Multiple things today, if anyone's still out there:
An addendum to my last post on the "torture porn/people should be making decent comics" subject: Greg Burgas performs the not-unexpected trick of saying he doesn't want "to go all 'Won’t someone think of the children?' here" and then tacking the reverse-flip BUT into the routine and complaining that there's no "mature readers" label on Nightwing #146.
Well fine, but that right there shows where someone's attitude is towards the medium and its maturity. Because if you walk into a Barnes and Noble and look at the many books there, in only the most extreme cases is a book ever labeled "mature readers". (In point of fact, I can't think of ever seeing anything like that. Usually a book with explicit visual imagery is shrink-wrapped to prevent curious little fingers from browsing for naughty bits, and I don't know of any text-only paperback that's screened in any way to prevent someone from reading some lurid romance sex scene or sci-fi ultraviolence.)
It's books for children and for "young adults" that are singled out and put in their own ghettos; the mark of Cain goes on those books, not on even the most salacious pulp-style paperbacks. To call for any comic to carry a "mature readers" label is to acknowledge that on a fundamental level that you think the medium as a whole is intended for kids; that you do not consider comics a mature medium at all.
Just so's you know.
IMMATURE YAOI READERS
Can I just say how much I enjoy hearing about this story, that a gay guy was upset by the blatant objectification going on at some yaoi-oriented convention? Because I will say it, anyway. One of the things I like about it is that those defending the con and its activities are using many of the same defenses used against charges of sexism and misogyny brought by some feminist fangirls. The only real difference is that yaoi is pretty straightforward about being by women and for women; mainstream superhero comics are ostensibly for both genders.
I'd be more sympathetic to the idea that a genre that says it should be accessible to either gender should tone back some of its excesses if it weren't for the fact that anyone with a shred of awareness greater than that of a fruit fly should well know that in practice, superhero comics are made mainly by men and for men.
All that aside: ha ha, female fans are just as warped and pervy as male fans when given their own playground.
READERS OF IMMATURITY
It just keeps piling up, doesn't it? Now some guy in Iowa is on the hook for obscenity, related to comics imported from Japan. Already the assumption is that the material that sparked the investigation was of the dread "lolicon" variety, but as pointed out elsewhere, it's been established that laws designed to equate drawn child porn with real child porn are unconstitutional, so all they can do is charge the guy with "obscenity". (Which puts the USA up one over the UK, at least.)
In the comments section of that last link, an interesting point is implied: that what the prosecutors really want to do is bust the guy for possessing drawn kiddy porn, but they can't directly, so they're continuing on with something they think can stick instead.
I'd be willing to believe that theory, having stumbled upon the Adult Swim Message Board and this particular topic, featuring a few thoughtful opinions, as well as a few examples of genetic brain disease rearing its bulbous, hydrocephalic head. I mean, there's one guy intoning darkly about how there's "got to be more to this", which is, I'm inferring, shorthand for "I just KNOW this guy has got real child porn and is probably molesting real children right now based on the fact that he has lolicon manga". Sadly for his deductive reasoning, it's quite correctly pointed out that if there were other more serious charges that could be brought, they'd already be brought.
The other drooling retard likes to go on about how society has a right to excise bad elements from itself, which is a great theory, but is too often a justification for a small but loud minority to impose their will over the true majority. Not to mention that "weeding out the undesireables" is the same kind of rationale that leads to things like, oh I dunno, institutionalized racism.
Now, you may be reading this (or maybe not, with the way WFA's been... should I start linking to Journalista?) and rolling your eyes, thinking "well, there he goes defending child molesters again". But let me suggest to you that whatever you think of lolita manga, you should be very concerned about how this case turns out.
Because, since it's about obscenity, not necessarily child porn, it doesn't have to stop here. For instance, what about yaoi? Remember, you may exist in a tolerant Internet world where two idealized gay guys can happily fornicate on your screen, but do you think it's so beyond the realm of possibility that some hick postal worker from Iowa would react just as negatively to visual sodomy featuring two guys (and let's face it, some of those subjects don't always look particularly ancient, either) as they have to lolita porn? Even if you consider the latter worse than the former, you have to be aware that others see it all as filth, beyond the pale. Let them cross one line, and all you get is that they're that much closer to the next line. And the next line may be "torture porn".
That'd solve the issue, wouldn't it? You wouldn't need to put a "mature readers" label on it, because it wouldn't be allowed to exist.
Wouldn't that just make the medium healthy, mature and respected?
ADDITIONAL: Adding this link to Tom Spurgeon's comment on the matter, to which I want to say, right on, or "motto", like the LJ kids do it.