Killing the UK Comics Industry before it can step out of chrysalis into the success of the Japanese model?
Many have become aware of the latest controversy relating to cartoonist freedoms and sales in the last few weeks. Section 49 of The Coroners and Justice Bill which makes “illegal the possession of “prohibited images of children”. The consultation documents citation of a police raid on an individal in possession of powers, and the critical interpretation by individual police offers has grown worries. Telling tales too is the rejection of Obscene Publications Act definition of obscenity in the formative process of this “closing loopholes” legislation.
John Ozimek makes some points at The Register, worth a read.
This throws concerns. grounded, on manga translated and imported into the UK that may contain themes of sexual displays between juveniles. Certainly with mangaka’s work increasingly promoted by mainstream booksellers, if passed it will affect freedom to place orders. As recently as 1980, UK residents in Northern Ireland convicted practicing homosexuality have ended up on Sexual Offenders registers.
On The Thing message board thread campaigner GM Jordan take a more skeptical approach. Jordan writes,
“There was also the question of the use of the word ‘Image’. The Justice department told us when we contacted them about the article that the word ‘Image’ was in reference to still photographs; yet the dictionary definition is completely different. It is the visualisation of human, animal, object form as a statue, painting, photograph, film, cartoon etc”
GM Jordan’s article on how the bill may affect comics is enlightening. Jordan’s research and contrasts present an educationally based analysis. A visual from Tezuka’s Astro Boy presents virtue to me as just another student of comics, but may have a different interpretation by a Daily Mail cultureconsuming police officer. Jordan concludes with a quote from the former head of MI5, Dame Stella Rimington that supports his case. Full Article
Shane Chebsey has created an accompanying petition on The Downing Street Website.
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008
Coroners and Justice Bill Section 49
Kenny Penman (on fine lines, and tilting windmills), and Paul O’Connell (on civil liberties and interpretive context) articulate onThe Comic Book Alliance group over at The Smallzone Ning Forum. O’Connell also links to the Backlash academic statement. Given the huge cross-proliferation between comics and academica, the petition by lecturers and research in cultural, media and social sciences studies this is a must read. Backlash-uk.org’s Statement to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill Committee can be found at this link
The Backlash site appears to have the fullest information resources on this, given academic standards, as well as the faculty statement. As of last night GM Jordan put out this call to the ComicBook Artists Guild on The Ning Boards,
“A researcher for Jenny Willott MP has asked if anybody would be willing to go to Parliament and talk to her about the impact the Coroners Bill and Criminal Justice Act COULD have on the industry. If anyone based in London or around London is interested please email as soon as possible because we need to sort out the meeting. email: comicalliance (at) aol.com”
Opposition via lobby against the measures has been promoted via other known industry figures such as John Reppion and John Freeman The web is filled with masses of information on this.
On a somewhat related note, I recently discovered the work of Educational Activist Leonard Rifas. Off to read this promoted interview with him now.