Tagged: CBLDF

CBLDF party tonight at BookExpo NYC

CBLDF party tonight at BookExpo NYC

Kick off the summer convention season tonight at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund‘s
Book Expo Welcome Party! Enjoy free gourmet bites and a cash bar, while
mingling with the best and the brightest authors and pros from the
graphic novel world! The party runs from 6:00 to 9:00 PM at Hudson
Terrace, conveniently located near the Javits Center on 621 W 46th
Street between 11th & 12th Ave.

This event is open to all
BEA attendees and CBLDF supporters. The party is free for current year
CBLDF members. A suggested donation of $10 is asked for non-members. If you sign up for membership at the party, you’ll receive a CBLDF lapel pin.

What: CBLDF’s BookExpo Welcome Party
When: May 28, 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Where: Hudson Terrace, 621 W 46th Street between 11th & 12th Ave
How Much: $10 suggested donation, and free to CBLDF members!
Dress: Business Casual

the CBLDF: The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1986 as a
501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of
First Amendment rights for members of the comics community. They have
defended dozens of free expression cases in courts across the United
States, and led important education initiatives promoting comics
literacy and free expression. For additional information, donations,
and other inquiries, call 800-99-CBLDF or visit them online at

Neil Gaiman NYC reading 11/8 to benefit CBLDF

Neil Gaiman NYC reading 11/8 to benefit CBLDF

So I was waiting for a subway yesterday after visiting my local comics store, and I heard a voice behind me say "Glenn!"

I turned around and didn’t see anybody. Then I looked down. Lo and behold, there was Jill Friedman, fundraising director for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

"Glenn, let me ask you, as a member of the press, how come you aren’t covering the Neil Gaiman benefit in town this weekend?" I kinda answered a bit non-commitally. Jill got that determined/slightly crazed look in her eye that suggested that if I didn’t write up a piece about cousin Neil, I would be beaten around the head with a stapler.

So here you are, Jill. Please don’t hurt me…


Veteran voice actor Tom Wayland and others, will read from some of the most politically charged excerpts of THE SANDMAN written by New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman, in honor of the 20th Anniversary of THE SANDMAN.

Presented by the CBLDF and Vertigo, Neil Gaiman will be on hand to host this dramatic reading which will be held at the Helen Mills Theater in New York City on Saturday, November 8 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available for a $50 donation to the CBLDF. Only 100 tickets are available to this special reading event. Reserve your tickets now!

THE SANDMAN is a series that is often hailed as one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling and which Norman Mailer famously praised as, "a comic strip for intellectuals." This very special evening will bring two of the series most beloved stories to life with a multimedia presentation that marries comics and live theater.

About the stories being performed:

Three Septembers & A January, originally published in THE SANDMAN #31 / Trade #6

The story of Joshua Abraham Norton the first, last and only Emperor of the United States of America that incorporates an explanation for his strange career centering on a challenge between Morpheus and Despair.

The Golden Boy, originally published in THE SANDMAN #51-56 / Trade #8

A revival of a 1970s DC character named Prez, it’s the story of the US’s first teenage president that considers how we view our leaders—while they’re in office… and once they’re gone.

Manga Reader Charged for Obscenity

Manga Reader Charged for Obscenity

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has defended several arists and retailers in the past. But now, for the first time, they have been called to aid an actual comic book collector.

Christopher Handley of Iowa is facing obscenity charges under the PROTECT Act (18 U.S.C. section 14661) for ordering and possessing manga that is allegedly "obscene." Although no photographic material is contained within the manga in question, the charges allege that the material includes drawings depicting minors engaging in acts of a sexual nature. The material was reported by a postal inspector.

The"objectionable" manga in question is only a small part of Handley’s collection, which included over 1200 volumes of various manga. Despite this, authorities have taken possession of Handley’s entire comic book, magazine, manga and DVD collection, as well as his computer, in their search for further evidence.

If found guilty, Handley could face up to 20 years in jail. CBLDF legal counsel Burton Joseph commented, "I have never encountered a situation where criminal prosecution was brought against a private consumer for possession of material for personal use in his own home. This prosecution has profound implications in limiting the First Amendment for art and artists, and comics in particular, that are on the cutting edge of creativity. It misunderstands the nature of avant-garde art in its historical perspective and is a perversion of anti-obscenity laws."

As of now, Handley and the CBLDF-assisted defense team have been able to achieve partial victory. The court has ruled that sections of the PROTECT Act are infirm because they "do no require that the material be deemed obscene" by a court-appointed jury but rather by Congressional standards.

In the latest CBLDF update, it states: "Handley now faces charges under the surviving sections of 1466A, which will require a jury to determine whether the drawings at issue are legally obscene."

The following are the legal standards that would make the material "obscene." All three must be met in order for there to be a conviction.

A. Whether the average person, applying comtemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.

B. Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law.

C. Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

For more information and how you can help, check out the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund web-site.

CBLDF Interview With Charles Brownstein

CBLDF Interview With Charles Brownstein

With the recent resolution of the Gordon Lee case, in which a comic shop owner was arrested for accidentally giving a copy of a Free Comic Book Day  title that contained male nudity to a child, there’s been quite a bit of attention on the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and their significant financial support for Lee during the trial.

Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter has posted a lengthy, comprehensive interview with Charles Brownstein, the executive director of the CBLDF, that touches upon the Lee case, its impact on the comics industry and the group’s other current and future projects.

As always, Spurgeon conducts a great interview that really gives you all you could ever want to know about the group and why there’s a genuine need for it. In this excerpt, Brownstein discusses the group’s ability to wage future legal battles, given the expenses incurred by the Lee case, and what types of legal issues are most worrisome to CBLDF:

What really makes me lose sleep is the prospect of getting a case under the PROTECT Act’s horrifying provisions equating drawings of teen and juvenile sexuality with actual child pornography. I’ve seen a couple of convictions for anime and manga that was ruled to be child porn. These were dirty people who also had real child porn, and who deserved their convictions for that material, not for repugnant art. There’s a difference between photographic evidence of a crime and drawings.

Those are the cases where we really need the community to stay firm in their support of the First Amendment. I think a lot of the content in the sexually oriented manga is pretty repugnant, but it’s lines on paper. The thing that raises my ire about PROTECT and the current slate of child pornography laws is that in attempting to create stronger resources against sexual predators, they create categories of thought crime. Child pornography is photographic evidence of a crime. To lower that bar to include dirty drawings and uncomfortable, if not repugnant, ideas muddies the waters in a way that disrespects the severity of the crime, and the victims of it.

For the full interview — which I highly recommend reading — head over to The Comics Reporter.

James Patterson on ComicMix Radio!

James Patterson on ComicMix Radio!

One of the country’s biggest authors comes to ComicMix Radio today to talk about his red young adult series, Maximum Ride, which we are betting will be a graphic novel sooner than you think.


•  Amelia Rules hits the musical stage

•  Warren Ellis gets another net home

• CBLDF kicks off their holiday auctions

Press The Button and  meet James Patterson!

Gordon Lee trial ends in mistrial

Gordon Lee trial ends in mistrial

Straight from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:

The case against Gordon Lee took another in an ongoing series of bizarre turns this afternoon when statements made by State prosecutor John Tully during opening arguments led to a mistrial.

Lee and his legal team, paid for by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, appeared in court this morning for jury selection and returned in the afternoon to begin the actual trial. Before the jury was brought in to begin the trial, lead counsel Alan Begner argued an oral motion in limine asking the judge to instruct prosecutors that they could not admit statements from their witnesses alluding to Lee’s character and previous legal actions Lee has been party to. Prosecutors assured the court that they had instructed their witnesses not to address Lee’s previous conviction for selling adult comics to an adult. Then during opening statements in front of the jury, prosecutor Tully said witnesses will testify that Gordon was defensive and that Gordon had told police, “I’ve been through this before,” a clear reversal of his earlier statement to the judge that prosecutors would not be entering such statements into the record.

When Tully made his statement, defense counsel stared at each other in disbelief before Begner leapt up to demand a mistrial. Judge Larry Salmon put his head in his hands and called a 15 minute recess.

Upon returning to the courtroom, as a result of Tully’s statement, Salmon declared a mistrial, because the statements alluding to the prior incident contaminated the jury beyond repair for a fair trial.


Mike Wieringo update

Mike Wieringo update

To begin, the funeral arrangements from Mike’s brother Matt, reprinted in its entirety:

First, let me thank everyone who has expressed their condolences online and over the phone. We have been, frankly, overwhelmed by all the good will from all over the world. I don’t think our parents fully understood (nor did Mike) just how much he was loved and admired. To get us through this, my wife and I have spent a couple of sleepless nights reading the postings here and at Newsarama (thank you, Matt Brady) and the John Byrne Forum and it’s helped a great deal. Most touching of all was Cully Hamner’s heartfelt eulogy at Newsarama. Thank you so much, Cully. You are a beautiful man.

Now to the hard part. Mike will have two funeral services.

First, there will be a public viewing this Friday (August 17th) from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service at 1113 West Main Street in Durham, NC, followed by a chapel service at 2:00. This will be open to any of Mike’s friends and colleagues who’d like to attend. Please come prepared to share a Mike story. I plan on putting you on the spot. It would really help our Mom and Dad through this.

Second, at a time to be determined, there will be a private service for Mike’s family in Lynchburg, where we grew up.

As mentioned before, in lieu of flowers, if you’d like please send donations to the A.S.P.C.A. (aspca.org) or to the Hero Initiative (heroinitiative.org). I had previously mentioned the CBLDF but, having time to think about it, I realized that the Hero Initiative was more Mike’s style. Those wishing to contribute to the CBLDF anyway, please feel free as it’s a worthwhile cause as well.

Finally, some of you have expressed concern over what would become of Mike’s little buddy and constant companion, his cat Charlie. Well, breathe easy. Charlie is coming to live with us in Richmond with our other cat Toonces. I’m not sure how Toonces is going to take to living with the little dynamo that is Charlie, but family is family. Charlie is doing well but obviously misses Mike. He’s been sleeping on Mike’s bed and under his drawing table but he’s active and friendly.

Take care, everyone and, on behalf of our parents, my wife and me, thanks for everything. –Matt


Be a patriot! Support the First Amendment!

Be a patriot! Support the First Amendment!

Contribute to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund!

Sequential Tart’s Editor-in-Chief Katherine Keller has even made it easier for your money to go farther: if she gets forty people to kick up $25, she’ll match all of their contributions, $1000 bucks out of her own pocket, and Carl Rigney has volunteered to match her donation– so $25 from you means $75 to the CBLDF. She’s got ten more contributors to go as of this writing… but don’t think that you get off the hook if they hit the numbers, they need every dime that they can raise for the Gordon Lee fight. (Hat tip: ¡Journalista!)