Ryan Standfest: BLACK EYE Anthology Confiscated at Canadian Border

We just received the following e-mail from Ryan Standfest, editor/publisher of Rotland Press + Comic Works:

Mr. Tom Neely reported this morning that while traveling across the border to Canada to attend this year’s TCAF, the five copies of the black humor comics anthology BLACK EYE that he was carrying with him to the festival were confiscated/seized by a customs agent on the grounds that the material in BLACK EYE was “obscene.”

According to Neely:

“… 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… 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.”

More details to come as we learn them.

21 Responses to Ryan Standfest: BLACK EYE Anthology Confiscated at Canadian Border

  1. madinkbeard says:

    Hmm. Have a copy at hand… I would say Onsmith's biggest obscenity is that his comics aren't funny.

  2. carniemagic says:

    Every time you think we're past something like this, we prove we're not.

  3. GrahamSig says:

    I'd put money towards this when it was on Kickstarter. His blog indicates they arrived a month ago, and I'm still without mine.

    Would this have anything to do with it? I'm in Canada so if this is a contributing factor, thanks for making this post about it.

  4. Baka Max says:

    I agree. His stuff is very insisitive towards necrophiliacs.

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  6. madinkbeard says:

    Graham, I'm in the US and just got my copy… 2 days ago. So I wouldn't be too concerned yet.

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  8. smorean says:

    I think your border patrol officers will hand-deliver them. Canadians are super nice.

  9. GrahamSig says:

    Thanks. Ryan sent me an email after seeing my last comment. I'm just too impatient I guess.

  10. RyanStandfest says:

    I just drafted a more complete rundown of the "border incident" on the Rotland Press + Comic Works site:

    It should also be noted that it wasn't only Tom Neely and "BLACK EYE" that had some trouble yesterday with Canadian customs, but Mr. Dylan Williams had his copies of Blaise Larmee's "Young Lions" confiscated due to a "mis-interpretation" of imagery by a customs agent.

  11. vollsticks says:

    Ouch! I don't know if comedy is something that Onsmith consistently tries to achieve although I thought there were some funny moments in that comic in Hotwire #2, "Candy Rod" or "Candy Cane", whatever it's called…also I found his story in Hotwire #3 really affecting and beautiful to look at. I felt he achieved real poignancy in that one, "Dispossession By Tornado". Haven't got my copy of Black Eye yet so I can't comment on his stuff in there…the cover looks fucking gorgeous, though.

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