By Alex Cox
Over the past weekend, while half of the CBLDF staff was on the West Coast on the floor at Image Expo, the other half made the arduous trek through the Lincoln Tunnel, all the way out to Northern New Jersey, to spend some time at MangaNext, one of the only completely fan-run manga shows in the country.
With the current “Brandon X” case involving manga, the CBLDF is making an effort to be more involved in that community, reaching out to fans of yuri, BL, shonen, shojo, seinen, and everything else in between. Manga is often scrutinized and demonized more than American comics, and it is increasingly important for fans of Japanese material to understand our mission and know that we exist in case their rights are infringed upon.
Our booth was staffed by Intern Kelly Tsou and ongoing Volunteer Erica Friedman, who is a well-loved journalist and publisher in the yuri community. She represented us on the MangaNext “State of the Industry” Panel on Sunday morning and discussed the censorship specter that continues to haunt Japanese comics as they are translated and distributed in North America. It was a great booth crew, ready and able to discuss the current case-work and distribute literature about the threats to Free Expression that hover over all genres of manga.
All in all, it was an exciting and fruitful weekend, and we were grateful for the opportunity to speak to a new generation and different variety of comics fan. Big thanks to Ezra Cudjoe, who organized the show, his ample and helpful support crew, and the board of Universal Animation. They were great hosts, and we look forward to many more Manga and Anime conventions to come!
Alex Cox is the Deputy Director for CBLDF