But Canada’s current law goes beyond pornography that causes harm to children. It also makes some works of the imagination – stories and drawings – illegal if they depict people under the age of 18 in sexual situations. Many classic works of art might meet that definition, and the law does allow for a defence on the grounds of artistic merit. This puts the courts in the bizarre position of determining what is a work of art. Citizens cannot hope to know in advance what the law really forbids, and whether the judge will share their opinion of what is art. Policing the way you express yourself on a piece of paper or on your laptop comes awfully close to policing your thoughts.

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/Crimes+imagination/5020809/story.html#ixzz1Qg5TanaR

Very happy to see this strongly-worded editorial condemning the arrest of a U.S. Citizen for travelling into Canada with comics and manga on his laptop. Kudos to the Ottawa Citizen for taking an important stand.

- Chris

In the TCAF craziness I missed an anniversary–I gave up Diet Coke just over a year ago. In fact I’ve cut aspartame and “diet” products out of my life entirely. Just in time too, apparently.

I went to Japan in May 2010 for 10 days, and in Japan they don’t have Diet Coke. The ‘diet’ is like the parliament, or congress, so the closest equivalent is “Coke Plus”, which isn’t widely available, and doesn’t taste exactly like Diet Coke. Actually, that’s the thing about being addicted to Diet Coke–you’re addicted to Diet Coke, and all of the other products and half-steps just don’t taste right, and don’t scratch that itch. Coke Zero was always a possibility, but I figured if I was gonna leave all that behind, I’d leave it allll behind.

I was pretty seriously addicted to Diet Coke too. Although I hesitate to mention my connection Scott Pilgrim on the blog here, this little bit of Wallace…

…is exaggerated very little. I was probably drinking a 2l of Diet Coke every 2 days while I was living with Mal, and I’d been drinking it since I was like 6 or 7? Whenever it came out I think. While I’d cut waaaay back in recent years, it became kind of obvious that I’d need to cut it out entirely. And I did. Just willpower, I think I’ve had 2 or 3 mouthfuls since last year and luckily it doesn’t taste nearly as good in real life as my taste memory of it.

I haven’t exactly replaced it with anything, I’ll usually have a couple of energy drinks every workday but before you rush to point out how shitty that is for me, check out the ingredients on the only energy drink I imbibe: http://guruenergy.com/new/us/drinks/guru/guru.php. No refined caffeine, no taurine, no refined sugar, no corn syrup, all of the ingredients are certified organic. If you’ve gotta drink sugar water with weird shit in it, this is about the best sugar water you can hope for.

I also drink a lot more _actual_ water, usually 2l a day.

I don’t know if I feel any healthier, but I sure do have a hell of a lot better peace of mind when I see articles like this crop up.

- Chris


Shipping this week:
MAR110266 Green Lantern Movie Prequel Hal Jordan #1 2.99
Originally due: May 25th

So a Green Lantern Movie Prequel is shipping this week, a full month late and 3 weeks after the Green Lantern Movie opened. The fifth and final Green Lantern Movie Prequel book won’t be out until August. As a retailer I’m pretty worried about this. Not just because of a late book, because hey, sometimes books are late. But because of the creative team, and because of how Capital “I” Important this book is. This was DC’s major tie-in to the Green Lantern film, written by Green Lantern writer, Chief Creative Officer, and Green Lantern movie Executive Producer Geoff Johns. Apparently at no point was it a priority to get their major movie tie-in out in time for the movie, that’s a little distressing. But worse than that, this is nothing new. Johns has been at least a month late on Green Lantern for most of the title’s run, with frequent skip-months to get the book back on track.

And getting worse, GL isn’t the first problematic work of Johns’. Johns really sunk his teeth into Flash before he moved to GL, and that series has frankly been a mess for years now. There’ve been 4 relaunches of that title in 2.5 years:

Flash: Rebirth #1 (April 2009) (6 issues, 11 months)

Blackest Night: The Flash #1 (December 2009) (Came out before the 6th and final issue of Flash: Rebirth)

Flash #1 (Brightest Day) (April 2010) (10 issues, 13 months)

Flash #1 (September 2011)

Frequent delays, content changes, having the end of the arc ruined, all sorts of relaunches… It hasn’t been a great time to be a Flash fan. Sure, the content is generally very well regarded when it arrives, but for fans who are used to getting their comic every month, Flash has been about the most disappointing title that DC publishes in that regard for 3 years.

But making things ever worse  is a non-Geoff Johns-written comic being released this week:

APR110099 Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #11 (War Of GL) 2.99

You see, this book is an aftermath book to Geoff Johns’ “War Of The Green Lanterns” crossover that’s been running for the past few months. It takes place after the War is over–an epilogue to the series. Have you guessed why this is distressing? It’s because the last issue of War Of The Green Lanterns hasn’t ended yet. The last part is Green Lantern #67, written by Geoff Johns, and which has been moved from it’s original ship date of June 15th to… July 13th.

Now, frankly, I don’t personally give a fuck. I don’t really read these books, but I do pay attention. This isn’t the first time DC or Marvel have spoiled the ending of one of their own major crossovers because of lateness, editorial incompetence, or just not really giving a fuck themselves. I feel like while it’s my job to sell these books to people (and I enjoy my job) anyone who’s buying them knows what they’re getting into by now. It’s admittedly one of the crappier parts of my job, but it’s not all sunshine and roses here in the comic book trenches.

No, why I’m even bothering to write this blog entry, is this guy, Geoff Johns, is the guy in charge of relaunching the entire DC Universe in September. 52 brand new comics, all hinging on Geoff Johns and Jim Lee (another fine creator not known for being timely) and their Justice League ongoing series, and that’s kinda fucked up right there. DC has chosen to make Geoff Johns the public face of this relaunch, Johns has seemingly willingly stepped into the role, and every book he’s involved with right now has massive scheduling and timeliness problems.

I don’t say any of this to be cruel, to take a shot at DC when they’re trying something exciting and new, to rain on their parade. But it’s been rattling around in the back of my head since the announcement, and the release of two fairly major fuckups within the DCU this Wednesday, both directly tied to Johns? Well, I felt like it was at least worth noting.

- Chris

An drawing of a thing is not the thing itself.

According to a press release issued this morning and widely circulated across the social media, The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) will be joining the fight against Canada’s ridiculous child pornography laws, and against Canada Customs’ search/seizure powers at the Canadian border. More specifically, the CBLDF “ is forming a coalition to support the legal defense of an American citizen who is facing criminal charges in Canada that could result in a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison for comics brought into the country on his laptop.”

I’ve been aware of this case since just before I gave my talk on comics and censorship this past February, and every aspect of it makes my blood boil. That ‘manga’ is targeted as a buzzword that encourages Customs agents to do more thorough searches, that an illustration of a person or act is the same thing as the person or act under Canadian law, that Art has no legal defense in Canada anymore. It’s all awful, and I am very, very glad that the CBLDF has stepped in to provide funding and support for this case, to ensure that at the very least this man is rigourously defended, and with any luck a precedent can be set under Canadian law.

If you are a fan of any manga or anime, if you are a fan of comics, if you have even one comics page, anime clip, or “dirty” picture on your computer, tablet, or phone, this is about you. This is about you being pulled aside, searched, your electronics confiscated to be sent away for weeks and months, all because you’ve got scans of Naruto on your desktop. This isn’t about “child porn” or any variation thereof, this is about legally equating a description of a thing–written or drawn–with the real thing.

As Neil Gaiman recently wrote:

“Freedom to write, freedom to read, freedom to own material that you believe is worth defending means you’re going to have to stand up for stuff you don’t believe is worth defending, even stuff you find actively distasteful, because laws are big blunt instruments that do not differentiate between what you like and what you don’t, because prosecutors are humans and bear grudges and fight for re-election, because one person’s obscenity is another person’s art.

“Because if you don’t stand up for the stuff you don’t like, when they come for the stuff youdo like, you’ve already lost.”


If you can afford anything, I urge you to donate to The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. You can do so at this page, they even take PayPal amongst other avenues of payment: http://cbldf.org/contribute/

A Canadian group called The Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund will also be starting a Fundraising drive over the coming weeks and months, and as soon as their contribution information comes together I’ll be happy to pass it along as well.

So again, and in closing, this is about the government deciding what is or isn’t art, about what you can or can’t read, and very deliberately confusing the thought of a crime with the crime itself. This is something worth taking a stand about. Please do so, and if you can, contribute.

- Chris

“Well maybe this is telling, but I’ve always put my enjoyment of the festival second — or maybe third — to doing the work and promoting a bunch of great comics creators, giving them a place to make a few bucks and expand their audiences. Aspects of TCAF are certainly enjoyable, but the real value to me is more that it’s rewarding. That sounds a little martyr-y, I’m sorry, it’s not intentional.”


“I just did a quick count and Marvel have about 100 ongoing series and mini-series set in the main Marvel U coming in August, give or take. Looking at the DC list, it seems the vast majority of books getting issue #1s are, in fact, being rebooted rather than exploring entirely new concepts or characters, which means that as retailers we have hard sales data on those books. We know what Action Comics #900 sold, and we know what Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman #1 sold, and we know what really big event books with real-world press coverage tend to do to sales, so we’ve got a usable metric to figure out orders on Morrison and Morales’ Action Comics #1. Again, I think we know the general ballpark of where to place our orders on almost all of these titles, and that they’re #1 issues will largely mean more copies are sold than the previous issue, not less. Compared to Marvel’s 100-title continuity, 52 books in the DCU seems almost quaint, and certainly easier to deal from an ordering perspective.”


Just in case you missed me writing about the comical books on this here blog, you can go check out what I’m thinking about these days over on those other sites.

- Chris

I think that in the last 10 years, the narrative that Marvel and DC have tried to sell, that “Women don’t read comics” has shifted to “Women don’t want to read the only kind of comics we want to produce,” which is a much less compelling narrative. More believable though.

Their lack of diversity, and DC’s recent moves especially, are really damning in the big picture, but even on a personal level, a one-to-one sort of a thing, I can’t even get Actual Gay People in comics to stop giving money to gay-hating hotel operator Doug Manchester (The Hyatt) at San Diego every year… I’m not holding my breath waiting for the superhero pubs or fandom to come around on this one. I would hope that, at some point, IDW or Image or whomever would see the obvious gap in the market and make a go, but as-of-yet they’ve shied away as well. It’s too bad.

On that note, here’s a great interview segment that I read with the creator of COMMUNITY, about how he was ‘forced’ to hire a half-female writing staff, and how that ended up being one of the best moves the show could’ve taken: http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/06/communitys_dan_harmon_talks_ab.html. The great pull-quote from that one?

“I think we have to stop thinking of it as a quota thing and think of it as a common-sense thing.”

Here’s to common sense.

- Christopher

As a reprise to our totes-fun-times from last years, Deb Aoki, David Brothers, Patachu, Eva Volin, and myself will preside over a panel charmingly entitled:


at the San Diego Comic Con (or, more properly, Comic-Con International: San Diego). I will be catching right-the-hell-up on all of my manga reading in order to be as informed as possible, but will clearly be schooled by my fellow panelists. It should be fun! And it would be delightful to see you there. Here are the deets:

Best and Worst of Manga 2011
Friday, July 22nd
Room: 26AB
6:30p.m. – 7:30p.m.

- Christopher

“My schedule at TCAF is over. I met more people and had more conversations than I even thought possible (through an interpreter) these past two days. It was so much fun!” – Natsume Ono, on Twitter, translated from The Japanese