Dragon Age comic out in March, written by raging homophobe Orson Scott Card

Dragon Age comic book cover; shows three warriors, two men and one woman, standing dramatically on a precepice over an ocean with a castle in the far background.

Dragon Age comic book cover; shows three warriors, two men and one woman, standing dramatically on a precepice over an ocean with a castle in the far background.

Via Joystiq comes news that the first issue of the Dragon Age comic that was announced back in October will be out in March 2010. It is being produced by IDW Publishing and, unfortunately, still being written by Orson Scott Card.

For those who haven’t heard yet, Orson Scott Card not only holds radically anti-gay views, he is a board member of the National Organization for Marriage, and has advocated overthrowing any government that legalizes same-sex marriage. This is not a man with whom I and others simply have political disagreements with. This is a man who uses his fame and fortune to fight against the basic human rights of millions of people, based on an aspect of their identity that he doesn’t like.

The last time Orson Scott Card came up in gaming circles, it was around the summer XBLA title Shadow Complex. I’ll give an overview of the incident, since The Border House did not exist back then. OSC wrote the story and dialogue for Shadow Complex (ETA: A reader reminds me it was actually Peter David who wrote the actual story and dialogue, but it was based on a universe created by OSC, and:) his name was used heavily in order to promote the game (which is a Metroidvania-style side-scrolling shooter, with a story that revolves around a man saving his girlfriend from a liberal conspiracy). This caused ripples in the online gaming community, where many people pointed out OSC’s views and acts, some advocating boycotting the game. The arguments against boycotting mostly revolved around the question “Why take it out on an entire studio if one person involved says something homophobic?” First of all, due to the nature of privilege, pretty much all straight people are going to make SOME sort of homophobic statement at some point in their lives; it’s safe to say OSC’s behavior goes well beyond simply making ignorant statements. Secondly, this is not just some guy in the art department shooting his mouth off; the publisher and developer are using his name to promote and profit off the game.

Cover for the first Dragon Age novel, The Stolen Throne by David Gaider. In the foreground are two men, back to back, one with a sword the other with a bow. The faces of two women can be seen in the background.

Cover for the first Dragon Age novel, The Stolen Throne by David Gaider. In the foreground are two men, back to back, one with a sword the other with a bow. The faces of two women can be seen in the background.

The case is pretty much the same for the Dragon Age comic. The added irony here is that, despite valid criticisms, Dragon Age is one of, if not the, most progressive games out there in terms of sexual inclusivity. It has two bisexual characters, and allows for homosexual sex and relationships. There is an obvious conflict of interest here, especially in terms of the storytelling: will the backgrounds and personalities of the bisexual characters be rewritten or ignored? Will they be part of some inane and insulting “I had a same-sex relationship but I learned better!” plot? Or will they simply not exist at all?

In addition, why not have a BioWare internal writer write the comic, as they did for the prequel novel? This person would have a deeper knowledge of the Dragon Age lore and a better feel for the tone and atmosphere of the setting and characters than any outside writer possibly could, and also they aren’t Orson Scott Card.

My purpose in bringing all of this up again is that I think it is important to bring up Orson Scott Card’s hateful views and, more importantly, his hateful and dangerous activism whenever his name comes up, so that everyone knows about it, and people can decide for themselves whether it is worth it to support him in order to play a game or read a comic book.

More on Orson Scott Card:
Orson Scott Card, homophobic terrorist, against the orderly pursuit of happiness – Yonmei, Feminist SF blog
Orson Scott Card is a misogynistic homophobic wanker – Yonmei, Feminist SF blog
Orson Scott Card: Criminalize Homosexual Behavior – Austin Cline

About Alex

Alex posts some of her sewing projects and cosplays on her Tumblr; you can also find her babbling about sewing and games and Parks and Recreation on Twitter.
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24 Responses to Dragon Age comic out in March, written by raging homophobe Orson Scott Card

  1. Thefremen says:

    If Bioware had a hen house, I’m fairly certain they’d put a fox in charge of its security.

  2. Jayle Enn says:

    I suspect that Card was chosen because publishers think he’s still popular among younger readers. Personally, I never read any of the Ender novels and thought that his writing for Advent Rising was absolutely execrable.

    On the canonical relationships and preferences front… oh god, it’s being published by IDW. Brace yourselves for some seriously exploitative crap.

    • Thefremen says:

      Enders Game was every bit as good as Twilight, but without a Mary Sue character. (IE: it serves as Mormon propaganda and is of questionable quality at best)

    • Mantheos says:

      I respectfully disagree in regards to Advent Rising. The biggest problem with that game was the graphics and bugs. The plot of that game was excellent and 10 times better than the plots of most games. The dialogue may not have been Shakespeare, but it was actually intelligent at times. The alien characters, in particular, were very well written.

  3. Nonny says:

    OSC is a very odd choice for a writer given his political views and the nature of the game. I’m actually surprised he would agree to write for the comic series given his opinions of GBLT people.

    I suspect Bioware’s decision in choosing him may have something to do with the fact that he is not only a popular SF author, he is a SF author respected in literary circles. In the Science Fiction and Fantasy communities (at least among writers), there is a lot of derision for game-related fiction. The quality is considered lesser, and there are a number of SF/F readers who will turn their nose up at it. You have similar reaction to comic books, although that’s becoming less so with the popularity of full length graphic novels. OSC writing the comic adds a layer of “legitimacy” and might draw readers that otherwise would sniff and look away — and by extension, they might look into the game itself.

    I don’t agree with boycotting the game because of the writer they chose for the comics — one writer out of many involved with the production of Dragon Age and its related media. The game itself is not homophobic, and in fact one of the more GBLT friendly games I have played to date. I can say though, that I won’t be buying the comic because I don’t intend to financially support someone so blatantly hateful of who and what I am.

    • Alex says:

      Yeah, I certainly don’t agree with boycotting Dragon Age, the game; in my last sentence I was actually referring to Shadow Complex. Of course, the comic is another story.

      I want to give BioWare the benefit of the doubt and say this wasn’t their decision, but you have a good point. At this time I can’t be sure whether they had a hand in it or not.

      ETA: Thankfully, OSC had absolutely nothing to do with the production of the Dragon Age game, and he doesn’t receive any profits off of it. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

  4. Rachel Walmsley says:

    I don’t suppose you (or anyone else) knows contact details for someone at EA or Bioware who I could write to about this? It would be nice to let them know that I love Dragon Age and would likely have bought the comic except for its author.

    • Nonny says:

      That would be great if someone has the contact info. I would write as well.

    • Rachel Walmsley says:

      I just sent an email off to Bioware about this. I’ll report back with any reply they send me. This is the email I sent:

      To whom it may concern,

      I have been playing Dragon Age: Origins extensively since its release, and count myself as a huge fan of the game. One area of the game that I particularly enjoyed was the lore behind the game, which made Ferelden really come alive. Normally, I’d have been delighted to buy a comic that further explored this rich environment, but I find myself unable to support it due to its authorship by Orson Scott Card.

      Card’s homophobic views appear in stark contrast with the attitude taken to homosexuality in the game itself, and they’re also in direct opposition with everything I believe. While I accept his right to his beliefs, I find them extremely distasteful and am not able to financially support someone with such beliefs.

      I don’t know how much say Bioware had in choosing Card as the writer for the comic, but I felt I had to write to you to let you know that this choice has alienated me from buying the comic.

      Yours sincerely,
      Rachel Walmsly

  5. oliemoon says:

    Their public contact information is available here. Some BioWare staff members are active on their official forums as well, so it might be worth raising the issue there.

  6. Mantheos says:

    With respect, Alex, the blog your article links to does a disservice to your article. The first half of it bashes Ender’s Game and Orson Scott Card as a writer. Therefore, my first reaction to your article was “Oh my God, these girls are dissing Ender’s Game! Heads will roll!” I was in the middle of writing a harsh response when I had to take my adorable furball of a dog for a walk. I thought about your article some more, and I realized that I absolutely agree with your view, but the link’s criticism of the Ender series distracted me from the article’s main purpose. But that’s a minor issue. I think your article is eloquent and well written. I’ll discuss your article in my next comment.

  7. Mantheos says:

    With that said, on to the article itself. I’m a straight, white, male college student. I’ll be honest, I did not have the emotional response that you all have to Orson Scott Card writing this comic. I guess that’s a function of privelidge (See? I’m learning ;) ). However, I STRONGLY disagree with his views and am shocked to learn that he has those views. I was thinking about picking up one of his books, but I don’t think I will do that anymore.

    I am also wondering if his comic will clash with the game’s established lore, particularly about homosexuality. According to the Dragon Age wiki, “The majority of Fereldans consider same-sex relations odd, but not immoral, while Orlesians consider it a quirk of character.” I’m dreading what OSC will do with this.

    Personally, I think R.A. Salvatore would be perfect for writing Dragon Age comics or novels.

    • Thefremen says:

      Although I find your OSC fandom hilarious, I must agree about R.A. Salvatore although pretty much ANY established sci-fi/fantasy writer would be better. Even the re-animated corpse of Jordan.

      • Mantheos says:

        I’m not sure what you mean by hilarious. As for my fandom, I have only read Ender’s Game. I really liked it, but I won’t defend his views because I liked one of his books. Having just done some research on him, I am actually appalled at his homophobia. That fits the classic definition of extremism. I respect freedom of speech, but such extremism is hurtful.

      • Mantheos says:

        My reply sounded arrogant. I’m sorry. I mean that I don’t understand the tone of your comment (when you say “hilarious”). I have a hard time determining someone’s tone of voice in writing, especially online. I’m much better at face-to-face interactions.

        • Thefremen says:

          Well, maybe “funny” would be more like it. Have you read Ender’s Game lately? It offers very juvenile solutions to complex problems and works well as an apologist novel about Hitler http://peachfront.diaryland.com/enderhitlte.html actually I don’t really need to critique the novel any more than that essay does.

          Yeah so anyways like I said, I just find it funny when anyone comes to the defense of the writings of OSC or that other author of Mormon propaganda: Stephanie Meyer. Of course I understand why their books have done well, many young men understand the plight of Ender and wish they could be Superman and commit genocide while maintaining innocence and many young women wish they were in abusive relationships with magical beings.

      • Mantheos says:

        For some reason I cannot directly reply to your reply, so I’ll do it here. I read Ender’s Game many years ago when I was in Middle School, so I didn’t pick up on the Hitler-apologism. I also have not read Speaker of the Dead. The essay made some valid points, but I disagree with it on two points:

        1. Ender did not know he was committing genocide while Hitler knew full well what he was doing and was the mastermind. Ender was deceived by the military because they did not think he would be able to do it.

        2. Ender was taken as a child to boot camp/military academy and brainwashed. Any desire to commit genocide against the aliens comes from the military’s training and propaganda.

        I always saw Ender’s Game as a critique of military training and propaganda. With that said, I am not a fanboy of Orson Scott Card. If I gave that impression, I am sorry. I just liked Ender’s Game as a novel.

        As for your opinion of Stephanie Meyer and the Twilight series, I could not agree more. I have a whole bunch of problems with that series (one of which you mentioned). I love girls who don’t like Twilight :) . My respect for you has increased greatly.

  8. Beth says:

    I just bet someone $20 bucks that the Grey Warden in the comic will be male and won’t hook up with Zevran.

    I would love, *love*, to loose $20, but with OSC writing it the chances are asymptotically small.

    I wonder if he’ll erase the other, sex-free, gay relationships portrayed in the game. I’d be sad if Wade, for example, either disappears or goes hetro.

    • Alex says:

      Good point–I’m only very early on in Dragon Age at the moment, so I didn’t realize there are likely other LGB people in the world that you encounter other than our protagonists, who will likely be erased as well.

  9. Nezumi says:

    … This is ancient, but your error just bugs me too much to ignore. Shadow Complex doesn’t take place in a universe created by Orson Scott Card. Empire was released years before the game came out, but it was actually a tie-in novel that was conceived after the game had started development. It’s more accurate to say that Empire takes place in a universe created by the Shadow Complex devs. It’s even more accurate to say Empire takes place in a universe vaguely resembling the one the Shadow Complex devs came up with if you squint, but the politics shifted to “Far-Right-Pretending-To-Be-Centrist.”

    In the actual game, the villains are a hyper-conservative terrorist group that’s more or less a cross between PNAC and Cobra. In the novel, they were made into “Evil Liberals”, because all the actual villains in the novel are liberals, and we only hear allusions to conservative extremists being bad, rather than actually seeing them do anything bad. It could only have less to do with OSC and his political views if it was about fighting for gay marriage rights.

    … Which makes it utterly bewildering that the marketing still used OSC to promote it and still insists that they take place in the same universe when the two versions of the storyline are completely incompatible.

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