Who’d win in a fight between Superman and Spawn? How the f*ck old is Cable? And what in the holy hell is a Megatron? When the tough questions arise, Panels on Pages will gather the facts, but it’s up to the PoP!ulation to draw its own conclusions. So come on… Riddle Me This!
2013 has been quite an interesting year for the renowned author Orson Scott Card. This Fall will bring Card’s most famous book, the science-fiction epic Ender’s Game, to the big screen, but this news has been met with controversy and threats of boycotts due to Card’s extreme political views. The 61-year old author has become notorious in recent years not for the stories he has written but for his vehement stances against same-sex marriage and other measures meant to grant homosexual Americans the same rights as heterosexuals. The public outcry against Card’s outspoken opposition to marriage equality has already led to DC cancelling a planned story penned by Card for their current Adventures of Superman digital comic and is currently threatening the profitability of the Ender’s Game movie by raising awareness of the author’s activism. Lionsgate, the studio that will be distributing the film, has responded to the boycott by trying to sever their connection to Card’s political views and stating that the movie itself does not contain any anti-gay sentiment whatsoever, but time will tell whether their actions will make Ender’s Game a profitable venture for them.
This outcry against Card’s personal beliefs has given him and his complete body of work a social stigma that will be hard for him to shake off. While few agree that what he believes is right, there remains a debate on whether or not Card’s writings should be judged on the same scale as the man himself. Should Ender’s Game, a movie based on a book that Card wrote nearly thirty years ago, be rejected by the movie-going public sight-unseen simply because the man who wrote the original book happens to disagree with the majority of the American public on a certain political issue? Is it fair to judge an isolated work of art based on the personal politics of its author, and if one happens to see Ender’s Game and enjoys it, is that person betraying his or her own beliefs for the sake of a couple of hours of escapist entertainment?
This question calls to mind another famous creator whose personal beliefs have caused his reputation to take a bit of a dive in the realm of public opinion. Up until a few years ago, Frank Miller was one of the most revered and respected figures in the world of comics, but his recent tirade against the Muslim community and the Occupy Wall Street movement have turned legions of readers against him. It also doesn’t help that his controversial recent graphic novel Holy Terror reportedly expresses a lot of Miller’s more extreme political views. Does Miller’s fall from grace in the eyes of most readers somehow taint our readings of his more acclaimed work such as Sin City,The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, and his two seminal Daredevil runs? Are we able to read these works now without thinking of our current opinion of the author?
This dilemma is not a new one in the world of popular art. Many prominent figures in the world of entertainment from Woody Allen to Michael Jackson have been faced with the challenge of maintaining their popularity and notoriety in the midst of personal scandals, yet many of them have managed to keep their personal and professional lives fairly separate. Of course, in Jackson’s case, it wasn’t until after his death that his work wasn’t immediately tied to his personal and legal problems. Others, such as actor / filmmaker Mel Gibson and athlete Michael Vick have yet to fully shed the scandals they put upon themselves in order to enjoy the same notoriety and popularity among the American public. It remains to be seen whether Card will go on to be remembered by his award-winning novels and stories or whether he will be mostly vilified by his controversial attitudes towards a group of people whose lifestyles he actively decried and attacked. Will Card’s personal politics forever taint the public’s view of him, or is it possible that his work may go on to be judged on its own merit, divorced from the issues one may have with its author? Feel free to sound off on the issue in the comment chain below.