A wave of backlash hit DC Entertainment faster than a speeding bullet when the comics publisher announced antigay writer Orson Scott Card had been tapped to pen an upcoming story for the new digital Adventures of Superman series.
Though DC was quick to distance the company from Card's personal views, criticism since the announcement was made in February has only continued to grow and the swell of negative media attention has now caused the artist who was to illustrate Card’s story, Chris Sprouse, to depart from the comic.
"It took a lot of thought to come to this conclusion, but I've decided to step back as the artist on this story," USA Today reports Sprouse said in a statement released Tuesday. "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."
Because Adventures of Superman is a digital anthology series of 10-page short stories featuring the Man of Steel, DC still plans to launch the title on April 29. However, Sprouse’s departure means Card’s story has not only been bumped from its scheduled digital release date, it will also no longer be included in the collected print edition’s first issue planned for May 29. The collected edition will instead include stories by writers Jeff Parker, Jeff Lemire, and Justin Jordan as well as artists Chris Samnee and Riley Rossmo.
However, DC still plans to publish Card’s story at a later time and is currently searching for a replacement illustrator.
"We fully support, understand and respect Chris's decision to step back from his Adventures of Superman assignment," the company said in a statement. "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."