(CNN)After Rio de Janeiro’s evangelical mayor tried to ban an illustration of two male superheroes kissing from a book fair, one of Brazil’s biggest newspapers decided to put it on their front page.
The controversy kicked off last week after Rio Mayor Marcelo Crivella demanded that the Marvel comic book “Vingadores: A Cruzada Das Crianças” (“Avengers: The Children’s Crusade”) be withdrawn from sale at Rio’s biennial book fair because it shows male superheroes Wiccan and Hulkling kissing. The book was completely sold out at the book fair by Friday, organizers told Agence France-Presse.The Folha De Sao Paulo newspaper said it used its Saturday front page and Sunday editorials to discuss the issue. “The mission of professional journalism and a newspaper like Folha is to be uncompromising with obscurantist attempts and to shed light on threats of censorship,” said Sérgio Dávila, the paper’s editorial director.The book was initially published in 2010. Its illustrator, Jim Cheung, said in a lengthy post on Instagram that the debacle “is now being drawn into the spotlight by the mayor perhaps only highlights how out of touch he might be with the current times.”Read More”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,” Cheung said. View this post on Instagram
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
Crivella is a conservative evangelical who called homosexuality a “terrible evil” in his 1999 book “Evangelizing Africa.” He wrote on Twitter “we need to protect our children,” and said that the fair was collecting books with “content that is unsuitable for minors.””It is not right for them to have early access to subjects that are not appropriate for their ages,” he said.After his demand sparked backlash, he said in a subsequent tweet: “The decision to collect comic books at the Biennial had only one goal: to comply with the law and protect families.”The organizers of the book fair responded by filing a preventive injunction with Rio de Janeiro’s Court of Justice Friday. In a statement posted on Instagram, the organizers said the injunction was intended to “ensure the full operation of the event and the right of exhibitors to market literary works on the most diverse themes — as foreseen by the Brazilian legislation.”The book fair hosted events on topics including “happiness, science, motherhood, theater, trans literature, LGBTQA+ and more,” according to the Instagram post.