Artists on their way to this weekend’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival encountered unusual circumstances when they tried to cross the Canadian border. Which is to say, the copies of their comics that they were bringing to show and sell at the event were confiscated, seemingly indefinitely. Dylan Williams, representing Sparkplug Comicbooks, was carrying copies of Young Lions, by Blaise Larmee, while Tom Neely was relieved of five copies of Black Eye, an anthology that he had been published in.
The 5 copies of Ryan Standfest’s BLACK EYE anthology I brought with me to TCAF were confiscated at the border for “obscenity.”
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 (the customs guard) said they would just destroy them, or that there was 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… The 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. They went through everything in our car. Opened every suitcase and looked through every book.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund notes that this is part of a “growing trend of customs searches and seizures of comics” that they are following, and has a guide (PDF) available for anyone who might be worried about losing their books while traveling abroad.
(via Digital Spy.)