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]
Publishing | As the accusations of plagiarism against Incarnate creator and reality-TV star Nick Simmons make their way to the print edition of The New York Times and a website at his college, blogger Gottsu-Iiyan returns to his earlier question about a possible double standard involving Frank Miller’s Elektra Lives Again and Yukito Kishiro’s Battle Angel Alita.
“I realize that even 5 years ago the internet didn’t have the reach it does now,” Gottsu-Iiyan writes, “but was 1999 (the date on the post I cited that put up the images) really that long ago, or is it just that uncool to stick up for Frank Miller? Even if you think Elektra Lives Again is not one of Miller’s more famous, or even best work; even if you think it can’t be compared to Bleach because it was a lifetime ago, that doesn’t f*cking matter because the James Cameron movie is in development RIGHT NOW and there will be nothing old or obscure about it. At the very same time as the Bleach community was up in arms and urging fans to write to the publishers to bust Incarnate – again, a comic that isn’t going to make anyone rich — Battle Angel rolls along in movie development without so much as a peep about Frank Miller — ever!”
Meanwhile, CBR News Editor Kiel Phegley has an informative interview with intellectual-property attorney Michael Lovitz about plagiarism, swiping and the legal intricacies of the Incarnate/Bleach situation. [Gottsu-Iiyan, Comic Book Resources]
Publishing | Terri Heard spotlights Kickstarter, the social-networking fundraiser site that’s been used by such cartoonists as Spike Trotmann, James Kochalka and Ted Rall to finance their projects. [PW Comics Week]
Retailing | Ben Davis, owner of Big Ben’s Comix Oasis in Allen Park, Michigan, discusses how his store has weathered a bad economy and a decline in young readers. [Press & Guide]
Retailing | Retailer Christopher Butcher winds down the liveblogging of his monthly Previews order: “SQUEEEEEE. LAST UNICORN COMICS.” [Comics212]
Creators | Cartoonist Howard Cruse discusses the new edition of Stuck Rubber Baby, and how the publishing landscape has changed since the book was originally released in 1995. [PW Comics Week]
Creators | A Polish website chats briefly with Alex Robinson about A Kidnapped Santa Claus, his current project Career Killer, Will Eisner and more. [KZ]
Creators | Ryan Schrodt talks to writer Christopher Yost about Marvel’s animation projects, X-23 and more. [The Weekly Crisis]
Creators | Brian Heater wraps up his four-part interview with cartoonist Jim Rugg. [The Daily Cross Hatch]
Blogosphere | Joe “Jog” McCulloch joins the Comics Comics crew with his “weekly picks” feature. [Comics Comics]