Last week, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro called for a ban on superhero comic book because of ‘sexual content’ he deemed unsuitable for minors.
The ‘content’ in question occurs in the three-year-old Marvel publication Avengers: The Children’s Crusade. In one panel of the graphic novel, the characters Wiccan and Hulkling, who are in a committed relationship, engage in a kiss.
Why the 2016 publication suddenly caught the eye of the Mayor Marcello Crivella, a former evangelical pastor, now is unclear. But Crivella called for the comic to be banned from the Riocentro Bienal do Livro, Brazil’s most important literary event.
Rio de Janeiro’s councilman Alexandre Isquierdo also made a statement calling the imaging an “attempt to propagate homosexuality.”
But before authorities could remove the graphic novel, word spread and all copies were almost instantly snapped up by fans.
And now, Brazil’s Supreme Court has blocked the efforts to censor the Marvel publication.
“Attorney General Raquel Dodge challenged the move by Crivella, a former evangelical pastor,” reports ABC News. “She said allowing the mayor to remove books goes against freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas.”
According to the report, a lower court initially supported the mayor, but chief justice José Dias Toffoli “ruled in favor of Dodge on Sunday, blocking the mayor from removing any books.”
This is the gay kiss in a Marvel graphic novel that Rio de Janeiro’s radical Christian mayor Marcello Crivella tried to censor at the city’s biggest book event. That’s the response by Brazilian newspaper Folha de S Paulo. pic.twitter.com/ieIWLC8Ee9
— Fernando Duarte (@Fernando_Duarte) September 9, 2019
And just to put a point on the subject, Brazil’s largest newspaper Folha De S.Paulothrew shade by printing the image on the front page of the publication.
It’s perfectly legal to be LGBTQ in Brazil (the country has legalized same-sex marriage), but thanks to statements and actions by virulently anti-LGBTQ president Jair Bolsonaro, the gay community has reasons to be concerned.
Bolsonaro has announced plans to remove mentions of LGBTQ people from textbooks and classrooms in schools; he’s posted tweets denouncing the country’s annual Carnival event for being too risque; told the world “Brazil can’t be a country of gay tourism” because “we have families.”
He’s even told publications he’d rather have a dead son than a gay son.
But, today, we celebrate this small triumph (and epic trolling) over hate.