BLACK EYE anthology confiscated by Canadian customs

May 9th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

In one of the cooler things ever to happen to a book I’ve been involved in (though alas, neither on account of my translation or the author’s original), editor and publisher Ryan Standfest reports that while artist and contributor Tom Neely was traveling across the border to Canada to attend this year’s Toronto Comics Arts Festival, the five copies of BLACK EYE that he was carrying with him were confiscated by a customs agent on the grounds that the material in BLACK EYE was “obscene.” According to Tom:

“… they took ’em. I tried to get them to just ship them back to me at home, but they said they were required to send it to Ottawa for review… if they found the material to be “obscene” they would take “further action.” I asked what “further action” meant and he said they would just destroy them. Or there is a chance they might ship them back to me.”
“It was the page of Onsmith’s gags that they first saw… I tried to tell them that it was “parody” and “humor” and the rest of the book had essays on the history of dark humor… they customs guy was really cool and understanding, but he said he just couldn’t let them through. I just hope “further action” doesn’t involve being arrested the next time I try to cross the border…”

Editor Standfest adds:

“An interesting development for BLACK EYE, especially considering the nature of this publication not being so different than a lot of the material in other publications out there right now. Perhaps this customs agent was unusually sensitive.
If any of you are attending TCAF, please spread the word about this. I am wondering myself, what action, if any, I could take. Ironically, the book itself originated in Canada– was printed there and shipped to Detroit!”

The case, though far less severe, reminds of the fate of SFF writer Peter Watts at the hands of Americans, while crossing the other way.

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