After pleading guilty to the charges last year, Christopher Handley has been sentenced to six months in prison for possessing manga drawings of “children being sexually abused,” Anime News Network has reported.
Handley was charged after the U.S. Post Office seized the following books, back in 2006:
Mikansei Seifuku Shōjo (Unfinished School Girl) by Yuki Tamachi (LE Comics)
I [Heart] Doll by Makafusigi (Seraphim Comics)
Kemono for ESSENTIAL 3 (THE ANIMAL SEX ANTHOLOGY Vol.3) by Masato Tsukimori et al (Izumi Comics)
Otonari Kazoku (Neighboring House Family) by Nekogen (MD Comics)
Eromon by Makafusigi (Seraphim Comics)
Kono Man_ ga Sugoi! (This Man_ is Awesome!) by Makafusigi (Seraphim Comics)
Hina Meikyū (Doll Labyrinth) by Makafusigi (Seraphim Comics)
These books all have drawings of minors engaging in sexual activity, including with adults and animals. According to ANN’s thorough coverage of the legal documentation, Handley’s interest in manga eventually “evolved” in the mid-’90s to ”fascination for images of young girls engaged in sexual activity.”
Handley’s trial had the backing for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which did back out following Handley pleading guilty to the charges. Handley said that if he had known these were against the law he would never have ordered them.
That said, the prosecution’s main argument does set my Spider-sense tingling: ”The works at issue do not even have arguable scientific, literary, artistic, or political value, such as Vladimir Nabokov’s famed novel, Lolita, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, or even Alan Moore’s recent, but controversial, graphic novel, Lost Girls. By the defendant’s own statements, the works for which he was convicted of receiving and possessing are clearly obscene.”
At that point, isn’t it all or nothing? Let’s even step aside the obvious argument of whether a drawing of an illegal act is the same as partaking the real thing — at what point do we start labeling the art as “valuable” or not? When do we start discussing motive for consumption? Will viewers have to own up to seeing Transformers 2 because of the sheer art and beauty of an eye-bleeding transformation, or because they simply find Megan Fox to be extremely attractive? Let’s discuss.