The artist meant to illustrate an upcoming Superman comic has left the project over growing anger that the writer is well-known anti-gay sci-fi author Orson Scott Card.

On Tuesday, Chris Sprouse announced that he has “decided to step back as the artist on this story”.

He said in a statement that “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”.

DC Comics has come under growing pressure over its hiring of Card to write one of the stories in the new Adventures of Superman anthology, which will debut in April.

The company said that as a result of Sprouse’s departure, the Card story will now no longer appear as scheduled and that it “will re-solicit the story at a later date when a new artist is hired”.

Card (61), who has won multiple awards for his science fictions novels, has said that he supports the criminalisation of homosexuality and is a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage rights.

He’s stated that he “will act to destroy” any government that legalises same-sex marriage and is a board member of the National Organization for Marriage, a US group that lobbies against same-sex marriage.

Card has also called homosexuality a “reproductive dysfunction” and claimed that men become gay because of sexual abuse and that “many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally”.

Hollywood is now also preparing to deal with fallout relating to the homophobic author. A big budget version of one of Card’s novels, 1985’s Ender’s Game, is scheduled to be released later this year.

The Hollywood Reporter has written that film’s producers are distancing themselves from the author, with the studio behind the film worried that Card’s homophobia could damage the movie’s success.

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