Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Gauntlet

I was reminded today, and I'll tell you at a later time how that came about, of censorship and right-wing hypocrisy and how fragile is our freedom to express ourselves artistically in a country where religious nuts are allowed to run wild and impose their screwed up version of morality on the rest of us, and it got me thinking about another time, long ago, when I ran into almost the exact same scenario.

My comic book partner (hell, we went to high school together) Baron Mrkva and I were finishing up work on our first comic book, Mayhem #1 and were in search of a printer. We had little real knowledge of what we were attempting and almost zero contacts with anyone in the business, so we trusted in each other and few others, to maneuver our way through the gauntlet, where we started out as high school buddies who knew nothing about publishing comic books and where at the end we had a comic book published. It was a fairly daunting gauntlet, but one we were jazzed about traversing.

This was before the Internet or on-line forums; there was really no place to go for information except to those who had already made it through the gauntlet, and like I said, we did not know any of those people. As it came closer to the time of publication, I began scouring the indica of existing underground comic books for clues as to where they were printed and found information in one that pointed to a printed in Riverside California, not more than 20 miles from my home in San Bernardino. We called the printer up, told him what we were doing and asked if we could show them some of the artwork. We were concerned about the number of half-tones the book would require and that special care would be needed with the book in that some pages were pre-toned using zip-a-tone sheets and some were not, being done in wash and some had a little of both.

We made an appointment and trudged down to the printer with our originals where we discussed prices and volume and timing. All seemed to be going well till we began showing him the artwork. He had a problem with my artwork. "There are naked people in here."

"Yes, yes there are."

"Well we don't print pornography."

"Good for you, this is a comic book with a few naked people in it, not pornography."

"No, I won't print pornography. It's a sin."

"The last comic you printed was 'Tits and Clits #2'!"

"No, we never printed that book."

"It's where I got your name you asshole!"

The guy suggested I might want to change my artwork to conform to his idea of morality. Fat chance that was going to happen, then or now.

So, but for a tit-shot or two, one flopping soft penis and a not actually shown blow job, all far tamer than almost anything in Tits and Clits, we would have had a printer.

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