One Pittsburgh retailer didn’t find the poster for Jim Rugg’s upcoming art show, This #*?! Isn’t Very Funny, very funny.
The poster, which advertises a show that kicks off March 29 at Pittsburgh’s ToonSeum, features a crotch-level shot of a superhero who is wearing his underwear on the outside of his costume. According to the ToonSeum Facebook page, Pittsburgh comic book store Eide’s Entertainment “refuses to put up poster for comic artist Jim Rugg’s upcoming show, unless it is censored.” In the comments thread that follows, ToonSeum added, “So we did ask that they place it downstairs, respectful that they may not want to put it in the window. The objection was that it features a male crotch in underwear.”
I’m not sure if the poster ToonSeum asked Eide’s to hang was the black-and-white version, pictured to the right, or the color version, which you can see in my original post about the art show. I’m guessing it is the black-and-white one, where it might be difficult to tell that the superhero is wearing a costume under the underwear and isn’t just walking around in his skivvies.
I reached out to Jim Rugg to see what he thought, and he provided me with this statement:
“I like the store that refused to hang up my poster so I don’t want this to sound negative. I think it is up to a retailer to decide whether they want to promote an event or hang up a poster. I contacted several stores, and made it clear that I would understand if they did not want to put up my poster in their store. I expected some resistance from some stores. I was surprised that this store objected. One of the things I like about their store is that they carry a wide range of material – art books, European comics (I’ve been buying a lot of old Catalan Communications graphic novels from them over the last year and last time I was there, they had a copy of the Compleat Sally Forth, which I had spent a long time looking for – picked up a copy at Heroes last year so anyone looking for a copy, these guys have one).
“They are an old school comic book shop, and I have a soft spot for old school comic book shops. When I started reading comics, comics felt a little dangerous based on the reactions I’d see among adults, and this store maintains that atmosphere. They are also a music and movie store and they display a ton of posters and other content that seems potentially more controversial than this poster (my favorite are Double Impact action figures). I’m personally disappointed they chose not to help promote the show. I’m surprised they would show the poster if it were censored because it doesn’t seem provocative to me. I chose this image because I thought it was an obvious nod to the history of comics, particularly the once dominant superhero genre, without being offensive. But I don’t want this to be an indictment against the store. I like their store. I’ve bought a ton of comics from them over the years, and I intend to continue to support them. The last thing I want to do is suggest a retailer is wrong. Any retailer than can maintain a store in today’s economy deserves a lot of credit. And they certainly know their customer base a lot better than I do.”