Michael Bamberger, First Amendment attorney and counsel for the plaintiffs protesting Utah’s H.B. 260, which would have curtailed constitutionally-protected speech online, is the recipient of 2012 Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award. Bamberger is general counsel for the Media Coalition, which includes CBLDF. Click through for a look at his work in defense of Free Speech and more about the award.
Some of the field’s best creators are stepping up to provide special experiences you can receive when you join the Fund in addition to our standard membership premiums...
Love teaching? Join us! Love graphic novels? You are not alone. New to graphic novels but curious? We want you! Wanting to use a specific novel with students? We can help!
The Coronavirus crisis impacts all of us. At CBLDF, we’re here to serve the community, so this week we’re sharing resources that can help you cope with the challenges we’re all facing. We have created new tools, including a comprehensive state-by-state clearinghouse resource for f ...
Celebrate Women’s History Month with She Changed Comics, the untold story of the women who changed free expression in comics. To help provide for our community, CBLDF is making the digital edition of She Changed Comics pay what you want ...
CBLDF is committed to helping parents, educators, and students turn challenges into triumphs in remote learning situations. Check out all the free resources we have for you to help keep your kids interested and learning, including lesson plans and discussion guides for more than 50 graphic novels! ...
Comic book retailers are the foundation of the comic book industry as we know it. They serve as beacons of light in increasingly troubled times, hubs in their communities where people can find the stories that they need. CBLDF is working to do whatever we...
There’s an easy way to fight for free expression with everything you buy online: designate CBLDF for your Amazon Smile donations! When you shop at smile.amazon.com, a nonprofit of your choosing will get a portion of the proceeds,...
Remote Retailing: Connecting with Your Customer Online The COVID-19 Crisis is causing massive disruptions to the way retail stores conduct business. With the need for social distancing and an influx of mandatory business shut-downs, retailers are now required to find innovative ways to...
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the First Amendment rights of the comics medium. Our work takes us into courtrooms, classrooms, conventions and libraries all over the United States where we provide legal aid, education, and advocacy to protect th ...
A Canadian research survey to gauge librarians’ reactions to youth literature dealing with bodily functions has found widespread acceptance of books such as Walter the Farting Dog, Everyone Poops, and Captain Underpants. Librarians report that the titles are enthusiastically embraced by many children, particularly boys and reluctant readers, but that discomfort on the part of parents sometimes leads to book challenges.
After the jump, CBLDF blogger Maren Williams takes a look at the survey and discusses how adult discomfort with content sometimes leads to the challenge of books meant for younger readers, including graphic novels.
With the President’s recent open approval of same-sex marriage; a federal appeals court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (claiming it unconstitutional); the success of Life with Archie #16, featuring the marriage of a gay character; and Marvel and DC’s inclusion of prominent storylines about gay characters, one may surmise it is easy for everyone to access constitutionally-protected LGBT materials. This is not the case, as students in a school district north of Salt Lake City will have to get parental permission before checking out a book about a lesbian couple raising a family, according to a recent article on the Huffington Post.
Click through for excerpts from the article and a look at protests against other LGBT content by CBLDF blogger Justin Brown.
Anonymous political commentary has been the bedrock of our country’s discourse since before we were a country. Two identical bills, together the so-called Internet Protection Act, are in the legislative process of the New York State Senate and Assembly and aim to eliminate the ability to anonymously participate in political discourse and other discussions that take place on the internet. In their current form, the bills rip the mask off of legitimate, First Amendment protected speech in a vague and an ill-conceived effort to eliminate cyberbullying and “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks” (source: First Amendment Center).
If the bills stand as written and make it to law, we could live in a world where Superman may be able to save Metropolis but he could only blog about it as Clark Kent, and then only if he gives his home address. Wouldn’t the villains in the comic world love that kind of leverage? What about those in the real world?
Click through for CBLDF blogger Christopher Schiller’s analysis of the importance of anonymity and the concerns raised by these bills.
This weekend only, anyone joining or renewing their CBLDF membership as an ADVOCATE MEMBER will receive and extremely limited, signed bookplate edition of the brand new BATMAN hardcover graphic novel, BATMAN: DEATH BY DESIGN. These are signed by the author, Chip Kidd, on a bookplate that he designed, numbered to 50. This incentive is available here and comes with the complete Advocate membership package. This incentive ends Monday at midnight, or as supplies last.
by Joe Sergi
I was recently asked to join a Facebook Group called, “Comic Book Fans vs. a Bunch of Moms with Nothing Else Better To Do . . . ” This Group was created in response to the recent actions by the One Million Moms organization who are requesting that its supporters email Marvel and DC comic book companies, “…urging them to change and cancel all plans of homosexual superhero characters immediately. Ask them to do the right thing and reverse their decision to have sexual orientation displayed to readers.” Apparently, One Million Moms believes that if children read about gay characters, they will become gay. Marvel and Archie have responded, defending their positions, and several Social Media groups have begun to form on both sides of the issue. The last news I have heard is that the One Million Moms deleted their anti-gay Facebook page.
This kind of tension has always existed. On the one side, you have the welfare and protection of the community (especially children, who can’t protect themselves). On the other, you have fundamental liberties such as free speech. The problem is that the well intentioned actions of groups in the first category tend to infringe on the rights of the second because it is the simplest solution. This happened in the 1940s when civic minded parents decided that it was in the best interest of their children and the community to burn comic books, which leads me to my first “official” CBLDF column topic: book burning.
More after the jump…
In Tokyo, the Youth Healthy Development Ordinance prohibits the sale of publications containing material that is “sexually stimulating, encourages cruelty, and/or may compel suicide or criminal behavior” to people younger than 18. A 2011 amendment expanded the scope of the ordinance to include manga and anime with explicit depictions of children engaging in sexual acts. This week, the manga To Love-Ru Darkness survived a challenge under the ordinance. Click through for details from CBLDF blogger Soyini Hamit.
by Joe Izenman
Solitary dissents in the U.S. Supreme Court can offer a fascinating look into the strongest beliefs of the high court’s individual justices. In a recent blog post, the First Amendment Center provides an overview and analysis of several such opinions in the history of first amendment law, including the failed first challenge to the Child Online Protection Act.
Click through for more on the lone dissenter in Ashcroft v. ACLU I, Justice John Paul Stevens, and his comments when the act was challenged a second time by a coalition that included CBLDF, resulting in its defeat…
This Saturday, Alliance Comics is sponsoring a CBLDF Awareness Day with special guest X-O Manowar writer Robert Venditti! Venditti will be signing from noon to 3:00 p.m. at the Baltimore store (904 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21230; 410-685-0021). CBLDF has teamed up with Alliance for an amazing raffle, including the following items:
Several different limited editions of X-O Manowar #1
Limited edition X-O Manowar art prints
Chew volume 1, signed by writer John Layman
Astonishing X-Men volume 1, signed by penciler John Cassaday
Green Lantern Secret Origin, signed by writer Geoff Johns
American Vampire volume 1 hardcover, signed by writer Scott Snyder
Watchmen hardcover, signed by penciler Dave Gibbons
Elektra: Assassin hardcover, signed by Bill Sienkiewicz
More items will likely be added to the raffle, and all proceeds will go to CBLDF to support our important First Amendment work!
If you live in the Baltimore area, head over to Alliance Comics on Saturday, June 9, 12:00 – 3:00 p.m., to support the CBLDF and a great store! Get more details about Alliance Comics’ CBLDF Awareness Day here.
As a recent article from CBLDF blogger Justin Brown reveals, draconian library filtering practices can restrict access to legitimate educational information. CBLDF has reported about and signed on against laws that would restrict Internet speech, often partnering with the ACLU in such cases. Reference librarian and CBLDF blogger Maren Williams describes how the ACLU has helped keep web-based information about LGBT issues available in school libraries after the jump.
For the past three years, Things From Another World has played a pivotal role in collecting original artwork for CBLDF’s annual Comic-Con International charity auction, helping the Fund raise more than $75,000 in the process. They’re at it again this year, and they’ve already lined up some comics superstars to help raise money for our important First Amendment work!
Click through for the official press release and more details about TFAW’s auction art drive!
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.
by Alex Cox
The CBLDF is excited to be returning to the great city of Philadelphia, for the first time in several years for Wizard World Philly! This historic city is one of the most important homes of American democracy, and we are proud to help continue the legacy of Free Speech and Free Expression in this exciting town!
Wizard World was gracious enough to host us, and we will be in booth 1049 all weekend long. We have a terrific array of donation premiums, including several new books, signed by awesome supporter artists such as Stuart Immonen, Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction, Frank Miller, and many, many more! We’ve put together a killer mix of books and t-shirts for the fine folks of Philly, and can’t wait to see the Pennsylvania area fan community!
For CBLDF members, we have the last few exclusive, variant cover copies of GLORY 23, available only to card-carrying member of the CBLDF! If you are not a member, but want to join, we can sign you up on the spot! Never fear! These GLORY variant covers are free to members, and extremely rare, as well as signed by writer Joe Keatinge!
So swing by booth 1049, if you are visiting Wizard World Philly! There’s no better to join the fight for Free Speech!
by Soyini A. Hamit
The academic journal Mass Communication and Society published an article in their May 18, 2012 issue about the frequent use of profanities in Young Adult (YA) books. One of the authors, Dr. Sarah Coyne, assistant professor at Brigham Young University, believes that a rating system should be in place so that parents will know what books are appropriate for their child’s age. The Huffington Post takes a closer look at whether such a system is necessary.
by Mark Bousquet
A recent ban on Twitter by the Pakistani government highlights the growing conflict between conservative governments and dissatisfied citizens over the use of, and access to, social networking sites. On May 20, Pakistan blocked access to Twitter for part of the day, holding the social networking site responsible for an allegedly blasphemous cartoon contest being run on Facebook. Critics argue that Twitter has given a voice to those who oppose the government’s security practices, and that actions like the May 20 ban give credence to the idea that Pakistan is not interested in having a truly free media.