Finding The Lost Girls

With just two months until The Lost Girls (Top Shelf) by Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie debuts, the Internet is already "breaking in half" as Bendis would say. Moore himself calls it pornography and lines are being drawn. Some retailers are refusing to carry it simply because it contains pornographic images. Other retailers are being forced into defensive tactics and choosing not to carry it, not on moral grounds, but to protect their small business endeavors because of aggressive laws in their communities.

Top Shelf itself appears to be gearing up for a fight. They're contstantly in the media cycle and are offering a signed & numbered limited edition version direct to consumers with a substantially higher price tag. They claim it's an effort to fund this expensive publishing project that has taken 16 years to come to fruition. I believe that. But, I wonder if putting some bankroll together for a possible legal team or substantial donation to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (Top Shelf Publisher Chris Staros was recenly appointed to the CBLDF) hadn't crossed their mind also. I hope that the chill of everyone waiting around for the impending danger of a lawsuit turns into a non-event like Y2K. If it's not dismissed as a moot point and a lawsuit does ensue, hell I hope they take it all the way to the Supreme Court and would make yet another donation to the CBLDF myself.

Store owners being arrested for selling adult books labeled as adult books from their adults only sections of their stores to adults in their store is fucking ridiculous. It's really common sense, if you don't like it, then don't look at it and certainly don't buy it. People need to remember that in a society that prides itself on Freedom of the Press, creators, publishers, and retail distributors have a right, an obligation even, to be able to put any work they choose out into the collective pop culture market without fear of persecution. So long as they don't seek to subjugate other works or systems of belief (Religious Right, I'm talking to you) or advocate their work as the only, or right, choice. Critics of this project would do well to remember that.

Sadly, my local shop decided not to carry this title. I was disappointed by what is otherwise a first rate retail establishment. Why you ask? Not because of moral grounds. Not because of fear of prosecution (this is the Liberal Left Coast, California, after all!). The owner was upset that Top Shelf decided to carry the signed and numbered edition as an exclusive and didn't make it available to stores. I can certainly understand that position. I don't agree with it, since stores can still carry the $75 regular version anyway and make a tidy profit, all while supporting the right this project has to be in the marketplace free of bullshit hassles, but I guess store owners have a right to vote with their wallets here too. And you have to respect their right to choose, even if you don't agree with their choice.

So if anyone wants to vote and support Top Shelf in this endeavor, I would suggest buying or pre-ordering either edition directly from them. That's what I did: http://topshelfcomix.com

Top Shelf also has tons of interviews with the creators and you can learn more about the content and controversy surrounding what promises to be a fun read.


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