Gay Comic Book Kiss Highlights Struggle for LGBTQ Rights in Brazil

Last week, Rio de Janeiro’s mayor Marcelo Crivella took it upon himself to become outraged at a 9-year-old Marvel comic titled Avengers: Children’s Crusade. The Bienial Do Livro book fair, a local literary event, was selling copies of the Avengers comic, and the mayor (an evangelical) suddenly demanded that LGBTQ children’s media shouldn’t be seen in public. Crivella claimed that such literature should be “packaged in black plastic and sealed.” (I’d like to also acknowledge that the characters portrayed in the series are teenagers, so calling this “children’s literature” seems a bit untrue.)

The issue immediately went to a local court, where a judge initially said the festival had the right to sell the product, and that it was protected under the umbrella of free expression. However, it was quickly brought to a second judge who sided with the mayor, stating that LGBTQ content for children shouldn’t be publicly displayed.

Photo: Marchello74

The mayor’s victory was short-lived however. The issue rose up Brazil’s courts until finally, Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of free speech, blocking any attempt by Crivella to further influence the sale of LGBTQ media.

And the court system isn’t the only issue the mayor is facing. Comedians all around Brazil are mocking the mayor, publishers at the book fair have deliberately increased stocks of LGBTQ literature, and a Brazilian newspaper even did a full, front-page image of a gay kiss from the Marvel series in protest.

The illustrator of the Marvel comic has even stepped forward. He took to social media to call for solidarity amongst the LGBTQ community. He stated on his Instagram:

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Teddy & Billy (2019) . It was with great surprise today, to learn that the mayor of Rio de Janeiro decided to ban the sale of my (and Allan Heinberg's) book, Avengers:The Children's Crusade, for alleged inappropriate material. . For those not familiar with the work from 2010, the controversy involves a kiss between two male characters. . Now I don't know what prompted the mayor to seek out a work that is almost a decade old, and that had already been on sale for many years, but I can say honestly, that there was no hidden motivation or agendas behind the work in promoting any particular lifestyle, nor targeting any unique audience. The scene merely depicts a tender moment between two characters who are in an established relationship. . As an artist, my passion is to tell stories; stories of great heroism, compassion and love, with as authentic and diverse characters as possible. Characters that depict every walk of life and color, whether they be black or white, brown, yellow or green. . The fact that this book, from almost a decade ago, is now being drawn into the spotlight by the mayor perhaps only highlights how out of touch he might be with the current times. The LGBTQ community is here to stay, and I have nothing but love and support for those who continue to struggle for validity and a voice to be heard. . I hope the beautiful people of Brazil, the wonderfully diverse and proud nation, will see through this political 'noise' and place their focus on the light, and on ways to unite, rather than help sow the seeds of conflict and division . #TeddyAltman #Hulkling #BillyKaplan #Wiccan #YoungAvengers #AvengersChildrensCrusade #MarvelComics #Marvel #Comics #MCU #pencils #pencildrawing #process #JimCheung #LoveNotHate #LGBTQ

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