3:42pm PT by Graeme McMillan
Canadian Comic Artist Refused Entry to the U.S. for Convention
A Canadian comic book artist, whose work has been published by Archie Comics, IDW Publishing and Marvel, was denied accessed to the United States to attend this weekend's C2E2 comic convention in Chicago, with authorities citing concern over the possibility of her earning money while in the U.S.
Gisele Lagace, who has worked on Archie Meets the Ramones and Betty Boop and created covers for Josie and the Pussycats, Jem and the Holograms and The Unbelievable Gwenpool, shared her experience on Facebook Thursday afternoon.
"Welp, no C2E2 for me. Was refused entry at the border," wrote Lagace. Authorities, she continued, "kept pressing about the comics I had and the sketches, and well, I had to be honest and said that I did get paid for commissions but before hand, but since they weren't complete, it was considered work in the U.S. Comics wise, I had maybe $700 in value if I had sold everything. Honestly, it's not a lot."
The post continued to explain that not only was her car searched, but she was also body searched and fingerprinted. "It was an awful experience," wrote Lagace. "Now that I've been refused entry in the U.S. for this, it's on file. Don't expect to see me at a U.S. con until I can figure out a way to get in and [be] absolutely certain this won't happen [again]."
Fans and fellow comic book professionals have responded with sympathy and support for Lagace's situation. One such creator, Australian writer Tom Taylor (Marvel's All-New Wolverine, DC's Injustice 2, Netflix's The Deep), commented on Twitter, "I know a lot of people who have been canceling their travel to the U.S."; the writer himself pulled out of all U.S. convention appearances earlier this year because the country "doesn't feel like a safe or welcoming travel destination at this moment."
Following Lagace's story, Marvel writer Charles Soule, who also works as an immigration attorney, posted the following advice on Twitter to other international creators intending to enter the U.S. for work-related reasons:
Foreign comics creators coming to the US for shows: consult an immigration attorney. Don't rely on the Internet, or even other pros.— Charles Soule (@CharlesSoule) April 21, 2017
Everyone is well-intentioned, but the immigration landscape is changing daily. Things that were cool last year get you turned around now.— Charles Soule (@CharlesSoule) April 21, 2017
Don't be worried about coming to the US - it's still wonderful here - but everything is a bit heightened. You should be too. That's all.— Charles Soule (@CharlesSoule) April 21, 2017