Writers of the Judge Dredd comic series have caused a stir with fans, by suggesting that the title character of the comics might be gay.
The latest edition of the 2000 AD comic series is titled Closet, and features a gay teenager, and his issues around coming out.
Creators of the comic released the first page of the edition, which featured a picture of Judge Dredd, a street judge and policeman, kissing the teenager in a gay club.
In October, on the official Facebook page for the character, a message read: “Has someone finally melted Judge Dredd’s stony heart? Find out in January 2013…”, and was accompanied by a picture appearing to show Judge Dredd kissing another male character.
Some fans expressed disappointment at suggestions that Dredd might be gay, and some even said they would burn the comic, if the storyline were true.
A spokesman said: “We have had quite an extreme reaction… Dredd has always been satirical, while touching on serious issues. This is another example of this.”
Rob Williams, a writer for the series, said any sexual attraction to anyone had always come secondary to his passion for the law, reports the Independent.
He said: “Although, can you imagine what would happen if that repression ever fell away, just for an instant? Sure, Dredd could be gay.
“You can’t look at the original costume design of leather and chains and not see a fetishistic edge there… But Dredd’s feeling are so deeply hidden, he is extremely unlikely to ever let them show.”
He said that comics were a “great” place to challenge issues such as homophobia, and if that provoked negative reactions, he was fine with that.
“As long as you stay true to the character throughout – which I think ‘Closet’ does – you can deal with all sorts of issues in a story… If they push people’s buttons, fine.
“I’d rather a story be provocative than just, ‘and they have a fight’. Plus, putting Dredd in a gay club filled with men dressed as him is a pretty funny image. It’s worth it for that alone.”
Judge Dredd is a judge an American city called Mega-City One, who has law enforcement powers, including instant sentencing and execution.
The latest edition of the Judge Dredd comic, Closet, will be available from Wednesday.
Not the first comic to deal with issues around being gay, and homophobia, DC Comics last year announced a character was to come out as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and Marvel ‘s Northstar, the first openly gay hero, tied the knot with his boyfriend Kyle Jinadu in an issue of ‘Astonishing X-Men’.
This caused offence to anti-gay group, One Million Moms, who complained that the comic book creators were trying to “indoctrate [sic] impressionable young minds by placing these gay characters on pedestals in a positive light,”