This week, one of the biggest censorship controversies has taken center stage in Brazil’s famous city, Rio De Janeiro. The Mayor of Rio, Marcelo Crivella, is taken upon himself to stop or restrict sales of a particular Marvel Comic Book Issue. Why? Because the comic features a scene where 2 famous male characters are kissing.
Mayor of Rio objects the sale of a Marvel Comic:
Rio De Janeiro had its 19th International Book Biennial, this year. This event is considered as Brazil’s largest literary festivals. More than 300 Brazilian as well as foreign authors participated in this year’s Rio Book Biennial. Furthermore, the event will have about 5.5 million books on sale from varied publishers.
This year, the Rio Book Biennial featured the sale of Marvel’s ‘Avengers: The Children’s Crusade’ graphic novel. The copies displayed by the Biennial was Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung’s 2010 comic. Children’s Crusade featured two superheroes, Wiccan and Hulking, kissing each other. This illustration was not acceptable to the Mayor of Rio, Marcelo Crivella, who has previously expressed his inacceptance of homosexuality. Hence, Crivella ordered for the removal of the graphic novel from the fair, wanting to stop its display and sales. He took to social media to express his disapproval of the Comic. In his video he said was protecting the children and that such content is “unsuitable for minors”. In his video, Crivella said,
“It is wrong for them to have access to subjects that they are too young to understand.”
In another message, the Mayor said that,
“Books like this need to be wrapped in black sealed plastic with a content warning displayed on the outside,” he said in another message.
-As reported by BBC
Related Reading: Did you know? Iconic Video Game Characters that are LGBTQ
Anti-LGBT sentiments lead to attempts to confiscate the Comic:
When Crivella asked for the pulled from the fair, the Booksellers at the Biennial reportedly refused his order. Instead, copies of Marvel’s The Children’s Crusade started to sell out at the festival. This sparked a new attempt from the Mayor. He moved on to order officials to seize every comic in the Book Biennial that featured content that was seen as “inappropriate” or “pornographic” for children. Mayor Crivella has previously deemed homosexuality as an “evil behaviour”. According to Wolney Dias, chief of the Municipal Secretariat of Public Order, the decision was “not censorship”. Instead, in his statement he said,
“City hall has police power for that. If the material is not following the recommendations, it will be collected. We are following the guidance of the city prosecutor’s office. I do not understand that there is censorship. If it is pornographic material, offered without the standards, it will be collected.”
-As reported by The Pink News
According to the Brazilian Newspaper, GLOBO (translated by Comic Book), “RIO – In the early afternoon of Friday, ten employees of the Municipal Secretariat of Public Order (SEOP) arrived at the Book Biennial, which is being held at Riocentro, to identify and seal books considered “improper”.
Days before the Mayor raised an objection to the Comic, Rio Councilman Alexandre Isquierdo directly attacked the avengers novel. He claimed that this is, “A warning to parents! Marvel’s children’s book spreads homosexuality to CHILDREN!”.
“The comic book is being sold sealed at the Book Biennial and in bookstores, parents only realise the content later. An awful crime!”
-As reported by The Pink News
The Supreme Court and Media get involved in the Censorship Controversy
Mayor Crivella, who is also a former bishop, demanded that the copies of the Avenger’s Comic be removed from the fair. The issue went to court and a lower court approved the ban. However, when the Supreme Court reviewed the case, the decision was different. The Supreme Court overturned the decision, making it illegal to ban the novel. Additionally, the court ruled that Mayor Crivella’s demands and actions were illegal. This was because Mr.Crivella’s actions and demands were exclusively targeting LGBT content.
Brazilian Newspaper, Folha de São Paulo featured the Marvel illustration that was disapproved by the Mayor. The picture of the two superheroes kissing came on the newspaper’s front page on Saturday. The newspaper even Tweeted their front cover. The illustration shows the two heroes, Hulking and Wiccan kissing fully clothed. According to the storyline, it looks as the two are in a committed relationship.
— Folha de S.Paulo (@folha) September 7, 2019
The Book fair’s organisers also commented on the controversy. In an interview with AFP news agency the, they said that the country’s largest literary event,
“gives voice to all audiences, without distinction, as it should be in a democracy”.
-As reported by BBC
Source Credit: BBC, Bleeding Cool, Comic Book, Rio Times Online, Pink News