Breaking: Canada drops charges in manga case

As manga readers are well aware, Canadian customs views all comics, and especially manga, with great suspicion. Two years ago, Ryan Matheson was detained at the Ottawa airport and ultimately arrested and charged with criminal possession of child pornography because of a manga image on his computer. Today, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund announced that the Crown has dropped all criminal charges in the case. Check out my article at CBR for all the details, and I’ll be back tomorrow with the regular roundup.

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  1. Wow that’s just a terrible ordeal to go through and on his first trip out of the country too sheesh. It’s terrible that he’s in debt now for all the legal fees but I’m glad he got off with no mark on his record or having to register as a sex offender.

  2. “As manga readers are well aware, Canadian customs views all comics, and especially manga, with great suspicion. ”

    The object viewed with suspicion was a computer, not a paper book with a cover. Most likely the border official didn’t know there were comics files on the computer until *after* he or she chose to examine the computer’s contents. Think about it: how many people (whether they’re border officials or not) automatically think “comics” when they see a computer?

    To look at this situation and not be reminded of anything else that isn’t already about comics is to completely miss the point. has some great points on the bigger picture (the bold text I bolded myself for emphasis):

    “…And here you reveal the practical nature of the matter, in contrast to the academics on which I was focusing originally. Yes, it’s not his personal place to say Canada is wrong. That would fall to negotiations between our respective state departments. Interestingly, this is exactly the result Canada wanted from the new checkpoint policy (which is to say, to illustrate how the US checkpoint policy makes for more *embarrassing incidents*). So, really, the situation is bigger than poor Brandon X or the CBLDF, and I’d hate to see him made an example just to get the US to chill out a bit. Of course, the US *really does need* to chill out a bit.

    “Everyone is still blinking over the fact that this is happening between the US and Canada. And I believe *that is the whole point*

    “…I’m sure getting caught up in *what was really an international tit-for-tat* did much to ruin his week.

    “My hope is, of course, that the US DHS gets the message and realizes international travel is really not the place to be adding media piracy searches to our extended list of international travel woes…”