Artist Chris Sprouse has left the Orson Scott Card-written Adventures of Superman story, citing the media attention surrounding the controversial author.

"It took a lot of thought to come to this conclusion, but I've decided to step back as the artist on this story," Sprouse said in a statement issues by DC Comics on Tuesday. "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."

Sprouse continued, saying that his relationship with DC "remains as strong as ever, and in response, DC added in their statement, "We fully support, understand and respect Chris's decision to step back from his Adventures of Superman assignment" and "we're excited to work with him on his next DC Comics project."

The creative team shift means that the Card-written story won't appear in the May 29 print version of Adventures of Superman #1 as scheduled, which instead will feature the originally solicited work by Jeff Parker and Chris Samnee, plus stories by Jeff Lemire and the team of Justin Jordan and Riley Rossmo. DC stated that they will re-solicit Card's story "at a later date when a new artist is hired."

DC and Card have attracted a great deal of controversy and criticism since the story, part of a new digital-first anthology, was announced last month. Card has long been a vocal opponent of gay rights, and since 2009 has been a board member of the National Organization for Marriage, a group working to combat the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The news that Card, best known for the Ender's Game series of sci-fi novels, would be writing a Superman story led to a petition on allout.org — one currently with more than 16,000 signatures — calling for his dismissal from the comic, multiple negative editorials and Dallas retailer Zeus Comics declaring that they won't carry the print version in their stores.

Quickly following the announcement of Sprouse's departure, Parker — whose Adventures of Superman story with Samnee was scheduled to debut in print in the same issue as Card's — succinctly tweeted, "I won."

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