By Jerome Taylor writing in The Independent
Monday, 23 March 2009
A coalition of graphic artists, publishers and MPs have condemned Government plans to introduce a new set of laws policing cartoons of children, arguing that the current broad wording of the legislation could lead to the banning of hundreds of mainstream comic books.
This week Parliament will discuss a new Bill which will make it a criminal offence to possess cartoons depicting certain forms of child abuse. If the Coroners and Justice Bill remains unaltered it will make it illegal to own any picture of children participating in sexual activities, or present whilst sexual activity took place.
The Ministry of Justice claims that the Bill is needed to clamp down on the growing quantity of hardcore paedophilic cartoon porn available on the internet, particularly from Japan. But critics of the legislation say the current definitions are so sweeping that it risks stifling mainstream artistic expression as well as turning thousands of law abiding comic book fans into potential sex offenders.
The Lost Girls was published in the UK in January to largely favourable reviews and is an erotic graphic novel that imagines the teenage sexual awakenings of three famous fictional characters. In the book Alice from “Alice in Wonderland”, Dorothy Gale from the “Wizard of Oz” and Wendy Darling from Peter Pan meet as women in their 30s and discover that they all share equally high sex drives. Certain pages in the novels could fall foul of the new law because it currently defines a child as under 18-years of age. This is problematic because many of the women's sexual experiences in The Lost Girls occur in their late teens when they are above the age of consent but still under 18-years-old.