Reporter David Axe and artist Tim Hamilton send word that a payment for their comic, "Army Of God," which I edited this year for Cartoon Movement, has been flagged by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The graphic novel is being published next year by PublicAffairs and Hamilton says his book advance has been seized by the government. You see, the title of the book is the name of a terrorist organization.
"Hamilton's money was seized early in December, 2012 when his agent attempted to wire the advance payment for the extra chapters that the artist illustrated for the graphic collection," a press release sent out by the Axe and Hamilton states. Hamilton's agent (who, full disclosure, is also my agent) called the bank and found the Federal Reserve wire fraud unit was holding it under suspicion of laundering money for terrorism. That could mean Joseph Kony's cult-like militia the book is titled after, or, quite possibly, the fanatical anti-abortion group in America who has bombed abortion clinics. "The Federal banking authority, who monitor every wire: foreign and domestic, apparently seized the funds due to the title of the book," they say. As of now the money has not been released, despite attempts made by Hamilton and his agent, who are currently working with lawyers to figure it out.
OFAC hasn't responded to my request for comment yet, but their answering machine urged me to visit the U.S. Treasury's website. Comics wouldn't be a great way to fund terrorism. They don't pay very well. But now we know no one fighting terrorism knows how to use Google, which sure makes me feel safe.
The money has been released to Hamilton. More here.