Saturday, May 23, 2009

If you're not concerned, you're not paying attention...

SOURCE: Iowa Man Pleads Guilty To Having Obscene Drawings

I'm sure most of you saw this story and thought "why should this concern me"? I just read American comics and I don't read anything pornographic. This doesn't affect me.

Well, actually it could. Because of the exact wording of the statute used to charge Christopher Handley, who is now looking at 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, a lot of comic fans could be in danger. Because nothing I have seen has said exactly what materials Handley owned which inspired the charges. And even if he did possess something that would be considered pornographic, there is now a precedent for jailing people for possesing drawings - not photos but sketches - of underage sex.

Federal law prohibits the possession of any visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexual conduct, including drawings, cartoons, sculptures or painting.

Sexual conduct? That sounds a little bit vague, doesn't it?

Does that include a teenage Sonja being raped by the soldiers that killed her family in Red Sonja?

Does that include the scenes of Mia Dearden working as a prostitute in Green Arrow: Quiver?

Does that include the depiction of Connor and Cassie's first night together in Infinite Crisis?

Has anyone who has read about this story seen any listing of exactly what it was he had that got him busted? I'm just wondering...


  1. Now you got me wondering which titles he had also.
    Potential new slippery slope angle on censorship and what could or could not be considered "obscene". This kinda rings back to all those commissions and investigations in the early 80s, trying to protect "Our kids from the evils of heavy metal rock music, drugs, and D&D."
    But even after all that, we still have Ozzy claiming on WoW commercials that he's the Prince of we'll probably survive this new round of things as well, should it come to pass.

  2. Well, apparently this guy was caught after something he ordered from Japan was inspected by customs and set off some alarms. They raided his house and found similar materials. But nowhere I've looked has said exactly what the materials were; no book titles or nothing. Not even a description of if it was fan art, a commissioned piece or whatever.
    It is, as you say, a slippery slope simply because of what it COULD be used to justify going after. Hell, I was just thinking about stuff in my personal collection with that list up above. I can think of more than a few Manga series which do depict teenage sex in a non-pornographic way. (i.e. everything is implied or covered up).