Diamond U.K. drops Chaykin's <i>Black Kiss II</i> over content concerns

Less than three weeks after British customs agents temporarily held the first issue of Howard Chaykin's sexually explicit Black Kiss II, Diamond U.K. has decided to stop importing the series due to concerns about its graphic content.

Bleeding Cool reports the distributor notified British retailers that, after reviewing the second issue, it has canceled all orders the title, including the second printing of Issue 1. The first issue will be made returnable (although it seems likely that it just became a very hot commodity).

"Retailers will be aware that the first issue of Howard Chaykin’s Black Kiss II was rather explicit compared to other comics distributed by Diamond UK," the distributor wrote in a notice to retailers. "We at Diamond have now had the opportunity to review the second issue and the explicitness has not diminished at all! In fact there are scenes depicted which may fall foul of UK Customs’ regulations on the importing of indecent and obscene material. Consequently Diamond has taken the decision not to distribute any further issues of Black Kiss II in the UK. Had Diamond UK continued to import this title and encountered problems with Customs, it could have had a knock-on effect on the timely distribution of all titles in the UK. A situation wanted by no one."

Published by Image Comics, the series is the sequel to Chaykin's 1988 erotic thriller, which centered on transsexual prostitute Dagmar Laine, jazz musician Cass Pollack and the search for a reel from the Vatican's pornography collection, all intertwined with vampires and the secret history of Hollywood. The original Black Kiss was controversial in its day, with publisher Vortex Comics releasing the series in sealed plastic. The sequel, billed as a six-part miniseries that "tells the story behind that legendary story," was teased with the log line, "Sex, death, and the movies -- what else really matters?"

In an interview Comic Book Resources before the debut of Black Kiss II, Chaykin addressed some of the reaction to the graphic nature of the original comic. ""I've always felt that the shock expressed was more of the hypocritically dutiful 'I should be appalled by this or my (girl)friend(s) will think I'm a degenerate' variety," he said. "You know, like all that adultery and other inappropriate sexual behavior practiced in all those Bible-belting Red States."

Bleeding Cool notes Image has an exclusive deal with Diamond Comic Distributors, which likely means there will be no other way for the publisher to release Black Kiss II in the United Kingdom.

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