First published on MobyLives on February 15, 2013.
Last summer we reported on the joyous scene in Central Park where Jean-Paul Beaubier married his longtime boyfriend Kyle Jinadu before an audience that included Jinadu’s parents, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a whole bunch of mutants. The eagerly anticipated event, captured in Marvel Comics’ Astonishing X-Men #51, was the first gay wedding to appear in a major comics series.
It’s fortunate for Beaubier, better known by his mutant name Northstar, that he doesn’t live in the rival DC Comics universe, where progress for LGBT superheroes has lately ground to a halt. (Or, for that matter, in the real universe, where the federal Defense of Marriage Act would still prevent the newlyweds from receiving equal protection under the law.) As reported by the Huffington Post, when DC Comics announced last week it had tapped Ender’s Game author and noted homophobe Orson Scott Card to write the relaunch of its Adventures of Superman series, gay rights advocates immediately called on the publisher to reverse its decision, circulating a petition on AllOut.org which currently bears more than 11,000 signatures. One comic artist, Ben Bates, even drew up a page of what we might have to look forward to if Card is allowed to stay.
Card, who is a lifelong member of the Mormon church, and who has variously called homosexuality a choice, a dysfunction, and a product of rape or molestation, has since 2009 served on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which campaigns against the legalization of same-sex marriage. In an essay published in the conservative North Carolina newspaper The Rhinoceros Times in 2004, Card wrote, “it is a flat lie to say that homosexuals are deprived of any civil right pertaining to marriage. To get those civil rights, all homosexuals have to do is find someone of the opposite sex willing to join them in marriage.”
Beyond the AllOut.org petition, gay comics fans and retailers are fighting back against such villainous vitriol by boycotting the new series, which will be published first in a digital edition. According to Towleroad, the owners of the Whatever Store in San Francisco and Zeus Comics and Collectibles in Dallas have both vowed not to stock the new Adventures of Superman series when its print edition is released. In a video interview with NightcapTV’s Doug Magditch, Zeus Comics owner Richard Neal says, “Superman stands for broader ideals, including inclusion of gays and lesbians and the rest of the world. Why would you hire a writer that is such a bigot?”
DC Comics defended Card in a statement to Fox News, responding that “as content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression,” but the company distanced itself from what it called his “personal views.”
Meanwhile, the National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown tells Fox News that the protest is “completely un-American . . . Simply because we stand up for traditional marriage, some people feel like it’s okay to target us for intimidation and punishment.”
I suppose it’s true that not buying something is about as un-American as it gets, but the millions of Americans targeted for intimidation and punishment by the NOM’s political campaigns might not agree that Orson Scott Card’s views aren’t hateful or bigoted.
It just looks like they won’t be calling on the Man of Steel for help anytime soon.