Asked about Diana's work, Marks says, "On the most basic level, obscenity is rooted in maliciousness. Most important, it must be lacking a sense of humor, rooted in parody with a critical eye... What we find obscene today is very different from what it was in the early '90s. It's pretty interesting that around the time Mike went to trial, Judas Priest was taken to court for subliminal messages in their music and 2 Live Crew was convicted of obscenity." Censorship now isn't as much of an issue as it once was. "Today the cesspools of the internet have had a desensitizing effect," Marks points out. "You can find anything if you look hard enough."

As part of MAM's New Work Miami 2013 exhibition, curated by the End/Spring Break, the museum paid Diana's fines in an honorarium so he could return to Florida. "MAM is hosting this talk because of the questions Mike Diana's art and personal story raise about freedom of expression," MAM director Thom Collins says.

Diana hasn't let his legal tragedies bog him down. A two-volume box set of his art was recently published by Divus London, a gallery in the United Kingdom, where he's shown in the past. He'll also have a July solo show at Superchief Gallery in New York. Over the years, he's been interviewed by Playboy and defended by Neil Gaiman, illustrated for Wired magazine, and drawn show posters for Marilyn Manson and the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black.

Mike Diana's Oilface (2010)
Mike Diana's Oilface (2010)

Location Info


Miami Art Museum

101 W. Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33130

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Central Dade

Bas Fisher Invitational

100 NE 11th St.
Miami, FL 33132

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Downtown/Overtown


"Convicted for Comics: A Talk With Underground Cartoonist Mike Diana": New Work Miami 2013 exhibition with the End/Spring Break. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-4073; Admission is $8; MAM members get in free.

"Mike Diana: Miami or Bust": 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, at Bas Fisher Invitational, 100 NE 11th St., Miami; Admission is free.

Once a small-town kid photocopying his comics at the local police station, where his mom was a secretary, and selling them to nerds by mail, Diana is an exciting, effective artist with possibly the best story of our time. Also with kind of the worst, weirdest luck.

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Diana has various important fans: Cartoonist-historian Ethan Persoff calls him a "sort of adoptive parent of web fury workmanship." Indeed, the fierceness of his representation is intense to the point that Florida police really suspected he was a serial killer. Furthermore in 1994, a judge declared guilty for distributed, conveying and promoting indecent material.

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