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08/14/2003 Entry: "Comix and Free Speech"

This can't be good:

"Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of Jesus Castillo's 2000 obscenity conviction for selling a comic book. The court let stand his sentence of 180 days in jail, a year of probation and a $4,000 fine.

Although the decision is unsurprising, given how few cases the court agrees to review, it leaves a dangerous precedent unchallenged. As of now, comic books are the only medium of artistic expression without the presumption of First Amendment protection. Why? Because comic books "are for kids." "
- from Franklin Harris' Pulp Culture Online, August 7 2003 (I just discovered this site - it's great, comics fans should all bookmark it and subscribe to the mailing list)

Even though the comic in question was marked as adults-only, sold in the adults-only section of the store to an adult (an undercover cop), the Supes decided that it lacked any "serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value when taken as a whole" - despite testimony to the contrary. Obscenity available to kids is a no-no.

Comics are for kids, huh? Please, Supreme Court Justices, I invite you to next year's Comic-Con in San Diego where you will see tens of thousands of ADULTS plonking down huge amounts of cash for comic books of every stripe. I suppose the Pulitzer that Art Speigelman's "Maus" received was because it made a good bedtime story for the little sprouts. And all those six-year-olds buying Chris Ware's "Jimmy Corrigan" at $30 a pop - allowances sure have gone up since I was a kid!

All the more reason, my friends, to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which was heavily involved in this case. One day, you know, LiHeLiSo will publish comics, and we'll proabably get busted for it, and the CBLF will defend us from some Ashcroftian Nazgul.

Where is Mike Diana these days?

Posted by Laurel Sutton

 

 

 

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