One of the times in my life where I thought I’d be locked up for distributing ‘obscenity’ happened in the year of 1990 when I was still working for Neptune Comic Distributors and we could a shipment of comics, including the glorious Squeak the Mouse.
Comics shipped from the US would normally land at Heathrow, so over the years we built up a relationship with customs there, but this time we had to pick the shipment up from Gatwick where the customs lads were akin to the fucking Stasi! So imagine a young version of me, and another member of staff standing there watching customs decide to go through every single box and imagine my face when I spot Squeak the Mouse and think ‘oh fuck, that’s me fucking fucked’.
Just to explain, at this time the UK was suffering a wave of overt morality led by Thatcher who was trying to hide the disaster of her final days and the Poll Tax, a fiercly unpopular policy which helped her exit from power. Comics were just one thing being targeted by this new ‘moral majority’ with Howard Chaykin’s Black Kiss, and Lord Horror being the two main targets for these two-faced moralists. This meant that we dreaded Gatwick with its scary customs officials who didn’t look the other way, or just couldn’t be bothered with the paperwork for nicking three copies of some obscure underground.
Just to explain why this may well be an issue here’s Cartoonist Kayfabe showing you Squeak in all its glory…
The gore wouldn’t be an issue that much, but the slightest sign of an erect penis, even a cartoon cat’s penis, would send customs insane, and seeing one go into a woman’s vagina, even a cartoon cat’s vagina would send them reaching for the handcuffs. By some small miracle we appeared to have the work experience officer or the blind one, or both as he picked up the obviously gory cover, flipped through obviously seeing enough erect cartoon cat cocks than one would expect to see in a lifetime shrug and put it back in the box. I made sure that box was firmly stuffed into the van and as we drove back to Leicester (where we were based) it felt like we’d stolen the crown jewels, or in this case a cartoon cat’s testicles.
Stupidily I sold my copies some time ago thanks mainly to a girlfriend reading them one day when I was at work and decided I was a bit more of a sicker freak than she’d expected, but that close call with customs nearly denied me a read of what is a fantastic bit of comics. Yes, it was the template for Itchy and Scratchy but don’t say it too loud, especially now The Mouse owns those characters but as a piece of comics it is one of those works fans of the medium should own, preferably wrapped in a brown paper bag and hidden underneath the matress.
As a wee bonus treat here’s an animated version of part of the first volume. Enjoy.