21 December 2004

PSA: Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

[Support a worthy cause this holiday season. Plus, do it by Christmas Eve and get your $25 donation matched!]

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was officially incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization in January of 1990 from the money left over from donations raised to defend Friendly Frank's arrest for selling "obscene comics" in Lansing, IL in 1986. Since then, the CBLDF has helped over a dozen comic book retailers and professionals fend off the censors, some successfully, some not.

The CBLDF exists to fight censorship and defend the first amendment rights of comic book professionals throughout the United States. In the past five years, the CBLDF has raised over $200,000 to pay expenses related to defending freedom of speech and expression, and the battle continues. As new waves of conservatism flood the publishing industry and the country, the CBLDF continues to raise the money and awareness needed to fight the censors every step of the way.

In recent years, police and prosecutors around the country have decided to crack down on comics. For cartoonists and their readers, it's a dire threat. The work accused of being allegedly "harmful to adults" includes comics by the best cartoonists of our time: Robert Crumb, Frank Thorne, Jaime & Gilbert Hernandez, Reed Waller, and many others.

Is there really a need for the CBLDF? The answer, unfortunately, is yes. 1996 and 1997 were busy years at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The Planet Comics Case in Oklahoma City saw many tribulations between the bust in September of 1995 and the unfortunate end as the defendants accepted a plea to end their ordeal. Michael Diana lost his appeal to have his conviction as an "distribution of obscenity" overturned. Joe Lansdale, Tim Truman and Sam Glanzman found themselves having to defend against a suit by the Winter brothers for defamation and invasion of privacy .

The CBLDF's guiding principle is that comics should be accorded the same constitutional rights as literature, film, or any other form of expression.

Authorities around the country are increasingly taking the opposite view. The censors and the "politically correct" tend to pick on the comic industry because they regard comics as products for kids and thus view adult/mature comics as inappropriate, or even illegal.

The CBLDF intends to fight these attacks and we hope you will help. We ask everyone who cares about comics and free speech to support us.

No comments: