By Howard Lee
Fans of the X-Men series of comics will be relieved to know that the Media Development Authority (MDA) has decided not to ban "Astonishing X-Men Issue 51" from local shelves, despite the depiction of homosexual content, as the authority deemed that it contained a "balanced treatment of the issue".
The cover of the issue featured an image of gay partner superheroes Northstar and Kyle Jinadu getting married, which was similar to another comic, "Archie: The Married Life Volume Three", which featured the marriage of two openly gay characters in the series.
MDA has indicated that it had assessed "Issue 51" in 2012 following public feedback and queries from its importer.
Clarifying on its different position in relation to "The Married Life", an MDA spokesman was reported by media as saying, "(Issue 51) featured characters who objected to the wedding and this offered a balanced treatment on the issue of gay marriage."
MDA said that its content guidelines “allow for the balanced depictions of same-sex relationships if they do not encourage or promote alternative lifestyles”.
MDA also held that it takes a holistic approach to reviewing published materials that have been identified as contravening guidelines, including factors such as "context, presentation and language".
"The Married Life" was removed from book store chain Kinokuniya in March, following a decision by MDA on its appropriateness.
The National Library Board (NLB), which was criticised earlier for its intention to destroy two children books that depicted "non-pro-family" content, is currently "reviewing the book in light of MDA's decision" to ban "The Married Life".
NLB also indicated earlier that the Archie series was acquired for its adult collection, to which it has a "broader approach" on permissible content compared to its children's collection.
NLB has not indicated if it holds copies of "Issue 51" or in which section it might be holding them.