Mike Diana interview

You know what they say: one man’s obscenity is another man’s art. In the case of cartoonist Mike Diana, it’s both. If you’ve never heard of him, than a new documentary is hoping to change that.

In director Frank Henenlotter‘s Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana, Diana’s historic 1994 trial is given as much attention as the history of comic book censorship. Mike Diana is the first artist in America to have been convicted on obscenity charges. His underground comics, depicting comically gargantuan penises, beastiality, and child rape, are provocative to say the least. But they were never meant for wide distribution. Diana makes it clear that his comics were a reaction against his conservative suburban town of Largo, Florida. But when an undercover cop bought a copy of his zine, shit hit the fan. He was sentenced to three years of supervised probation, a $3,000 fine, and was forbidden from drawing comics entirely, with the threat of random police searches hanging over him.

The court case described in the documentary is almost ludicrous when viewed now, in a post-internet era in which hourly encounters with hate speech have supplanted any fear of prurient artwork. I mean, can you imagine the filmmakers of Superbad going to trial for their hilarious and skillful dick drawings in the credit sequence?

I sat down with Diana and Henenlotter at the Fantasia Film Festival yesterday to talk about their documentary. Read our Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana interview below. Read More »