Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Lost Girls

Sextv has a wonderful 10 minute episode with author Alan Moore and illustrator Melinda Gebbie on the controversial graphic novel, Lost Girls. I first heard about Lost Girls through this CBC article in June of 2006. A fan of Moore's V for Vendetta, I was very curious about this 'comic' telling the tales of sexuality of Wendy, Alice, and Dorothy. Boing Boing then had an article about the books, with a sneak peak preview of some of the illustrations. They were simply stunning and I hoped Moore & Gebbie would be successful with release.

Lost Girls was published and released, however, distribution to Canada was a problem. Comic Book Resources reports:

The issue at the Canadian border boiled down to this: Are depictions of underage sex the same thing as child pornography? “While Canadian case law does support the arts, they don't have the 1st Amendment, and their laws also don't distinguish between drawings of sex with minors and actual photos of minors, which is a big distinction that the US Supreme Court made in rulings on these matters in the US,” Staros said. “It was a difficult (and expensive) decision, but we decided to do the right thing, suspended distribution of ‘Lost Girls' to Canada, and hire a Canadian law firm to approach Canadian Customs and seek a ruling from them. This way we would know definitively if the book could be imported into Canada. This took several weeks of work for us and the attorneys to put the case together, and it ended up being a rather large document that was submitted, which included legal arguments on the artistic merit of the book, reviews, interviews with Alan and Melinda, etc.

“Ironically, the day we submitted the legal package to Canadian Customs, was the day that a copy of ‘Lost Girls,' ordered online from one of the big US retailers, was actually seized at the Canadian border for obscenity,” Staros said. “So, when we found out, we asked Canadian Customs to combine both cases into one, and make a ruling on our request and the seizure at the same time, which they agreed to. We never did announce the fact that a book was seized, as this would have been bad PR for Canadian Customs, and we wanted to give them a fair shot to do the right thing on the ruling of the book.

“So, we kept our fingers crossed, waited 30 days or so, and then in a thoughtful letter from the agency, dated 27 October 2006, the CBSA stated that the ‘depictions and descriptions are integral to the development of an intricate, imaginative, and artfully rendered storyline,' and that ‘the portrayal of sex is necessary to a wider artistic and literary purpose,'” Staros said. “That was a big victory for a book this important, and we we're very grateful to the Canada Border Services Agency for their enlightened decision regarding ‘Lost Girls,' as well as to our Canadian attorney Darrel H. Pearson (of Gottlieb & Pearson) for helping us prepare the documents necessary to request a formal review of the work.”

So lucky for me, a comic book store in Vancouver had a copy and my Valentine's Day was filled with stunning illustrations and writings from Gebbie & Moore.


Stephanie said...

wow! I am so proud of how much you've done in this blog already! You're inspiring me to stop writing stupid stuff about Steve-O and get back into some decent topics.

mdfmnst said...

Ah ha! Thanks... going blog-crazy! Keep visiting! I beat feministing to the Hello Kitty Post! :)