Somehow this one slipped under my radar, but this is just extraordinarily appalling:
The story: Jesus Castillo worked in a Texas comic book store. He was busted for selling an erotic comic to an undercover officer. These facts have not been disputed: Castillo is an adult. The cop was an adult. The comic was displayed in a separate Adults Only section of the store. The cop was under no compulsion from Castillo to acquire that particular comic. (An excellent, appropriately disgusted recap, comes from Franklin Harris’ Pulp Culture column. I cannot recommend this article highly enough.)
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund provided expert witnesses to attest to the artistic and literary qualities of the comic in question. The DA told the jury that none of that mattered, because comic books have “always” been for children and the “adult” comic was therefore obscene by definition. The jury bought the argument and convicted, the trial judge let it stand and, last week, the US Supreme Court declined to review the case.
So some poor schmoe who works in a comic book shop got a 180-day suspended sentence and a $4000 fine, for selling an “adults only” book to an adult because everyone knows comics are for children. And gosh, isn’t that an exciting legal precedent for the comics industry to deal with.
Apologies to the decent, thoughtful, intelligent people who live in the Lone Star state a category which actually includes several friends of mine but these Texas pigstickers are really starting to get on my nerves.