Robot 6

Diamond U.K. drops Chaykin’s Black Kiss II over content concerns

Black Kiss II #2

Less than three weeks after British customs agents temporarily held the first issue of Howard Chaykin’s sexually explicit Black Kiss II, Diamond U.K. has decided to stop importing the series due to concerns about its graphic content.

Bleeding Cool reports the distributor notified British retailers that, after reviewing the second issue, it has canceled all orders the title, including the second printing of Issue 1. The first issue will be made returnable (although it seems likely that it just became a very hot commodity).

“Retailers will be aware that the first issue of Howard Chaykin’s Black Kiss II was rather explicit compared to other comics distributed by Diamond UK,” the distributor wrote in a notice to retailers. “We at Diamond have now had the opportunity to review the second issue and the explicitness has not diminished at all! In fact there are scenes depicted which may fall foul of UK Customs’ regulations on the importing of indecent and obscene material. Consequently Diamond has taken the decision not to distribute any further issues of Black Kiss II in the UK. Had Diamond UK continued to import this title and encountered problems with Customs, it could have had a knock-on effect on the timely distribution of all titles in the UK. A situation wanted by no one.”

Published by Image Comics, the series is the sequel to Chaykin’s 1988 erotic thriller, which centered on transsexual prostitute Dagmar Laine, jazz musician Cass Pollack and the search for a reel from the Vatican’s pornography collection, all intertwined with vampires and the secret history of Hollywood. The original Black Kiss was controversial in its day, with publisher Vortex Comics releasing the series in sealed plastic. The sequel, billed as a six-part miniseries that “tells the story behind that legendary story,” was teased with the log line, “Sex, death, and the movies — what else really matters?”

In an interview Comic Book Resources before the debut of Black Kiss II, Chaykin addressed some of the reaction to the graphic nature of the original comic. “”I’ve always felt that the shock expressed was more of the hypocritically dutiful ‘I should be appalled by this or my (girl)friend(s) will think I’m a degenerate’ variety,” he said. “You know, like all that adultery and other inappropriate sexual behavior practiced in all those Bible-belting Red States.”

Bleeding Cool notes Image has an exclusive deal with Diamond Comic Distributors, which likely means there will be no other way for the publisher to release Black Kiss II in the United Kingdom.

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Comments

16 Comments

I read the first issue at my LCS and thought it to be pointless and gratuituously sexual. Not everything with nudity has redeeming value. YMMV.

I’ve heard great things about this series, I’m going to see if my Comic Shop has any copies left.

Bought first issue because of the Customs trouble…who does the UK think the are…Canada?

i flipped through the first issue recently. it was almost as bad/pointless as anything avatar publishes.

Does the UK ban pornography videos imported from the U.S.? Don’t think so… Another hypocritical example of comics not getting to do what other mediums like film are allowed to all the time… Can’t have the kiddies having access to this kind of stuff… Oh wait, that’s right, it’s all over the internet, let’s ban that too! If you don’t want to see it, you don’t have to buy it, but let others decide for themselves!

Max. Of course the UK doesn’t. Taking a quick look online at the cover, the issue (i believe) is that there is no age rating, no bag it comes in like porno mags or whatever. In stores like HMV or whatever, any porno tapes I’ve seen are with blank covers and normal print names, the real boxes in the back. Bear in mind customs has not banned the comic, Diamond have chosen not to import it to avoid further hold ups. If these changes were made to protect anyone from seeing it that don’t want to/should not, or any other concerns, I imagine there would no longer be an issue from any side. The book simply reaches whatever mark is reserved for pornography or whatever, and thus needs to meet extra criteria. As I mentioned, this is simply what I’ve taken from a quick search around, looking at the cover, guidelines etc., I could be wrong. I think its unfair though to ask if the uk bands videos though, asto imply customs have banned this comic, which isn’t the case. You simply subvert and confound the real discussion quickly that way,

Just had a butchers and it’s not on Comixology over here either, anyone know about the US site?

I am in the US and Black Kiss is available on Comixology. Does your government let you do ANYTHING?

Unsurprising but disappointing in this day and age.

The simple fact is – our Government make themselves out to be beacons of sexual decency and believe the general population to be the same, but the truth is anything but. We have plenty of outdated laws and a few new ones completely at odds with our general attitude towards sex and it’s colourful variance. Unlike certain parts of the USA, even the most prudish Brit will insist that what people enjoy in their bedroom is their own damn business.

A recent law outlawing “extreme pornography” is one such example. It’s so badly worded, it’s outrageous, but it makes owning/viewing images of certain sexual acts illegal if they are likely to cause ‘sever injury’ to sexual parts of the body. The act itself may still be legal, though. In recent cases where the defendant had no other specified images (bestiality, indecent images of children), the Jury acquitted them immediately. Common sense prevailed from the Common Britsh Wo/Man.

The UK is very open minded when it comes to sex and erotica. Our Govt just refuse to believe it and treat us like kids.

It’s mildly amusing how the comments thus far appear to be ‘bashing’ the powers-that-be.

Was it not the importer’s choice to discontinue Black Kiss II due to personal interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act? Did Customs not allow the first issue through?

It’s understandable why the UK distributor would not want to attract unwarranted attention to their business and risk prosecution and/or a fine. I profess that I haven’t read the first issue, save for the 6 page preview available online, so it’s difficult to understand exactly where it may fall foul of the OPC, though to my knowledge prosecutions have been few and far between – though I believe Alan Moore’s Little Girls ran into some trouble, as have some hentai novella.

To the person above who questioned whether traditional pornography was checked upon import – yes it is. Stringently.

yeah, this sounds more like Diamond pulling a preemptive foul play to prevent ALL COMICS IMPORTED INTO THE UK from being delayed. It’s a business decision more than anything. That said, it sounds like a typical Avatar book, lots of “adult content” without anything to really back it up or legitimize it.

Dicks drawn on a bathroom wall. Chaykin just does it with more style. Anyone who is intrigued by this “mature” subject matter need only gaze a tad lower than his/her navel. Fascinating….

“You know, like all that adultery and other inappropriate sexual behavior practiced in all those Bible-belting Red States”

The ones in the UK? Seems like a silly insult now..

The question, in this particular case, is not whether Black Kiss II is good or not, that’s moot. It’s not about the artistic validity or lack thereof of the material that’s being banned from import, it’s that censorship, whether it’s censoring something you happen to like or not, whether it’s censoring something “legitimate” or not, is still an appalling blight on free-thinking, libertarian intellectualism and no forward-thinking, progressivist nation on the face of the planet would stand for it. The fact that the US is full of “Bible-belting Red States” and religious fanatics who would like to ban this sort of material only means OUR First Amendment advocates have to fight that much harder so I give them their credit due. I’m glad to live in the United States when issues like this come up.

Neil – The importer, being a capitalist enterprise, would NEVER miss an opportunity to make money. If they are cancelling their distribution, it’s because customs has a problem with it.

Peter Morningstar

August 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Then if that’s the case and Customs do have a definite problem with the book then why can’t Diamond state this fact and the exact legalities of the matter instead of generalising and basically saying what may and could happen.
If there is to be a nock-on effect with other titles being delayed, why didn’t this occur in the first instance when Black Kiss II #1 was briefly impounded at Customs? Sorry, but that argument just doesn’t justify it for me.
I find a lot of this statement from Diamond appears to be hypothesis, no actual facts.
Isn’t the UK is part of the EU, so any possible banning or impounding by UK Customs could be taken to a Higher European Court and dealt with there.
Sorry, but for me this seems to be a decision soley taken by Diamond UK…i may be wrong, but if i’m not, then who are they to censor what people can and cannot choose to read?

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