Superman: Defender of LGBT Justice?

Matt Mallinson
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If you follow comic book news, I’m sure you’ve already heard about the recent decision by DC Comics to hire a gay rights opponent, Orson Scott Card, to write their new Superman series. Not surprisingly, the LGBT community has become just a little bit outraged that DC have hired an anti-gay activist to write one of their flagship characters.

Superman is seen as a symbol of equality and a fighter for truth and justice. In classic stories he was depicted attacking and terrorising abusive husbands and defending black men from lynch mobs. Above all this, he is a cultural icon, the most recognisable super hero. He is the ideal for a better person.

Orson Scott Card frequently writes about homosexuals, linking them to childhood molestation and bestiality. He has also advocated that children should be home schooled to avoid them being exposed to people like us, in case children start to think we’re as normal as they are.  When in 2008 the US government argued that equal marriage was a constitutional right, he endorsed a revolution. He stated: “Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage.” Essentially he believes that homosexuality will lead to the end of civilisation. He also writes like a super-villain. If Superman existed he’d probably argue how we should reject this superhuman defender cos he’s not like us. So basically he’s Lex Luthor. Sound like a good fit?

Jono Jarrett of Geeks Out (a gay comics and gaming group), says that while Superman fights for truth, justice and the American way: “Orson Scott Card does not stand for any idea of truth, justice or the American way that I can subscribe to.”

Andre Banks, All Out co-founder and executive director, added “Superman is the good guy who uses his strength to stand up for all the little guys. Card is the opposite — a bully who uses his platform to tear down gays and lesbians and stand in the way of full equality.”

An online petition has been launched by All Out with the aim of stopping this comic from being printed. I urge you all to sign it. One comic book store initially stated it will not be carrying the comic, with several more having already followed suit.

DC Comics have issued a statement, suggesting that the views of their employees do not represent the company. Clearly they’ve missed the point of this outrage. Fans of Superman don’t want this bigot writing their favourite hero, possibly filling his mouth with hate speech. And the LGBT community don’t want to give Card a new platform through which to express his backward views. I’m not necessarily suggesting that DC are a homophobic organisation, in fact to the contrary they do feature many homosexual characters with one gay couple featuring as part of their recent Valentine’s Day special. However, I’ve been made aware that they also don’t have a single out gay writer on staff and, as I have argued previously, their gay characters are often simply sidekicks or secondary characters.

Would DC Comics hire a writer if they were a white supremacist, a holocaust denier or a misogynist? No! If he wrote the things he said about gays in reference to any other minority he’d never write for any professional publication again. He doesn’t belong on a mainstream comic, he belongs in either the looney bin or a jail cell, where he would hopefully be given a special hug from his sex hungry cell mate.

As a homosexual comic book fan who’s in a civil partnership I can’t sit back and let DC do this. I can’t honestly believe that comic book fans who read comics about fighting injustice can let this injustice stand. I urge everyone to sign this petition:

I would also suggest that you write letters to DC Comics at this address: Letters to the Editor, DC Comics, 1700 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.  Flood their official Twitter, @DCComics, and Facebook page, I also implore you to boycott DC comics as I intend to. I may want to read the latest issue of Batman, and see just what Joker is up to, but no. This is more important than that. I am saying on record that as a massive comics fan I will not read a single DC comic while Orson Scott Card has anything to do with the company. We need to show them that we aren’t OK with this. If we just sit back and let them hire Orson Scott Card who knows what could come next.

You know in your heart that if Superman were real he’d be on our side! But unfortunately he doesn’t exist and we have to fight this monster by ourselves.

About Matt Mallinson

Matt is an aspiring journalist and self confessed nerd. In addition to comics, he has a great love of film, video games and TV, particularly Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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