February 12, 2013
Go, Read: Michael Hartney's Letter To DC Comics
I haven't been able to track all of the fan reaction to news that Orson Scott Card would be writing the Superman character for a planned, high-profile on-line effort at DC Comics. I imagine there are some formal boycotting announcements, because the Internet is good at that. This more modest letter of protest
caught me eye, I suppose for a few reasons. I liked its casual nature; I can imagine a lot more like it, and can further conceive of a way that a collection of letters like this is way more powerful than 5X the signatures on a boycott sheet. The letter also struck me as making a helpful distinction that a lot of people are forging in this particular instance: that the writer in question isn't just someone that holds opinions they don't like but a person that actively advocates for them in the public arena.
I can't imagine DC doing anything directly in response to this, although I guess that's not out of the question. No assignment is permanent anymore, and you can move away from certain creators pretty quickly without being seen as someone that capitulates to public pressure. It's hard for me to formulate an opinion on this that really means something, because I wasn't in any danger of buying Superman comics not
written by Orson Scott Card. The art/commerce split intrigues me in situations like this one. I know that I can process art by even monstrous individuals as something distinct from their personal actions or beliefs, but a) most Superman comics exist in my mind as entertainment product rather than as engaging, expressive art, b) I think it's perfectly reasonable to process art as art and decline to participate in art as commerce -- a boycott is an act of a consumer rather than a critic or even a patron of the arts.
posted 5:20 pm PST
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