~ Culufinwen (aka Mad Ethel Flint)
Er -- Black Tom Flint, meself. Arr.
This isn't really a question but a comment really. I read with some interest your comment about the CBLDF case for Jesus Castillo and wasn't to surprised to see that it was in Texas (my home state) but I assumed it was in one of our smaller, more out of the way, rural communities. Needless to say I was shocked, if not totally surprised, to find this case took place in Dallas. I know that comic book store! When I was a more avid reader, I spent more than a couple of days shuffling through their boxes looking for some missing piece of my collection. They have long been one of the most respected stores in the area. This kind of decision coming from a city that has one of the highest concentrations of "gentleman's clubs" in the USA is kind of surprising but again not totally out of character for Dallas. I wish I could say that the prosecuting DA has lost my vote in the upcoming election but I live in a suburb and so don't vote in that district but believe you me everyone I know in Dallas will here about this during the upcoming election year. I've read your blog for some time now and so was aware of the existence of the CBLDF, but this happening in my own backyard, a city I dearly love with all its faults is just a bit more than I can bear so I will be donating to the CBLDF at least, and will find ways that I can more actively participate to the cause.
On another note. When the heck are you coming to Dallas or the North Texas area? I know I'm not the only Neil fan down here and we deserve a chance to redeem ourselves and show you what a wonderful place this is and can be.
A long time fan,
Larry L. Johnson, Jr.
One of the points raised in the trial, I believe, was that there are more eye-watering hardcore porn outlets in Dallas than anywhere else in Texas. But then, comics are for kids.
The comic in question (er, Legend of the Overfiend #2, I think) had been special-ordered by a customer who hadn't picked it up, and it had somehow got onto the shelves in the adult section. The undercover cop went into the adult section and went hunting...
As you correctly observe, it's not the bad shops, or the rural places that have the most to fear. The scary bit is that it can happen to good shops, and it can happen anywhere.
But there's nothing to stop you, as a local, writing to your local paper and protesting things like this, or writing to the DA and police force. Or suggesting that your friends in the area find out where your own local officals stand on first amendment issues, and voting accordingly.
And if you're involved in comics -- as a creator (on the web or on paper), a retailer or a publisher, at the first sign of something going wrong, call the CBLDF. Call fast: 1 800-99-CBLDF. Write down the phone number. Keep it near the phone. Please don't wait until you're in jail, or after you've given a deposition, or once you've decided that representing yourself might not have been such a great idea (all things that have happened, and that have made it much harder to defend people).
And if things go a little weird, call us. There was a retailer in Jacksonville a few years back, who got a visit from a police captain who told him that unless he removed several books from his shelves she would close him down. (One of them was DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING, because of the safe sex bit in the back. I forget the other two.) He immediately contacted the CBLDF, and our attorney, Burton Joseph, fired off a letter to the police department, explaining the concept of the First Amendment to them, and that it applied to comics. And nothing more was ever heard from them -- because they realised this wouldn't be a pushover.
And check out cbldf.org. There's an interview with Jesus here at http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/3267.html, and with Charles Brownstein from the CBLDF.