Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Sexuality of comic heroes – who cares?
A recent article in The Times has taken Tintin fans by surprise and thrown the Internet chat forums into a tizzy.
The author’s tongue-in-cheek article explains clues buried in the Tintin books all leading to one conclusion. That Tintin is gay.
I must say I have taken the news quite well given that my childhood plans (of marrying the Belgian cub reporter when I grow up) are now in serious trouble.
It is the sign of the complex times we live in that makes it imperative that we look beyond the make-believe world of our super heroes and delve deep into their souls to see if Batman and Robin had a thing going on between them in Gotham.
Now, I take my comics seriously. I may not still have gotten the grip of my chopsticks correct, but I can wield a deadly weapon when I am prowling the night city for potential criminals. Have been since I was seven years old.
If in the last two decades the thought did not cross my mind why Tintin spends so much time alone with Captain Haddock in Marlinspike Hall, I can’t bring myself to do it now.
As a woman obsessed with Harry Potter, the news that Dumbledore, the mad genius headmaster of Hogwarts School of Wichcraft and Wizardry, is gay, came as a huge surprise.
Most fans had no inkling of the shocker that author JK Rowling threw at them at an interaction after the last of the series was launched.
Oh we have seen some seriously dark magic. The books that began as an innocent trip into the magic world of witches and wizards became grim towards the end in their portrayal of deaths and torture.
The news of Dumbledore’s outing raised huge cheers from Rowling’s audience in signs of how mindsets have begun to change from a very young age. Youths seem more prone to go beyond the talking-down-at prudishness of old fairy tales to explore more of a world they can relate to.
That said, I can’t help but ask. Is it necessary for children to peep through the eyehole into their super heroes’ bedrooms?
Tintin books still sell two to three million copies a year and more than 200 million copies have been sold since Herge drew the young reporter with a scarf around his neck accompanied by his talking dog Snowy.
There is no question that he still remains hugely favourite with readers the world over.
It is suddenly a discussion point with fans that Dumbledore and Tintin, loved fanatically as they are by millions, may be homosexuals.
Surely by the same yardstick Tarzan, Phantom, Spiderman and Superman’s romances must also be over analysed and debated?
Yet for a 10-year-old, what matters most is that the bad guy must lose, please God, and the hero must win the day.
Like in life, gay or straight.