In the wake of the controversy surrounding famed sci-fi author Orson Scott Card’s planned contribution to the digital anthology Adventures of Superman, artist Chris Sprouse has decided to step away from his job illustrating the book.
“It took a lot of thought to come to this conclusion, but I’ve decided to step back as the artist on this story,” Sprouse said. “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. My relationship with DC Comics remains as strong as ever and I look forward to my next project with them.”
While well regarded for his best-selling novels, including 1985’s Ender’s Game, Card, a devout Mormon, has taken heat for his vocal opposition to gay marriage. Critics such as NPR’s Glen Weldon saw Card’s participation in the series as a betrayal of Superman’s position as a progressive “Man of Tomorrow” and “champion of the oppressed.”
For their part, DC Comics says Sprouse’s exit was completely amicable.
“We fully support, understand and respect Chris’s decision to step back from his Adventures of Superman assignment,” the official statement read. “Chris is a hugely talented artist, and we’re excited to work with him on his next DC Comics project. In the meantime, we will re-solicit the story at a later date when a new artist is hired.”
Despite the controversy, a spokesman for DC said the The Adventures of Superman will launch digitally on April 29 with a story by Jeff Parker and art by Chris Samnee. A print version will be made available on May 29 with two other stories from writer/artist Jeff Lemire and another from writer Justin Jordan and artist Riley Rossmo. Each story is stand-alone and take place outside of regular Superman comics continuity.
The spokesman also confirms that Scott and co-author Aaron Johnston’s story will be resolicited at a later date when a new artist is found. As a result of Sprouse’s withdrawal, however, the story will not be available for the digital launch or the May collection.