I just went through the recently released book The Magic Order. Often when it comes to Mark Millar's books, he pushes boundaries. Luckily, I noticed the page with the floating naked dead body. Full-frontal nudity.
Sigh. "Why?" I wondered. It is just one panel out of the whole issue, though it is enough to get a store in trouble. I go through the books by Image for this same reason — to make sure there is no nudity in the book that might just be hanging out with the rest of the new releases.
Am I for censorship? No; we have customers that get Jim Balent's bi-monthly Tarot comic. Jim Balent has been a comic book artist for years. He did work on DC's Catwoman titles for 77 issues straight, which ended in 1993 without so much as a big published "thank you for the run" by DC. Try getting an artist to stay for almost half that amount of issues on today's comics. His Tarot comic I know is for adults. I would like a better warning label, though, on various new titles.
Currently, the small label, which is often on the back of the book by the barcode warning, is a joke. In this, day and age of Grand Theft Auto video games, a lot of people have less of a concern about what kids see. That said, there are still people out there that think all comics are just for kids.
I bagged and boarded all the Magic Order issues and told all my employees to make sure no kids buy it.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund does help people who have run into legal trouble selling something that has been deemed as offensive. Which, make no mistake, I am glad they are there to help out. I would rather not have something accidentally get sold that I had no idea about that could be found offensive to begin with.
I collected Mike Grell's Green Arrow run back in the day. On the cover, it said noticeably, "Suggested for Mature Readers." Easy enough. Flash forward to today and it is almost as if Mature Readers labels are hidden. On the back of the Magic Order comic one better have decent eyesight or they might miss the "rated M/Mature" notice, which is smaller than the "www.imagecomics.com" lettering above it. I understand not wanting to clutter up covers with a lot of words, but it is important that people have some kind of warning up front. Not many people flip over a comic to check out the back cover, other than to see what the price is if they are unable to find it on the front.
Publishers, please be more upfront with warning labels. Help us keep customers happy.