By Marc H. Greenberg
Throughout history, works in the comics genre have had enormous cultural, social and political impact. Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Art Speigelman’s Maus are two of the innumerable examples of this impact.
An unfortunate byproduct of the popularity of works in this genre has been that it has drawn the attention and efforts of legislators and law enforcement agencies to adopt and prosecute ill-conceived efforts to criminalize, suppress, and ban them. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is often the first, and sometimes the only, line of defense against these efforts of repression.
As a life-long comics fan, a lawyer and a law professor, I have been an ardent supporter of the Fund’s efforts. This law review article, which profiles many of the key cases fought by the Fund, is my contribution to spreading awareness of its vital work. Protecting our First Amendment freedom is an often messy and difficult endeavor – we should all be thankful for the dedicated advocacy of the Fund and its supporters. My thanks to Executive Director Charles Brownstein for providing me access to the Fund archives, without which this article could not have been completed.