Citing that material contained therein constituted “clearly piratical copies” of registered and recorded copyrights, a shipment of comics bound for Top Shelf has been seized by US Customs in Charleston, SC. The books in question are copies of the Stripburger anthology containing the stories “Richie Bush” by Peter Kuper, and “Moj Stub” (“My Pole”) by Bojan Redzic. Top Shelf has asked the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to look in to the matter, and as a result, the CBLDF has retained counsel to challenge the seizures.

According to the CBLDF: “Richie Bush,” appearing in Stripburger (Vol. 12) #37, is a four-page parody of Richie Rich that also satirizes the Bush Administration by superimposing the personalities of the President’s cabinet on the characters from the comic. “My Pole,” appearing in Stripburger (Vol.3) # 4-5, which was published in 1994, is an eight-page ecology parable in Serbian that makes visual homage to Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and Woodstock in three panels. Customs seized five copies of the issue with the Peanuts reference and fourteen copies of the issue containing “Richie Bush.” The stories were both published in the middle of their respective issues and no graphics from either story appeared on the covers.

Story. Peter Kuper’s a friend of mine; many of you will remember his “Richie Bush” ad, which graced this very page until not too long ago. He’s doing what a lot of us do from time to time — momentarily appropriating known characters for the purpose of political satire. Sure, you can’t do it every week, you can’t make a career out of using those characters, or you’re on touchy legal ground — but doing as a one-off is pretty clearly falls under acceptable standards for parody.

My wife and I were watching the local news once, several years ago, and a woman who was being interviewed about her troubles, whatever they may have been, looked into the camera and said, “It’s like being nibbled to death by duck-billed creatures.”

We looked at each other and simultaneously repeated: “Duck-billed creatures?”

So that’s become the catchphrase around chez Tomorrow, and it’s how I feel, every time some new idiocy like this comes down the pike these days: we’re being nibbled to death by duck-billed creatures.