Legal | The attorney for Christopher Handley, the manga collector sentenced Feb. 11 to six months in prison on obscenity charges, has released a statement addressing the problem with the obscenity law, why his client thought his books were legal, and why he pleaded guilty.
“I know the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and others concerned about the defense of comic books specifically, and free speech generally, are upset that the case did not go to trial,” writes Eric Chase. “They are right to be. The Miller obscenity test is vague, indecipherable, and clearly chills protected speech. Among its most frightening aspects is that its ‘community standards’ element may allow ‘moral majority’ communities to dictate to the rest of us. The extortionate tool given to prosecutors through the receipt charge, with its mandatory minimum, gives incentive to defendants to not mount appropriate ‘community standards’ or ‘serious artistic value’ challenges. In defense of Chris Handley, given his choices, I suppose all I can do is ask: What would you have done?” [Anime News Network]
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. What about when those pictures are juxtaposed with words — specifically the words of Incarnate creator Nick Simmons? And what if those words are denying that the pictures, which pretty clearly show that he plagiarized Tite Kubo’s hit manga Bleach, do any such thing? That’s worth an awful lot, as far as I’m concerned. At Topless Robot, Rob Bricken mashes up Simmons’ non-apology apology with the pictorial evidence to absolutely brutal effect. In a controversy that’s generated more than its fair share of memorable online commentary, this McCloudian approach has generated my favorite yet.