Author: Charles Brownstein

ComicsPRO Retailers Celebrate Banned Books Week!

ComicsPRO Retailers Celebrate Banned Books Week!

Banned Books Week, the national celebration of the Freedom to Read, starts this Sunday!  Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a sponsor of Banned Books Week, and will be joined in the celebration by members of ComicsPRO, the comics retailer trade association who will be hosting displays and events to raise awareness of the comics that have been banned and challenged!

Participating retailers are:


Corner Store Comics  Banned Comics display


Muse Comics + Games    Banned Comics display, plus thank you gifts for members signing up for CBLDF Membership!


BSI Comics    Banned Comics Party on October 5!  Plus display and discussion group, CBLDF membership drive and an auction!


Southern Fried Comics     Banned Comics shirts & display.  For every $5 donation, customers will go in the draw to win a banned books gift pack (and we’ll get 10% off their purchases).


The Splash Page    Banned Comics Display, plus thank you gifts for members signing up for CBLDF Membership!
Muse Comics  Banned Comics Display, plus thank you gifts for members signing up for CBLDF Membership!


Laughing Ogre Comics   Banned Comics display!


Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy   Banned Comics Readout on Wednesday October 3rd starting at 6:00PM. Additionally,  a display of banned graphic novels up all week with case files for people to read and a membership drive!


Laughing Ogre Comics  Banned Comics display!

Are you doing a Banned Books Week event?  Would you like to get in on the fun and host one?  Email us at and put Banned Books Week in the subject and we’ll add you to our list!  If you’re looking for ways to get involved, check out our How You Can Help page.  Want to spread the word?  Here’s some handy signage you can print out, and here’s a brochure you can print to spread the word!


SDCC: CBLDF’s Comic-Con Welcome Party!

Kick off Comic-Con with the greatest stars in comics to celebrate 20 Years of Image Comics and the power of free expression at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Comic-Con Welcome Party! Starting at 8:00 PM on Thursday, July 12 at the Westgate Hotel, the CBLDF Comic-Con Welcome Party is jam-packed with amazing people and cool stuff! This party is sponsored by Image Comics, TFAW.Com, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, & Threadless!

Experience Creativity with Image Comics greats including:
Ales Kot, Amanda Conner, Ben McCool, Ben Templesmith, Brandon Seifert, Charles Soule, Chris Giarrusso, Cory Walker, Dan Brereton, Darick Robertson, Deborah Vankin, Dexter Weeks, Dirk Manning, Edwin Huang,Eric Shanower, Eric Stephenson, Erik Larsen, Gerry Duggan, Glen Brunswick, Jim Mahfood, Jim McCann, Jim Valentino, Jim Zub, Jimmy Palmiotti, Joe Keatinge, John Layman, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Joshua Williamson, Kody Chamberlain, Kurtis Wiebe, Mark Poulton,Matt Hawkins, Michael Moreci, Moritat, Nate Bellegarde, Nathan Edmondson, Phil Noto, Richard Starkings, Ron Marz, S. Steven Struble, Scott Tuft, Sina Grace, Steve Seeley, and many more!

revival-cover-low-res-195x300-1364256Get The Exclusive Goods: Free gift bag, featuring a CBLDF party exclusive edition of Revival #1 by Tim Seeley & Mike Norton from Image Comics, and other special thank yous from CBLDF supporters including Valiant and Threadless!

See The World Premiere of “The Day The Saucers Came:” Be the first to see the latest Comics-On Tees from Threadless featuring Neil Gaiman’s “The Day The Saucers Came,” featuring artwork by John Cassaday, Brandon Graham & Ben Templesmith at a special fashion show! Get your tees straight from the source at the party!

Smell Awesome At The Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Trading Post: BPAL will make their only Comic-Con appearance at the party, setting up a one-night only display of fragrances, including the world premiere of new fragrances based on Neil Gaiman’s Coraline!

Check Out The Amazing Items In CBLDF’s Comic-Con Auction, sponsored by TFAW.Com & Valiant Comics:
Check out all the amazing original art up for grabs at Saturday’s CBLDF Comic-Con Auction live!

Come support Free Speech and experience the best of Comic-Con at the CBLDF Comic-Con Welcome Party Thursday at the Westgate Hotel, 1055 Second Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101 from 8 PM to 11 PM! This party is FREE for CBLDF Members. Non-Members, suggested $10 – $20 donation at the door, please.

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit

We’re awesome people from all over the world who make mind-blowing art. Our process starts when a great idea is born in an artist’s mind. (That could be you, that could even be your grannie!) The artist submits their idea to our site, where our community of 1.5 million debates, discusses, and votes on that idea. If the idea gets a really good score, we make it into a tee, tote, hoody, or tube sock. (That last one isn’t true… yet.) Then, as long as folks keep buying that product, we keep rewarding that artist with loadsa money, prizes, and exposure. So people who buy from us support great artists and their great ideas. Neat, huh? Join us at Threadless ~ Make Great Together.

Founded in 1979, Things From Another World is the premier retailer of comics, toys, collectibles, and pop-culture geek goodness, both in Portland, Oregon and online at

We specialize in formulating body and household blends with a dark, romantic Gothic tone. Our scents run the aesthetic gamut of magickal, pagan and mythological blends, Renaissance, Medieval and Victorian formulas, and horror / Gothic-themed scents. By utilizing our knowledge of homeopathy and aromatherapy, the conceptual theories of hermetic alchemy, and the aesthetic artistry of perfumery, we have mastered the art of encapsulating allegorical ideas into singular olfactory experiences. We are the first of our kind, and have over fifteen years of practical experience in the field. Our expertise shows.

We pride ourselves on the artistry of our products, and our skill in their creation. All of our products are hand-blended here in our laboratory. Integrity and dedication is vitally important to us, and we do our best to provide the best possible product and slavishly good service to all our clients.

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers. The CBLDF provides legal referrals, representation, advice, assistance, and education in furtherance of these goals.

Manga Friday: CBLDF Contributes Additional $10,000 to Ryan Matheson’s $75,000 Legal Defense Costs

Manga Friday: CBLDF Contributes Additional $10,000 to Ryan Matheson’s $75,000 Legal Defense Costs

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is pleased to announce that thanks to the support of its contributors, the organization has disbursed an additional $10,000 to Ryan Matheson to help pay off the $75,000 legal defense costs that he incurred defending himself against false charges brought by Canada Customs in a case involving manga comics on his laptop computer.

Earlier this year, charges against Matheson were dropped in a case where Canada Customs illegally detained and wrongly charged the American with importation of child pornography for humor and fantasy manga on his laptop. The CBLDF came to Ryan’s aid in 2011, providing substantive and financial support for his case, including arranging expert testimony that contributed to the charges being dropped. With this most recent disbursal, the CBLDF has provided $30,000 to Ryan’s $75,000 legal defense costs. Last year, Canada’s Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund contributed $11,000 towards Ryan’s defense. CBLDF seeks contributions to help pay off Ryan’s remaining $34,000 in legal expenses.

In a message to CBLDF supporters, Matheson says, “Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to the CBLDF! The donations raised so far have given me enough financial stability to finally get back on my feet and live my life normally instead of worrying about money so much. It’s really encouraging to know that there are so many people out there that want to help stand up for comics and manga. I used to feel so isolated and alone but now I’ve realized that the comics and manga community is definitely one that cares about the things we love and is willing to stand up for our rights. Your donations really do help a lot and I am so grateful for all the support I’ve received so far. Thank you!”

After a search of his laptop in 2010, Canada Customs wrongfully accused Ryan of possessing and importing child pornography because of constitutionally protected comic book images on that device. This case represented a severe disruption in his life, including a two-year period during which he was unable to use computers or the internet outside of his job, severely limiting opportunities to advance his employment and education. Ryan suffered extreme mistreatment at the hands of Canadian authorities, and was subjected to abusive treatment by police. Matheson’s cruel and unusual punishment included being denied food and blankets, and not being allowed to contact the American Embassy. Matheson was even told by police transporting him to prison that “if you get raped in here, it doesn’t count!” The defense detailed these and other abuses and outlined that the comics at issue are constitutionally protected in the United States, the client’s home country, contributing to the charges being dropped earlier this year.

This summer, Matheson will be appearing on panels at San Diego Comic-Con and Otakon to discuss his case, where CBLDF will also be distributing literature advising convention goers of their rights.

CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein says, “The CBLDF is elated that our efforts have made a difference in Ryan’s case, and we’re grateful that our supporters have generously contributed to our efforts to pay off expenses tied to his legal defense. We are moved by Ryan’s courage in speaking out on his case, and look forward to working with him this summer as we go on the road to help raise awareness of how comics and manga are still being targeted by the authorities. We’re glad that his case had a positive outcome, but comics are still vulnerable to attack. It is our hope that our efforts will help prevent others from suffering the same fate that befell Ryan and his family.”

Please make a donation to CBLDF to help the organization continue to pay off Matheson’s legal defense costs and to support their important work raising awareness of the rights facing comics and manga readers. To learn more about Ryan’s case, please visit the CBLDF Case File R. v. Matheson, which includes the original defense documents, and special advisories for travelers crossing borders with comics books.

Manga Translator Acquitted of Child Pornography Charges In Swedish Supreme Court Ruling

Supreme Court of Sweden

Swedish news outlet The Local reports that their Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of manga translator Simon Lundström on child pornography charges relating to manga files on his computer. The court’s decision reflects the viewpoint of free speech advocates, including the CBLDF, that sexually explicit manga images are protected artistic expression and not child pornography. The court stated, “The criminalization of possession of the drawings would otherwise exceed what is necessary with regard to the purpose which has led to the restriction on freedom of expression and freedom of information.”

The Local reports:

Lundström, described by Swedish media as a top manga expert, was found guilty by two lower courts of having 39 drawings portraying figures in sexual poses stored on the hard drive of his computer.

In his initial trial, he explained that he had retrieved the pictures in order to stay up to date with the latest developments in the Japanese comic genre.

A district court fined him 25,000 kronor ($3,500) but an appeals court lowered the sum to 5,600 kronor.

CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein welcomed the ruling, stating, “This is an important victory for free expression and for manga. The Swedish Supreme Court has correctly drawn the boundary that governments have a compelling interest in prosecuting criminal behavior, not ideas or expression. Child pornography is an abhorrent crime because real people are harmed, and the creation, distribution and possession of that content are criminal behaviors that contribute to creating victims. Today’s ruling that drawings of an imaginative nature where no victim is created cannot be child pornography is clear-minded and will hopefully provide guidance here in the United States and around the world when similar cases arise in the future. We congratulate Mr. Lundström and his attorney Leif Silbersky for their courageous efforts in reaching this important decision.”


Chip Kidd Is Guest of Honor at CBLDF’s Book Expo Party!

Celebrate free speech at this year’s Book Expo by raising a toast to CHIP KIDD on Tuesday, June 5th in a benefit to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund!

A VIP cocktail reception starts at 7 PM. Kidd will present a behind-the-scenes look at creating this book, and all attendees will receive an extremely limited copy of BATMAN: DEATH BY DESIGN, with an exclusive signed and numbered bookplate, designed by Mr. Kidd. These bookplated editions are extremely limited, and will be available one time only. Hors d’Oeuvres will be served. This is a ticketed event, with limited admission available for a $50 donation to the CBLDF. Reserve your ticket here.

At 8:30 pm, an open release party and book signing will begin. Copies of BATMAN: DEATH BY DESIGN will be available at the venue! (No ticket needed for this portion of the evening, but a suggested donation at the door is appreciated)

The event happens at SMITHFIELD, 215 West 28th Street New York, NY 10001.


Writer: Chip Kidd, Artist: Dave Taylor

In this new, original graphic novel from superstar writer/designer Chip Kidd and artist Dave Taylor, Gotham City is undergoing one of the most expansive construction booms in its history. The most prestigious architects from across the globe have buildings in various phases of completion all over town. As chairman of the Gotham Landmarks Commission, Bruce Wayne has been a key part of this boom, which signals a golden age of architectural ingenuity for the city. And then, the explosions begin.

All manner of design-related malfunctions – faulty crane calculations, sturdy materials suddenly collapsing, software glitches, walkways giving way and more – cause casualties across the city. This bizarre string of seemingly random catastrophes threatens to bring down the whole construction industry. Fingers are pointed as Batman must somehow solve the problem and find whoever is behind it all.

This event will take place at 7 pm, June 5th, at SMITHFIELD, 215 West 28th Street New York, NY 10001

Tickets for the 7 PM Cocktail Hour Available at

How To Manage A Media Attack On Your Comic Book Store

How To Manage A Media Attack On Your Comic Book Store

Wednesday Bleeding Cool ran a piece linking to a local news promo promising a titillating exposé on modern comics that will offer tips on “HOW TO K.O. THESE COMICS BEFORE THEY CORRUPT YOUR KIDS!”

These media scare stories are nothing new. They’ve been plaguing comics since the very beginning, whether it was massive public comic book burnings in the 1940s, Frederic Wertham’s attacks in the 1950s, or the retailer stings of the 1980s that led to the CBLDF being formed.

While we’ve seen this type of story arise time and again, it should never be taken lightly. Below we offer some tips on how to deal with hostile cameras if they come to your store.

  • Know Your Rights. You control the media’s access to your store, not them. While media people can shoot common spaces not maintained by your store, such as public parking lots and walkways, they cannot enter your store and shoot without permission, and they cannot block access to your store.
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