Legal | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund joined a coalition of booksellers and other organizations in a federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday to challenge an expansion of Massachusetts’ obscenity law to include distribution via the Internet of material “harmful to minors.”
The new law, which went into effect on Monday, is intended to close a loophole that led the state Supreme Court to overturn the conviction of a man accused of sending sexually explicit instant messages to someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl. Following the February ruling, the state Legislature swiftly to add IMs, text messages, email and other electronic communications to the existing obscenity law.
But the coalition, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the Association of American Publishers, argues that the law is too broad, and “bans constitutionally protected speech on the Internet for topics including contraception and pregnancy, sexual health, literature, and art.” Under the statute, violators can be fined $10,000 or sentenced up to five years in prison, or both, which the group asserts will cause “a chilling effect” or online booksellers. [The Associated Press, CBLDF press release]
Passings | Obituaries and tributes continue to appear for writer Harvey Pekar, who passed away on Monday at age 70: The Plain Dealer, Cleveland Jewish News, Tom Spurgeon, Eric Reynolds, Heidi MacDonald, Calvin Reid, Mike Rhode and Michael Ruhlman. [Robot 6]
Publishing | Heidi MacDonald looks at recent moves by comics publishers into digital distribution, and how sales might affect the direct market. “Retailers know that digital is here to stay,” says DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee. “They don’t want to be ignored — they want a way for them to survive and be healthy and grow within this new market. It’s not that we are fleeing from a dying marketplace into the arms of something that saves our industry. There’s already cool stuff — it’s an additive thing.” [Publishers Weekly]
Publishing | Actor/comedian Scott Thompson, a founding member of the Kids in the Hall sketch-comedy group, is collaborating with Frozen Beach Studios on an original graphic novel starring Danny Husk, one of his recurring characters. Danny Husk: The Hollow Planet, based on a screenplay by Thompson, will be released by IDW Publishing in October. [Montreal Gazette]
Publishing | Image Comics will release two new Walking Dead collections to coincide with the October debut of AMC’s television adaptation: The Walking Dead: Book Six, and The Walking Dead: The Covers. [ICv2.com]
Awards | The Oakland, California-based weekly newspaper East Bay Express has named Daniel Clowes as best graphic novelist and Image Comics as best comics imprint in its annual “Best of the East Bay.” [East Bay Express]
Comics | Cyriaque Lamar counts down the five most tear-jerking X-Men deaths. One guess what No. 1 is. [io9.com]
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