Column: New writer threatens diversity
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 12:02
DC Comics, home to such well-known characters as Batman and Superman, has long had issues introducing diversity into their stories. Even in 2013, the majority of the company’s comics are headlined by white, heterosexual male leads. While there have been major steps toward diversifying these heroes, the recent hiring of Orson Scott Card to write a story for a new Superman series may threaten this trend. The argument against Card has to do with his very public homophobic veiws and how those views will be reflected in Superman’s character.
Known for giving the world such Science Fiction classics as “Ender’s Game” and its companion novel, “Ender’s Shadow,” Card has gained a degree of infamy these days as a consequence of his very public views on same-sex marriage.
In his article “Homosexual ‘Marriage’ and Civilization,” Card espouses some fairly backwards, homophobic views, including the fictitious idea that sexual abuse somehow turns people gay. Card is also a board member for NOM, the National Organization for Marriage, a group that works against the legalization of gay marriage.
The announcement of Card as writer for the initial installments of “Adventures of Superman” has created an outcry among the wider comics community. The Dallas-based store Zeus Comics has responded by refusing to stock the issue and reaching out to other comic book retailers to do the same. Additionally, a petition has been set up to protest Card’s involvement with the project. The petition has reached over 12,000 signatures as of this writing.
When asked to comment, a DC representative replied that the company is standing by its decision and that a writer’s personal views do not reflect the views of DC as a company.
Being famous and having the support of a massive corporation does not make it okay to hold hateful, bigoted views against an entire group of people because of their sexual orientation.
The bigger problem with all of this is not that Card is writing a comic—he’s made forays into the genre before with 2005’s Ultimate Iron Man miniseries—but that he is writing Superman. As a character, Superman can admittedly get tedious after so many issues of wrestling with time-displaced supergods or solving the riddle of the Ultra-Sphinx to save the life of his one true love. Where Superman’s strength comes from is his place as a symbol. Superman is the ideal person: strong, heroic, and infinitely selfless. Superman will take the time out of his day to help anyone, regardless of sexual orientation.
Obviously not every comic book writer is going to be a paragon of virtue as a job requirement for writing the adventures of a space alien-cum-sun god, but hiring a writer with views like Card’s shows a certain social irresponsibility on DC’s part, especially when the company’s line of superhero comics includes highly successful LGBT heroes such as Batwoman, superhero couple Apollo and Midnighter, and Green Lantern Alan Scott. If anything, the presence of such characters should show that the company wants to move forward in creating positive voices for people of all orientations.
Richard O’Brien is an English major and can be reached at
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