Got a call this morning from a friend who owns a comic book store. This friend's a swell...well, let's just say a swell person. So, anyway, this person calls and says that yesterday afternoon, a 61-year-old man with white hair walked into said comic book store and wanted to purchase one thing: the graphic novel Lost Girls, which was released yesterday by Top Shelf Comix. Actually, you could call it a "pornographic novel"; many others have, including its creator, Alan Moore, who's best known to fanboys as author of Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell. In the three-volume set, The Wizard of Oz's Dorothy, Peter Pan's Wendy and Alice (as in, Alice in Wonderland) get together to discuss their myriad messy sexual encounters; writes Alice, for instance, "I lanced my tongue in Mrs. Potter's anus, up and fast between the tropic lips into her beast-peach hole." Man, how'd I miss that in fifth grade?
Anyway, my friend had never seen this guy before, which is kinda off, since most comic shop customers are regulars. Or irregulars, whatever. Anyway.
So, the employees of this retailer begged my friend not to sell this guy Lost Girls. They reminded their boss of what happened seven years ago to Jesus Castillo, who was a clerk at Keith's Comics when he sold a so-called "adult comic book" to an undercover police officer, was brought up on obscenity charges and eventually convicted by a Dallas jury. My friend knows all about Castillo. Sold the 61-year-old guy Lost Girls anyway.
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"He was old enough to buy it and had the money," says my friend. "What else I am supposed to do?" And it's not like Barnes & Noble and Borders aren't carrying the thing. Just not locally. But still.
Well, a day later, my friend started worrying. After all, Castillo sold his title to an adult too--to a white-haired cop in his mid-50s. (Hey, waitaminute...) And it didn't help that just yesterday, there was a story in The Dallas Morning News alerting cops to "a sexually explicit graphic novel about three beloved children's characters" going on sale that very day. Jeez, you'd think Dallas' Only Daily would do the comic store owner a solid: Since the paper started carrying classic Spider-Man comic books in its Sunday editions two weeks ago, every comics retailer in town has begun carrying the News. And this is how it repays 'em: Turns out, says a DPD spokesperson, the department didn't know anything about Lost Girls till someone in vice saw the story in the paper.
"We pulled up the article from the News, and they will try to determine whether it's indeed a violation of the law," says Senior Corporal Jamie Matthews. And how would they do that? "They would have to get a hold of the book to see if it's obscene."
Well, my friend is in luck: Every retailer, whether it's a comic shop or plain ol' bookstore, that I called today is sold out of Lost Girls. And Top Shelf say it's sold out of its second pressing of 10,000 more copies, which won't even be available till October. The thing's gonna be as hard to find as a cheerleader in, well, a comic book store. Cops ain't gonna have much luck getting their hands on one. Hell, I'm a big ol' comic dork and I don't even have a copy. Whew. Schutze said he'd loan me his. --Robert Wilonsky