Will Anti-Porn Law Kill Comics In The UK?

Is extreme government censorship about to rob British comic book fans of their monthly fix of ultra-violence? That's what some paranoid fans are expecting, thanks to a new (and vague) anti-pornography law in the UK.

The new law - given the extremely vague name "The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act" - makes possessing any "extreme image" produced "solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal" illegal, and some British comic fans are so nervous that we're wondering whether they're reading different issues of Batman than we are. A statement from the fansite Comic Shop Voice reads:

Do you own any of the following:
Wanted (Top Cow)
Batman: The Killing Joke (DC)
Watchmen (DC)
Punisher (Marvel)
Lost Girls (Top Shelf Productions)
Manga (pick a title)
Cerebus (Aardvark Vanaheim)
(The list continues)

Congratulations you are a comic book fan and the government would like to arrest you, fine you, confiscate your comic collection and ask you to sign the sex offenders' list.

The specific subsections of the law that worry the site are mentions of:

· an act which threatens a person's life (Hold on! Isn't that how Batman, Punisher, Judge Dredd get anything done?)

· an act which results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person's anus, breasts or genitals. (A kick in the balls or arse would constitute this, and a kick in the balls is a well trodden part of humour)

Of course, I still don't think anyone would necessarily mistake The Punisher with something designed "solely for the act of sexual arousal," but admittedly and unfortunately, comics have a history of being mistaken for pornography in the eyes of the law. We'd like to think that the British police have more important things to do than crack down on comics, but the truth is that the law doesn't have any exception for media outside of cinema, leaving the medium unjustly threatened. Maybe the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund should look into opening a British branch, just in case...

Comic Shop Voice (Via Fleshbot)