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Comic book artist Chris Sprouse has decided to withdraw from Adventures of Superman, the digital comic from DC that is set to feature a story written by Orson Scott Card, whose anti-gay beliefs have stirred controversy.
Sprouse, who was set to illustrate Card’s contribution to the comic, sent a statement to USA Today, announcing his decision.
"It took a lot of thought to come to this conclusion, but I've decided to step back as the artist on this story," his statement read. “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.”
This has forced DC to delay Card’s story. It was supposed to launch online on April 29, then it would be included in a published collection released on May 29. Card’s story will not make it into the collected edition, which will still include stories by Jeff Lemire and Justin Jordan & Riley Rossmo.
DC issued a statement, respecting Sprouse’s decision. "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,” the company said.
Wired notes that the news has sparked speculation that DC might decide to drop the Card story all together. However, USA Today notes that the company is still looking for a replacement for Sprouse.
DC announced last month that Card would contribute a story to the collection and was immediately met with a controversy that went beyond the comics community. A petition was started to convince DC not to work with Card and several book stores said they wouldn’t carry the published edition.
The author is also working with Summit Entertainment on a movie adaptation of his acclaimed novel Ender’s Game, which is already in production.