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Drawn out: Tintin's been outed. Jinkies! Could Velma be next?

Is it a happy accident that the popular cartoon character Tintin, who first appeared in European newspapers in 1929 and is set to star in a series of upcoming Steven Spielberg films, has a tidy blond coil, a tiny dog for a pet, and counts a sailor and an opera singer as best friends? Where the scarved Tintin was silent, the U.K.'s Times newspaper speaks--in January an article dubbed the most famous creation of Belgian artist Herge an unquestionable 'mo.

Tintin exists amid a long tradition of ambiguous animated characters. Many of these two-dimensionals sprang from the minds of Hanna-Barbera: Scooby-Doo's Velma is a maybe baby dyke, Snagglepuss from The Yogi Bear Show is a lisping pink mountain lion, and the Great Gazoo on The Flintstones (played by Alan Cumming in the film version, no less) is a possible pocket gay from outer space.

Add to that list Waylon Smithers of The Simpsons (the blue-balled assistant of Mr. Burns); Stewie, the homicidal (and homosexual?) baby of Family Guy; and SpongeBob SquarePants, who holds hands with boys and caught the ire of Focus on the Family in 2005 for "promoting the gay agenda" (their boycott sank). Four decades after Hanna-Barbera's heyday, TV's gayish characters cover a wider spectrum of humanity; we've even come so far as to see an openly gay character in The Simpsons' Patty Bouvier. But maybe Velma and her '70s friends suffer from a queer case of Jessica Rabbit syndrome: They're not gay, they're just drawn that way.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

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Title Annotation:ADVANCE; cartoons and gays
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2009
Words:254
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