Brazil’s biggest newspaper prints Avengers kiss on front page after censorship attempts

Folha de São Paulo published the kiss from an Avengers comic in a rebuke of Rio de Janeiro mayor Marcelo Crivella

The largest newspaper in Brazil has published a gay kiss from an Avengers comic book on its front page, after the mayor of Rio de Janeiro tried to stop the comic from being sold.

Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Marcelo Crivella has faced ridicule after trying to ban sales of books with LGBT+ themes at the Rio International Book Biennial, citing an Avengers comic book featuring a kiss between two male superheroes, which he claims is “unsuitable for minors.”

Crivella’s attempt to “protect children” from the image has probably not achieved what he was hoping, however, as copies of the comic have dominated Brazilian media and social media for days.

Brazil newspaper Folha de São Paulo published a large reproduction of the kiss

The country’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, dedicated the cover of its Saturday edition to a reproduction of the image, under the headline: “Crivella tries to censor comic with gay kiss but is barred.”

Meanwhile, a Brazilian judge has granted an interim injunction blocking Crivella from trying to seize any more books, though all the copies of the comic and every other LGBT+ book at the festival have already sold out.

The front page of Folha de São Paulo

The front page of Folha de São Paulo

Brazil’s biggest YouTuber, Felipe Neto, gave away 14,000 LGBT-themed books to fans on Saturday, in a public rebuke of the mayor.

The kiss that sparked the row is in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, a comic book by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung that was first released in 2010.

Crivella decided to act on the issue after a city councillor claimed the kiss between superheroes Wiccan and Hulkling would “spread homosexuality to children.”

The mayor said he would “protect our children” by removing the “books with content that is unsuitable for minors,” ordering his officials to go through the book festival to confiscate works with content deemed “inappropriate.”

Crivella claimed: “It is wrong for them to have access to subjects that they are too young to understand.”

Avengers artist:  The LGBTQ community is here to stay

Marvel artist Jim Chueng, who drew the comic in question, has thanked Brazilian fans for the outpouring of support amid the row.

He said: “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.

“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 colour, whether they be black or white, brown, yellow or green.”

Jim Cheung responded to censorship of the Avengers comic

Jim Cheung responded to censorship of the Avengers comic (Instagram)

He added: “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.”