Canadian customs agents seized copies of Black Eye 1: Graphic Transmissions to Cause Ocular Hypertension, a Kickstarter-funded “Comics Anthology of Dark Humor” on May 6th as artist Tom Neely was attempting to transport five copies to the Toronto Comics Arts Festival. Agents confiscated the books for “obscenity,” according to a post on the publisher’s blog.
The post quoted Neely on the process: “They went through everything in our car. Opened every suitcase and looked through every book.”
The seizure is part of a growing number of incidents on the U.S.-Canada border, where enforcement activities against comics appear to be increasing. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund noted some examples in its CBLDF Advisory: Legal Hazards of Crossing International Borders with Comic Book Art. One incident involved a person en route to an anime/manga convention who was handcuffed, held briefly on charges of child pornography, and his materials seized.
The CBLDF Advisory reviews the legal issues surrounding crossing a border with comics, and offers guidance on how to reduce the potential for problems.