender’s Game gets a lot of praise, there are some substantive critiques of the book and it’s sequels in terms of it’s apologetic approach to genocide, and Nazism specifically. The ties between Ender and Hitler are rather blatant, and in trying to understand Ender and his motivations behind killing an entire species the book thus paints Hitler in a more sympathetic light. This is not to say that Card is a Nazi or an anti-semite (he’s just a homophobe), but rather that his most famous work examines how far we can push forgiveness and understanding through the guise of a Hitler analogue. This brings up several points:
- Card strongly denies all of this, despite the VERY clear connections. He’s either being disengenuous or, as some suspect based on his lack of knowledge of his own book in its defense, he didn’t actually write it.
- This type of narrative, trying to justify the actions of powerful, terrible men, is just so damn cliche. As Elaine Radford puts it, “our society already focuses too much on telling the powerless to forgive and forget.”
- Superman’s Jewish roots are very well-known, and it just seems absolutely bizarre to have the man who wrote what is basically an apologia for Hitler now write Superman.
On the basis of Card’s anti-homosexuality bigotry alone, this is an awful choice by DC. In light of the problematic messages of his most famous work, it seems beyond ridiculous to have this man write Superman.
But this is DC Comics, and nothing is beyond ridiculous anymore. I’m very curious to know if they considered any of this when they chose him to launch the book. My bet is that they thought “OH!! Famous author!!” and saw that the Ender’s Game movie was coming out this year, and went with Card on star power alone.
Orson Scott Card is a terrible choice for Superman. Orson Scott Card is a terrible choice generally, really. I wouldn’t buy him on anything, and I can’t believe he’s launching this series. That being said, I’m very much looking forward to Adventures of Superman #3 and beyond. Unless DC goes and hires Fred Phelps for an arc.