Little Sister's Book & Art Emporium, Vancouver's legendary gay and lesbian bookstore, has long fought for freedom of expression, to the point of taking Canada Customs to court, charging that, by regularly seizing materials destined for the store (branding them "obscene"), the federal agency was guilty of harrassment and infringement of free speech.
In December of 2000, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a landmark decision in the case of Little Sister's Book & Art Emporium vs. Canada, stating that the onus of proving that expressive material is obscene lies with Canada Customs.
Little Sister's battle against censorship continues, as they recently filed an appeal against Canada Customs for prohibiting the importation of two adult comic books in the Meatmen series.
It is the belief of the owners and staff of Little Sister's that the comic books at issue have unquestionable artistic merit, and therefore do not fit the definition of obscenity. The comic books are anthologies of works by both prominent and up-and-coming gay artists.
Some claim that comic art is not "artistic" but this is not a belief held by Arsenal Pulp Press. And so, we are pleased to announce the publication of two collections of comic art, by renowned and newer artists, dealing with the issue of censorship, with proceeds being donated to the Little Sister's Defence Fund to assist in their legal challenge to the actions of Canada Customs.
The two volumes of What Right? are graphic interpretations of what it means to live in a society where we presumably enjoy the right to free speech, and what happens when, as often happens, that right is challenged.
The first collection, subtitled Graphic Interpretations Against Censorship, includes comic art that confronts the serious issues around the denial of civil rights and freedom of speech in particular.
The second collection, What's Wrong? subtitled Explicit Graphic Interpretations Against Censorship, includes comic art, often satirical, that epitomizes the kinds of materials that Canada Customs seems intent on censoring, by refusing to allow such materials into the hands of Canadian citizens.
The two books in the What Right? series are fundraising projects for the Little Sister's Defence Fund. Arsenal Pulp Press is donating all proceeds over and above its production costs, and all individuals involved have donated their time, energy, and creative talents, to create two marvelous collections of engaging comic art.
Each book includes an introduction by Mark Macdonald, author and buyer for Little Sister's Book & Art Emporium.