Last weekend cartoonists crossed the border for TCAF, the Toronto Comics Art Festival, where several were greeted with intrusive customs searches that led to the seizure of at least two comics titles — Black Eye, an anthology, and Young Lions, a graphic novel by Blaise Larmee.
Tom Neely, a contributor to Black Eye was the first to release word of his ordeal through Facebook status messages. Neely explained that copies of the Black Eye anthology were seized, and would either be returned to him or destroyed, pending “further action,” prompting the cartoonist to write:
“I just hope “further action” doesn’t involve being arrested the next time I try to cross the border. They went through everything in our car. Opened every suitcase and looked through every book.”
In the The Comics Journal comments thread where the story broke, Black Eye editor Ryan Standfast noted that copies of Blaise Larmee’s Young Lions were seized from Sparkplug Comic Books publisher Dylan Williams.
Current coverage of this story includes: The Comics Journal, Ryan Standfast, Robot 6, and The Beat.
The CBLDF is investigating these incidents, and will continue to report on developments as they occur.
This incident is part of a recent, growing trend of customs searches and seizures of comics that the CBLDF has been following. The CBLDF has issued an advisory for travelers on crossing borders with comic book materials that is available here as a Word document, and here as a PDF file.