Tuesday, November 6, 2007

When in Rome (watch out for comic books)

So this comic book store owner in Rome, Georgia, Gordon Lee, participates in his town's Halloween festival in 2004 and gives out a metric buttload of free comic books. One of these comic books is a famous graphic novel. Unfortunately, that famous novel, Nick Bertozzi's The Salon, has a drawing depicting a historical event in which Picasso is in the nude. It's given to a girl. Her parents complain. Whoops, it was an accident.

The local small town authorities spring into action and arrest the bad man on a bundle of felony counts. His legal case goes on for three years, during which time the counts against him are slowly dropped, and new charges are thrown in the mix. As the case progresses, the prosecutors change their facts, add new indictments, and drag their feet. You can see the costs add up in the articles as they progress over time, first $20,000, then $40,000 and now it's up to $80,000. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund helps him on this, with the comic community sending donations of cash and artwork for sale at conventions.

Then today they agree not to mention Lee's atttitude upon arrest (he was a little annoyed) or history to the jury (they've gone after him before) and surprise. The prosecutors mention these things, likely in an attempt to get a better jury for themselves, and the judge declares a mistrial. Back to the drawing board, with a new trial promised and additional expenses wracked up. They're now down to two misdemeanor counts and the total is likely to hit $100,000 by the time he's done. I wonder if that poor girl has recovered from seeing Picasso nude?

Anyway, I just gave the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund $10 for Gordon Lee, because it pissed me off. You might also consider the same if you're also a bit annoyed.

Here's the page with Picasso.
The scene in question showed the first meeting between Pablo Picasso and Georges
Braque. Picasso is depicted in the nude on three pages in reflection of historical fact.

It's definitely "adult", but hardly pornography.

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