The Little Mouse that could – that’s how I thought of Mighty Mouse during the 1950’s. His song “Here I come to save the Day means Mighty Mouse is on his Way” started my Saturday morning cartoon watching as I sat cross-legged on the floor in my pajamas.
In later years, cartoonist/creator of the popular Mouse Ralph Bakshi was criticized.for having an agenda. One fan on prince.org said he watched one hundred greatest cartoons and dug out new adventures of Mighty Mouse. His critique: “ you see Mighty Mouse, more than a couple of times pulling silly faces and looking down at characters’ crotches." My beloved mouse was deemed gay. Honestly! Another fan put on YouTube in 2011, a satirical song entitled “Here I Come to Shave the Gay!”
As far back as 1988, The American Family Association (AFA) in Tulepo, Mississippi claimed that Mighty Mouse had snorted cocaine when he was sniffing flower petals and became energized later. His exhilaration after inhaling was drug-induced, so the critics judged!
Sponge Bob Square Pants
In 2002, Sponge Bob Square Pants” creator Stephen Hillenburg fought off rumors from people like right-wing James Dobson who claimed that the character had” a flamboyant lifestyle and tolerant attitude, typical with gay men.” Hillenburg countered that Sponge Bob was asexual. In 2012, Ukranian right-wingers thought Sponge Bob Square Pants could turn kids gay. Such power being exercised by the cartoon figure of Bikini Bottom!
Reverend Jerry Falwell said purple teletubby Tinky Winky was gay. In 2010, Gandy Goose and Sourpuss were thought of as an ambiguously gay couple. And of course, the most famously gay couple of all, Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie, graced the cover of The New Yorker when gay marriage was passed by SCOTUS.
The most egregious case happened recently. The hamburger-eating Jughead Jones of Archie Comic’s Riverdale High has been declared asexual. Jughead, to his gay high school friend, Kevin Keller, says “ I'm not hobbled by these hormonal impulses!” Why?
Erica Henderson and Chip Zdarsky, creators of Jughead #4, offered his opinion on Jughead’s sexuality at a NY Comic-con panel: “ I think something like asexuality is underrepresented and since we have a character who was asexual before people had the word for it, I’m continuing to write him in that way.” In the past five years, Archie comics has included a gay character and same-sex marriage.
Future of Cartoon Characters
What’s next? Jughead has an eating disorder because he’s always eating? Comics and cartoons are not the real world and in my opinion not the vehicles for the world’s acceptance of diversity. It brings to mind Diane Keaton who morphs into a cartoon character for a few minutes during Annie Hall, and tells Woody Allen, “I’m a cartoon character. I’m not supposed to have periods.”