Mike Diana is an American underground comix artist, and the first person who was convicted in the US for artistic obscenity. Born in New York into a Roman Catholic family, Diana spent most of his childhood in Largo, Florida. His growing aversions against religion, school, the Florida climate and quite some other things, inspired him to make his own comix, as did the work of artists like Basil Wolverton, Bernie Wrightson and Jack Davis. He printed his first fanzines, HVUYIM and three issues of Angelfuck, with a friend at a local print shop.
But it were the 8 issues of his digest sized zine Boiled Angel that made him infamous. This xeroxed magazine, which he mainly made to give out to his friends, was intercepted by a Florida detective who decided to sue Mike Diana for obscenity. Mike's comix, which contain a lot of hacked-off genital parts, bestiality, human drug use and blasphemic references to Christianity, were judged as "sexually obscene" by the jury, and were even linked to the 1990 Gainesville student murders. The artist was convicted to a disproportionally high sentence in 1994, including community service, a psychiatric evaluation and a prohibition to draw his comix, which was enforced by regular police searches in his own home.
Ridiculous as this may sound, it is the truth, and it has made Mike Diana a poster child for the "obscenity" certain forces in the Land of the Free would like to see banned, as well as a famous underground artist, whose work is now sought after, and whose experiences have raised a wave of indignation among the comix community. Although his legal troubles lasted until 1997, Diana has continued to release new comix through Michael Hunt's publishing imprint. Back in New York, he has also picked up painting and, in recent years, has released the occasional comic book through Angry Drunk Graphics.