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How to Keep Customs From Seizing Your Comics

The crew over at Gamma Squad took a moment to touch base with CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein about the latest comic book seizures by Canada Customs and to outline some tips for protecting yourself when crossing the border. Brownstein talks about why books are seized:

“It’s always hard to say why customs agents seize the work that they do, because oftentimes the determinations made are subjective,” said Charles Brownstein, Executive Director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. “I don’t second guess the motives of customs authorities. In 2004 a customs agent in South Carolina seized a shipment of books that included a strip satirizing the Bush administration called “Richie Bush,” because the agent alleged the parody comic was ripping off the Richie Rich trademark. All kinds of content has been seized, and is at risk.”

Check out the full article here.

CBLDF President Larry Marder on CBLDF Liberty Trading Cards

I’m Larry Marder, creator of Beanworld and President of the Board for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and I’m here today to talk about the CBLDF Liberty Trading Cards.

So what are these cards?

Let me tell you!

Ripped from the lurid headlines of yesteryear, the CBLDF Liberty Trading Cards relate the history — told in words and pictures — of comic book censorship in the United States of America.

The Good Fighters: Darick Robertson

Darick Robertson is the kind of guy you’d like to share a beer with — he’s always ready for a laugh with friends and fans alike. He’s also the sort to foment revolution over that beer, with a wicked twinkle in his eye.

The co-creator of the critically acclaimed series Transmetropolitan with writer Warren Ellis and the artistic rogue behind the raucous series The Boys, Robertson has been drawing funny books for nearly 20 years. His work has been praised by Wired Magazine and Rolling Stone and he counts many of the Hollywood elite among his fans, but Robertson invariably remains a warm and humble presence at conventions, always willing to do a little bit extra for the fans who’ve supported him through the years.

With the pending release of Transmetropolitan: All Around the World — the sale of which benefits CBLDF — we checked in with Robertson for this edition of The Good Fighters.

Transmetropolitan: All Around the World on Bleeding Cool

Transmetropolitan: All Around the World celebrates the groundbreaking hit series by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson. Dirk Manning (Nightmare World) checked in with Susan Augér, the project manager and driving force behind Transmetropolitan: All Around the World, and book designer and contributing artist Pete Venters.

Manning asked Augér to describe the project in two sentences:

Transmetropolitan: All Around the World is an art book. It is a book created for the purpose raising money for the comics community through donations to the CBLDF and the Hero Initiative.

Venters adds:

The Transmet art book is a unique opportunity to see the borderline-insane world of Transmetropolitan through the eyes of a broad spectrum of artists and writers who have one thing in common: They’re all fans.

Proceeds from the sale of Transmetropolitan: All Around the World benefit the First Amendment work of CBLDF. A limited number of copies of this gorgeous album will be available from CBLDF in late spring.

You can find the in-depth interview with Augér and Venters along with some images from the upcoming release on Bleeding Cool.

CBLDF Celebrates World Press Freedom Day

Thanks to the First Amendment, I’m free to write these words — and you’re free to read them. —Gene Policinski, First Amendment Center

The First Amendment Center took a moment to recognize the freedom of the press that makes the United States so unique, citing that 84% of the nearly 7 billion people in the world do not share in this freedom. You can read their article about World Press Freedom Day here.

World Press Freedom Day takes place each year on May 3. It was started in 1993 by the UN General Assembly, with the following in mind:

[World Press Freedom Day] serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom — a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.

CBLDF will be taking a moment to enjoy the work of our favorite political cartoonists and journalists today, all the while keeping in mind that the freedom our press enjoys does not extend to the rest of the world.

You can learn more about World Press Freedom Day here.

CBLDF Gets Festive at LA Times Festival of Books

This weekend, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books takes place on the campus of the University of Southern California, and CBLDF is on hand to celebrate in the sun with hundreds of stellar author guests and thousands of book lovers!

Executive Director Charles Brownstein and President Larry Marder will be joined by Good Fighter Pam Noles at booth 843 in the green-flagged Childs Way area of the festival. You’ll find them at a booth well-stocked with autographed premiums for bookworms of all ages and CBLDF’s new “I Read Banned Comics” t-shirt, all in support of the First Amendment work of CBLDF.

Started in 1996, the Los Angeles Times Book Festival brings together the people who create books and the people who love to read them. One of the largest book festivals in the United States, it attracts 140,000 book lovers each year!

The Los Angeles Times Book Festival takes place May 30 – April 1, 2011, starting at 10:00 a.m. each day. General admission to the festival is free, so come out to support CBLDF at booth 843!

Wired Talks Transmetropolitan Art Book

This May will see the release of the Transmetropolitan art book, which celebrates the visionary dystopian comic series by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson. Funded entirely by a Kickstarter donation drive, proceeds from the sale of the book benefit CBLDF and The Hero Initiative.

Wired.com has an exclusive preview of artwork from the book. They touched base with CBLDF about the project:

Transmetropolitan is one of those rare works that functions as a compelling genre story, perceptive science fiction and cutting social satire all at the same time,” said Charles Brownstein, executive director of Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, in an e-mail to Wired.com. “The series uses edgy, and sometimes taboo, topics to address the changes that are happening to our society, and that’s what expressive speech is supposed to do. Transmet does it exceedingly well.”

Wired.com also spoke with Ellis, Robertson, and Brian Pulido of The Hero Initiative about the project. You can catch the full article and exclusive images here.

Chief Justice Roberts and the First Amendment

The nomination of John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court in 2005 caused considerable protest among politicians and law experts, many of whom voiced concerns over Roberts’ typically conservative stance in his decisions.

The First Amendment Center recently analyzed Roberts’ decisions regarding First Amendment cases, starting with the idea the “Conservatives are often portrayed as hostile or indifferent to First Amendment issues.” They found that Roberts “has not been a disaster — far from it.”