You Disappoint Me, DC Comics
As you’ve probably heard by now, DC Comics will soon be publishing a Superman story written by famous homophobe Orson Scott Card. If you’re not familiar with Card’s work, you will be soon: his extremely popular novel Ender’s Game has been turned into a movie starring Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, and Asa Butterfield, and it’s scheduled to be released later this year. And while his novels have been critically acclaimed, he’s also spent decades rallying against the LGBT community. In addition to serving on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, he regularly publishes right-wing screeds, which alternately call for the shutdown of the federal government if marriage equality legislation is passed and compare the Obama presidency to Nazi Germany. Because, you know, that’s what being a responsible citizen is all about: crying foul when your paranoid fever dreams of a white-washed, purified America don’t come true.
So, then, why did DC Comics hire Card to write for them? Like many major corporations, they have to juggle numerous factors, including a writer’s talent, fan popularity, and overall interest in a particular creator. In this instance, Card has a few awards under his belt, so I don’t think anyone is disputing the fact that he’s a good writer, or that he’s developed a solid base. On the other hand, he’s become a lighting rod for controversy, as seen by the dust-up this has caused. However (and this is probably the most important point), he’s got a movie coming out in a few months. Publishing an Orson Scott Card story will capitalize on the buzz already being generated around the Ender’s Game film. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they have done this sooner?
If DC is ever pressed to give a reason for their choice, I’m sure it would be something along the lines of “We’re more interested in people who can tell a good story, rather than that writer’s politics” and not “he’s a bankable property.” The problem with the former line of thinking, though, lies in how DC threw itself at its gay fans last year with the “Find the Flamer” fiasco. Dan Didio went out of his way to let the world know that they were going to have a major character come out as gay. The year before that, it heralded the diversity in its New 52 titles, such as a lesbionic Batwoman and a bisexual Voodoo. DC is clearly trying to court LGBT fans and make them feel at home in this creative universe. However, this all rings hollow, since now it seems like the key decision makers are simply chasing after pink dollars.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only example of DC not practicing what it preaches. Their depiction of women has been problematic and there’s almost no racial diversity among its writing staff. This is on top of their increasingly bizarre editorial decisions and overall lack of direction with its titles. As a lifelong reader of DC Comics and a fan of Superman since the ‘90s (I’d be happy to share my glow in the dark issue of Superman #123 with Superman Blue on the cover), hiring Card cuts deep. I’m not going to go so far as to boycott the company, but I’m definitely not picking up Adventures of Superman. I’m also keeping an eye out to see how further DC will deviate from my views. If this keeps happening, I may have to turn in my cape and leave Metropolis once and for all.