Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Ending Card's Game
As you can imagine, outrage followed, first from more comic book readers, and once the news broke out in the always controversy-starved media, from members of the LGBT community. There have been calls for boycotts and even for Card to be fired from the assignment, and general condemnation of DC Comics and their long line of publicly embarrassing moves. This in turn provoked fans of Orson Scott Card's work and opposers to same-sex marriage to defend the decision, tell the "libs" to calm down and so on.
And it's fair to ask if it makes sense to shun a person's work for their political views. After all, don't we regularly read the works of long-dead authors who were probably misogynists, racists and religious intolerants? Isn't The Merchant of Venice anti-Semitic, etc.? But for some, that's not really the point. An opinion is just an opinion, and may or may not come out in the work. I doubt very much Card's Superman story is going to be about the sins of deviant homosexuals vs. the sanctity of traditional man-woman marriage. But Card's detractors are saying that since he's a prominent advocate of this particular point of view, putting money in his pockets by buying his comics is tantamount to putting money in NOM's pockets. That your dollar isn't just going to a person with views that oppose yours, but that it's in fact going DIRECTLY to opposing yours. And this is quite apart from the bigotry element inherent in those views, or the appropriateness of a person like this writing for Superman, of all characters. (I've found Righties quick to condemn Gail Simone or Dan Slott's views on gun control as if there were an equivalence, but one can't possibly say they are inappropriate writers for Batgirl and Spider-Man, respectively. Or haven't they looked at these characters' origin stories lately?)
Or one could say that since you're giving your money away to large corporations all the time, it's all going to the Right Wing agenda anyway, no matter how "Liberal" the content actually is. Then again, social media is the new democracy, and each of use can use his or her voice to inch a change along, by swaying public opinion one way or another. All I'm saying is, the issue's a lot more complicated than the Twitter Wars can allow it to be.
Me? The fact that it's NOT a New52 Superman story (Adventures of Superman is an out-of-continuity Superman book à la Legends of the Dark Knight) meant I was probably going to pick it up (and still will, from the third issue). So I'm letting Card's politics get to me? I guess so. I mean, I didn't read the Before Watchmen books and I thought Alan Moore's arguments weren't very convincing. It's not like my pull list is BEGGING for me to add more on top of it. But it goes beyond the financial, in this case. When you support a creator with offensive views, you feel like you're agreeing with those views, and that person is using the fame and money -you're in part giving them to broadcast those views more effectively. I do find Card's "politics" something I cannot encourage with my patronage, and he's not the first I would avoid, not like the plague, but with a casual dismissal. Does no one remember Marc Guggenheim's gay-baiting comments back when he was writing Amazing Spider-Man? And lookie there, he's writing the Arrow digital comic for DC these days.
Obviously, you can do what you like. This isn't a call to arms, it's an attempt at a reflection on the whole affair, the mixed feelings it has generated, and just one piece in my analysis of DC's long public relations nightmare. This is a polarizing issue, so I'll thank you in advance to keep the comments respectful.