After a long and exciting trip down to Wizard World Philadelphia this past weekend, it was time for me to fly back to Minnesota for my second local show of the month at MSP Comic Con in Falcon Heights. So I hopped a plane on Sunday to fly home for Mother’s Day and arrived later that morning. Everything seemed to have gone off without a hitch as I landed in Minneapolis… Well, almost everything.
I opened up my luggage at the baggage claim carrousel to grab the souvenir Star Wars Lightsaber that I had picked up for my son at the convention, and was greeted with several opened packages of my book, The Bible 2. What struck me as peculiar right off the bat about the whole situation was that none of my other titles had been opened. Neither Dead Reckoning, nor Sioux Falls appeared to have been disturbed in the slightest. Only The Bible 2 (and seven books of Abe the Aborted Fetus graphic novels unlucky enough to have been in the same packaging together) were opened and strewn about in my luggage as if Miley Cyrus “came in with a wrecking ball.”
So I went and talked to the Minneapolis TSA supervisor to express my concerns over how the contents in my bag were handled, I can safely say the amount of fucks given by him, was… if I were to round up and carry the one… Would still be zero.
The TSA supervisor said, and I quote “It isn’t our responsibility to take care of your materials in your bag. If you want to have them treated with respect, maybe you should put a note in your luggage.” After a few minutes of that, he then sent me on my way telling me I’ll need to file a report with TSA.Gov to recoup any damage and losses.
So when I got home, I opened up my luggage and started to tally up the amount of damage that my books had undergone from what I originally believed to be mishandling, and it was then when I realized the extent of damage. These books weren’t mishandled, they were deliberately destroyed.
I had one full graphic novel of the Bible 2: Volume 1: Hail to the King of the Jews, Baby! completely ripped apart, pages strewn across the bottom of the luggage while the cover itself was also removed. The first issue of volume #2 of The Bible 2: Double-Crossed was also ripped right down the center in half. In addition to those two completely destroyed issues, the Face Full of Peter Edition was also severely damaged as if the agent attempted to crush the comic up into a ball. All of which seemed to have been targeted due to either religious prejudice.
In total, over thirty-seven copies of the Bible 2 were severely damaged and are irreparable. The spine is completely smashed, pages are ripped and crushed, and even removed from the books, which are no longer able to be sold and resulting in a total loss of $895.
So this past week, I’ve spent several hours on the phone filing police reports, filing damage claims with the TSA, sitting on the phone with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, trying to weigh my options. I’ve even contacted the Department of Homeland Security, where they are looking into this on an internal level, and potentially seeing whether this is qualifies as a hate crime, as I was notified that I was actually having my first amendment rights violated by a Federal Agency.
So as of now, this situation is currently out of my hands up until I either hear back from the TSA on my claim with their findings, or whether they choose to ignore me for six months and force litigation due to Federal Tort Claims Act. Either way, it looks like I’ll be playing the waiting game. Until then, I’ll keep you guys posted on the latest developments.