LONDON - Goodbye, Batman and Punisher? Britain's new extreme porn laws could even lead to the banning of comic books, opponents said.
Comic book collectors, fans and stores in the UK have voiced discontent regarding two laws: The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, which takes effect in February, and the Coroners and Justice Bill, currently in Parliament.
According to the Telegraph, protesters claim the legislation could make owning mainstream comics illegal in Britain.
The law defines "extreme pornography" as any "extreme image" produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal, which could even apply to pin-up-like comic book splash panels of big-breasted glamazon super-heroines battling evildoers.
The British government defines an "extreme image" as anything "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise obscene." Critics have said what is deemed offensive, disgusting or obscene is much too vague.
"Isn't that how Batman, Punisher, Judge Dredd get anything done? A kick in the balls would constitute this, and a kick in the balls is a well-trodden part of humor," Britain's Comic Shop Voice organization said in a statement to the press.
Comic Shop Voice expressed concern that some Japanese-style "manga" comics, featuring young-looking characters, could also be banned under the new laws.
"Because this is a minefield for the law, it then falls on the police to enforce it," the organization said. "And it is their judgment that could lead to a prosecution."