Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Justiniano pleads not guilty; Burkle loads up on B&N stock

Josue Rivera (aka Justiniano)

Crime | Josue Rivera, the comic artist known as Justiniano, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of possessing more than 100 photographs and videos containing child pornography. Rivera was arrested in Connecticut on May 10 following a July incident in which police say he mistakenly gave a funeral home director a thumb drive containing 33 files classified as child pornography instead of the one containing photos of a deceased relative. Police later seized Rivera’s computer and found 153 files of suspected child pornography. On Tuesday, the 38-year-old artist pleaded not guilty to first-degree possession of child pornography, and requested a jury trial. [Connecticut Post]

Retailing | Days after it was announced that media conglomerate Liberty Media offered $1 billion to buy Barnes & Noble, supermarket magnate Ron Burkle has revealed he bought another 603,000 shares at $18.49 a share, raising his stake in the bookseller to 19.74 percent. The Wall Street Journal suggests that Burkle, already the book chain’s largest shareholder, may be “playing a potentially dangerous game of chicken to force a takeover price for Barnes & Noble even higher.” [Deal Journal]

London MCM Expo

Conventions | London MCM Expo kicks off Friday at Excel. Comics guests include John Allison, Dan Boultwood, Becky Cloonan, Paul Duffield, Marc Ellerby, Warren Ellis, Gary Erskine, Kieron Gillen, John McCrea, Jamie McKelvie, Jamie Smart and Emma Vieceli. [London MCM Expo]

Conventions | Comicpalooza will be held Friday through Sunday at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Comics guests include Marc Bernardin, Jennie Breeden, Joe Eisma, Alé Garza, Phil Hester, Don Kramer, Andy Kuhn, Bob Layton, David Mack, Terry Moore, Chris Roberson, Arthur Suydam and Fred Van Lente. [My San Antonio]

Conventions | Jeff Baker looks at some of the Portland, Oregon, authors attending BookExpo America in New York City this week. Among them is Craig Thompson, whose graphic novel Halibi will be published in September. [The Oregonian]

Publishing | PopMatters kicks off a three-part profile of BOOM! Studios CEO Ross Richie, who fondly recalls at age 7 receiving a copy of Fantastic Four #178. [PopMatters]

Publishing | Eva Volin interviews Gina Gagliano, marketing associate for First Second Books and programming director for Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2011. [Good Comics for Kids]

Creators | Time Out Chicago excerpts Paul Hornschemeier’s Life with Mr. Dangerous, accompanied by quotes from the cartoonist that didn’t make it into the profile in the print edition of the magazine: “It’s funny: When people meet me, I’m very jokey. I think they’re like, ‘How is that the same person [as the guy who wrote these books]?’ But I don’t tend to put on Groucho Marx glasses and yuk it up when I’m sitting by myself and writing books. My native state is to be pretty introspective and a little bit on the sad side.” [Time Out Chicago]



The Mad Monkey

May 25, 2011 at 7:29 am

Not guilty?!
What is he going to do…say that all those files are reference material?
I think I’m going to be sick…

as terrible as this is for the act(s) committed alone, this will also be a huge hit for the industry if the story becomes over sensationalized. guaranteed there will be a huge drop in young attendants at comic conventions if this gets picked up by the mainstream media. most non-collector parents already think cons are a breeding ground for deviance as it is…

Justiniano’s plea is not a big deal. Generally a judge will not allow a criminal defendant to enter a guilty plea at his initial hearing. The judge as a matter of practice will enter a “not guilty” for a defendant and determine if he will hire an attorney or appoint him one.

@blakeastro – that’s patently nonsense. Numerous priests worldwide have been hauled up for similar behaviour, but that doesn’t stop people going to church, does it?

According to the article he already has an attorney, so right or wrong this seems to be his actual plea.

More like the artist formally known as Justiniano. Anyway this is not going to negatively effect the comic industry its going to negatively effect one man. I mean really what do you think people are gonna say about other artists, “Oh he draws comics he must be a pedophile?” No that’s senseless.


Nonetheless, attorney’s rarely plead their clients guilty at an initial hearing either. The attorney is first going to want to see the State’s evidence before a plea. My point is that people often get worked up over a criminal defendant’s plea of not guilty at an early hearing when in fact its very common.

Blake, Blake , Blake!!!!! This A-Hole doesn’t represent the entire comics industry, so your comment is very stupid, and what proof do you have that people have stated that conventions are a breeding ground for deviants unless your one of the pervs. Please be more realistic and stay away from all the cons.

I have two close friends who are lawyers. It’s not surprising for him to enter a “Not Guilty” plea, guys. Pleading “guilty” can throw you at the mercy of the court, and you can get a max sentence, especially for the crime in question.

“pleaded not guilty to first-degree possession of child pornography,” It’s important what the law describes as “first-degree” vs. “second-degree.” And in law, the burden of proof is on the defense. If they can’t prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt to a jury, then all charges could be dropped.

The accused can claim that other people had access to his computer. Or that he uploads/downloads files as a matter of his business, and had no knowledge of the files in question. “They must be someone else’s.”

It’s a terrible, terrible crime. But this is the way our criminal justice system works, to protect the innocent – thus the phrase, “innocent until proven guilty.” Unfortunately, it also gives the guilty room to wriggle.

And no matter how damning the evidence, none of us know the full story here. It looks to be pretty cut-and-dry guilty, but looks can also sometimes be decieving (Look at the Jon Benet Ramsey case…)

Does anyone know if it was actual child pornography (ie, photos) or just creepy/weird Manga? Both make him creepy, but the manga at least wouldn’t have victims.

Nevermind, I just read the linked story. Mother-of-pearl, that’s depressing..

Thank you, Bill. That’s what I’ve been trying to say.


May 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Okay, well, first–the prosecution has to prove the case beyond a “reasonable” doubt, not a “shadow of a doubt,” whatever that means. And second, which really should have been first–why the presumption of guilt? How do any of you know that the charges truly have merit? I mean, come on. Mistakes happen, people lie, etc. I know the slightest sight of blood in the water turns the average American into a ravenous shark, but perhaps we should take a deep breath and see what actually happens here.

“Why the presumption of guilt?” Seriously? Did you even read the story? Do you think the Child Pornography Fairy loaded his house with pictures of kiddie porn while he was sleeping?

MadHatter: thanks for being so “open-minded”. i never said he represented the entire industry. the american media has a way of spinning a story and making ignorant people believe anything. just wait to see if bill o’reilly gets his hands on this story… that’s what i meant by saying the media over SENSATIONALIZING the story.

Oh, and Fireball XTC… no who’s talking nonsense? the comic book industry is hardly a religious institution. you really think it would be as hard for someone to walk away from a comic book convention as it would to walk away from their FAITH?

to all detractors of my statements:

look at the state of comic book conventions in the past two decades. the amount of pornography and “con girls” present at these shows has reached an all time high. even cosplayers have reached a level of unabashed exhibitionism.

comic books used to be a medium targeted towards kids. i understand completely that those kids grew up and still kept reading so the demographic changed, but deep down, it is still adolescent entertainment and conventions are littered with parents and their 5-12 year old comic book fans. these people spend money at conventions. money comic book creators and companies present depend on.

i am a comic creator who usually has a table in artist’s alley at conventions and i’ve had parents totally pass me by because i was surrounded by porn models and “adult-themed” (porno) artists. all we need is for fox news or msnbc to pick up this story and point out that justiniano is a comic book artist and the next time these same kind of parents can add in that the guy drawing sexy fairies or smurfs across the aisle from me at a con must be a pedophile like that guy in the news.

the average american isn’t exactly known for their keen sense of rationality.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. While kiddy porn is a heinous crime, it’s quickly pushed through and badly thought out laws that have blurred the line, getting many people in trouble, that otherwise have done no wrong.

Likelyhood is that the photos are for either reference (artists will use many over time, to get things right), and/or those of family/friends, who know what his profession is and may have indulged his creativity. Besides, if you were to create work with kids as characters, where would you look for inspiration? Better to openly request photos for reference, or use those of family, than visit local parks with a camera, hat and trench coat, and a shaddy disposition. Can’t know all the details.

And the long shot, is that they aren’t his at all. Guess we’ll be paying attention to this trial closely. If it can highlight the major flaws in a law, some good may come of it. He’ll probably get off anyway, and the truth will out.

How can the pictures not be his if they’re on a thumb drive? It’s not like one of those cases where somebody planted stuff on his computer without his knowledge. And reference? Seriously? A picture of a kid, and a picture of a kid that is pornographic, shouldn’t be too hard to distinguish between. Based on what we know, it sounds like the guy is most likely a fucking perverted douchebag. Speculating that this will somehow effect the entire industry though, is pretty stupid.

@Rob D

You’d think it would be obvious to a fool, what’s CP and what isn’t. We all know the real difference. However, like I said before, because of preachy groups on the hunt for paedos under every rock, the once clear line has become more blurred. When even a drawing of a character you created can be called into question, let alone photos in this case, there’s something very wrong with the law. Unfortunately, as usual, those who make laws, don’t consider the wider implications of what they pass, in the quest for the guilty.

The reality of the situation on the ground is quite different, where real CP, is being looked at less (remember, all this takes time, money and man power to do), because of all the clutched chaff cases being grabbed at instead. I grow tired of people being hauled up for a freaking comic book or photo, as all it helps do is feed the media paranoia engine.

But like I said, we’ll see what happens. He’ll get his day in court, and more light and truth will be shed.

Interesting to read the condemnation of child porn, and someone inquiring as to whether it is drawn or not.

Hands up if you own Lost Girls…

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