Judge blocks Rio mayor from banning Marvel comic over gay kiss

Organizers of the Rio book fair appealed to the supreme court amid worries about censorship and discrimination

A Brazilian judge has blocked the evangelical mayor of Rio de Janeiro from trying to ban a Marvel comic book which shows a kiss between two male superheroes.

The authorities must "refrain from confiscating works based on their content, especially those which deal with homosexuality," judge Heleno Nunes ruled Friday, granting an interim injunction after finding an apparent contradiction with the constitutional right to freedom of expression.

Copies of the book, "Young Avengers: the Children's Crusade," had sold out after the mayor demanded it be withdrawn from Rio's book fair, organizers told AFP.

Ultra-conservative mayor Marcelo Crivella said Thursday he ordered the book removed from sale because of its "sexual content for minors."

"Books like this need to be wrapped in black, sealed plastic with a warning of the contents," Crivella wrote on Twitter.

Crivella -- a former bishop in the giant Universal Church of the Kingdom of God -- was elected Rio's mayor in 2016, promising to bring law and order to a city beset by crime.

The drawing that sparked the mayor's ire showed the Marvel superhero characters Wiccan and Hulkling exchanging a kiss, fully dressed.

The fair organizers said in a statement that Brazil's biggest literary event "gives voice to all audiences, without distinction, as it should be in a democracy. This is a pluralist festival."

During the weekend, the fair will hold discussion panels on trans and LGBTQA+ literature, it said.