More on Gordon Lee and The Salon
Comic-Con International (which was known as the San Diego Comic Book Convention when I was a kid who desperately wanted to go there) begins tomorrow. Bloggers and message board posters will be documenting all of the exciting fanboy encounters with the writers and artists of Batman and X-Men and Spider-Man; the G4 cable network will be covering the festivities. Basically, Comic-Con is a place where geeks and nerds can, finally, come together and celebrate what they have in common: Bad skin, bad dietary habits, and not getting laid.
(Attention geeks and nerds: Please don't attack me. I'm one of you. Trust me on this-- I've got a huge Justice League of America collection and I once regaled my wife with a detailed explanation as to why Firestorm was the greatest superhero produced during my childhood. I kid out of love. Truly. I actually really wish I could go to San Diego-- and I probably will in the next year or two, just for the experience).
Anyway, while the entire comic book industry is celebrating-- buying cheap comics, getting autographs, and drinking Bud Light out of someone's Boba Fett helmet, I think it might be a good time to remind everyone that Gordon Lee-- the Rome, Georgia retailer who accidentally exposed a nine-year-old to a mature-reader's art comic-- is still awaiting trial; he's got about three weeks to go.
I've written about Lee before; if you want to read what I've had to say about him and his trial (and trials), click the "CBLDF" label that appears below this post. A few people have suggested on other message board's that the problem with liberal Constitution-huggers like me is, we talk about this case but don't present "both sides." There may be some truth to this, but that's only because I genuinely don't understand the other side's argument. It seems obvious to me that the parents of the boy given the comic should have gone down to Lee's store, demanded an apology, returned the book, and let that be the end of it. Instead, they called the police, and now the District Attorney is prosecuting the case and trying to get Lee put in jail for two years. All over a mistake and a drawing of a naked Picasso. It seems absurd to me.
But, to be fair, I've collected a bunch of write-ups on the case from all over the web, so that you can read them and make up your own mind. I report, you decide.
Anyway, first up is the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's timeline of the case. I realize that the CBLDF probably doesn't meet the "fair and balanced" requirement, but it's some interesting reading anyway.
Here's the local coverage, from the Rome News Tribune.
Here we have an account from The Book Standard.
Yet another opinion piece.
Here we have a blogger who find himself disagreeing with the CBLDF and their representation of Gordon Lee. I tried to find more people who felt as he does, but I couldn't find anyone (though I have to admit that I limited my Internet searching to about a half an hour, and there are lots of blogs and message boards I didn't visit). If you know of a blogger or news source that presents a similar point-of-view, please feel free to post a link in the Comments.
And here we have a look at the book under discussion and some comments on the controversy from The New York Times. I know, I know-- they're notoriously liberal, and aren't to be trusted. But keep in mind that they frequently know what they're talking about when discussing literary matters.
So, look-- don't take my word for it. Read up on this case for yourselves; I think most reasonable people will come to the same conclusion I have-- this isn't justice. No children were harmed or threatened-- one retailer made a small mistake, and several powerful people in his community are so afraid of sexuality and so threatened by art that they want to lock him away for it.
Seriously. I wouldn't try to spin you. This is a no-spin zone here.
Anyway, if you're going to San Diego, have fun, and maybe pick up something new to read-- there are lots of really cool independent comics you might really really like. But if you're more of a "mainstream" comics fan, do yourself a favor and pick up as many Batman comics from the 70s as you can find-- trust me, they're crazy fun. And if you're going to drink out of someone else's Boba Fett helmet, make sure to rinse it out first. I don't even want to imagine how hot it gets in one of those things, particularly under the California sun.