Given the recent hoohah over the NLB’s withdrawl and planned pulping of several books, seemingly due to public pressue in the form of complaints from the “We Are Against Pinkdot in Singapore” Facebook group, I’d wondered if there were similar pressures being brought to bear against other book sources, namely commercial bookstores.
In recent times, one comic that did raise LGBT issues was Archie: The Married Life. That series features a gay character in Riverdale named Kevin Keller, whose marriage in issue #16 of the single issues was objected to by conservative Christian group called One Million Moms. Their campaign to have that issue boycotted did poorly, as the Guardian recounts.
The single issues of The Married Life have been collected in trades, with single issue #16 appearing in Volume 3 of the trade editions.
I looked to see if it might be available on Kinokuniya’s Book Catalog, and was somewhat baffled to find that they carried Vols 1, 2, 4 and 5 but not 3. An inquiry sent to Kinokuniya yielded this response:
“We regret that “Archie the Married Life 3″ is deemed to breach the Content Guidelines for Imported Publications, and removed from sale by notice of MDA. We are not able to sell this title.“
At this point it is unknown whether this ban on sales was due to outside pressues (as with the NLB) or if it was a unilateral decision by the MDA – currently waiting for a reply from them about the mechanisms and processes involved behind restrictions on books, especially ones that do not appear to pose a threat to political stability (compared with, say, a racially charge tract).
Beyond that – what other titles might also have faced sales bans without any wider pubic awareness? How does the MDA discover them and make decisons about them?
Lots of known unknowns, for the moment, as Rumsfeld might have said :p