New Free Comic Book Template for Parents, Educators, Kids & More Whether you’re a parent looking for something fun to entertain your kids over and over, or you’re an educator looking for remote resources to utilize, CBLDF has you covered with a new series of free tools designed to ge ...

video conference manga club
Remote Comic Book Clubs

For years CBLDF’s Comic & Manga Book Club Handbooks have provided proven strategies for getting started, selecting books, engaging your community, and much more. Now this resource has been revamped with all-new sections addressing remote book clubs in light of the current coronavirus guide ...

Coronavirus Resources

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 ...

She Changed Comics: Name Your Price eBook & Free Lessons For Remote Learning

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 ...

Get Free Resources for Remote Learning with CBLDF

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! ...

Retailer Spotlight on COVID-19

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...

Support CBLDF With (Almost) Everything You Buy Online!

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,...

Webinars

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...

CBLDF Protects The First Amendment!

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 ...

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Two Cartoonists to Receive CRNI Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning

by Maren Williams

Two political cartoonists who have courageously defied government censorship and brutality will be honored with the 2012 Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award from Cartoonists Rights Network International. Syrian Ali Ferzat and Indian Aseem Trivedi will receive the award on September 15, 2012 at George Washington University in Washington, DC, according to a post on CRNI’s website.

The annual award recognizes cartoonists who have “shown exemplary courage in the face of unrelenting threat, legal action or other pressure as punishment or disincentive for cartoons that are too powerful for some officials, sects, terrorists or demagogues.”

Click through for more on Ferzat and Trivedi’s groundbreaking work.

India Moves to Ban Cartoons from Textbooks

by Soyini A. Hamit

On May 14, one day after the 60th anniversary of the Indian Parliament, the government decided to ban textbooks from the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) for using cartoons that mock politicians. The government will also review NCERT textbooks, in addition to removing the offensive cartoons.

What began as an affront to famed cartoonist Shankar Pillai’s depiction of political leader B. R. Ambedkar has grown into an assault on the use of all cartoons in textbooks. Members of Parliament protested until the government relented and agreed to censor textbooks. The lone voice of dissent came from MP Sharifuddin Shariq, who felt that the cartoons should not upset politicians because they “reflected the reality.”

More after the jump…

Webcomic Takes a Stab at Indian Online Content Laws

by Joe Izenman

Only a few months have passed since political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi faced charges of treason for mocking the state. But that hasn’t stopped at least one webcomic artist from taking a sarcastic Mother’s Day shot at Indian Parliament’s year-old amendments to their Information Technology Act, which introduced an extraordinary set of restrictions and punishments for a broad range of online content violations.

Indian webcomic Crocodile In Water, Tiger On Land—a self-described purveyor of “below-the-belt cheap shots in comic form” has this to say in “thanks” to India’s lawmakers:

More details about the impact of India’s restrictive policies after the jump…

Big Wow Raises $1,500 for CBLDF!

by Betsy Gomez

I rolled an hour down the road this weekend for Big Wow! Comicfest, a regional show that’s seen quite a bit of growth since the last time I attended. In the years that have passed since my last outing to the show, it’s grown from a smallish collectors show (where I could fill in the gaps in my Jonah Hex and The Phantom collections) into a bustling event with an impressive guest list and a burgeoning artists alley. It was a genuine joy to see how the show has upped the ante. By the end of the convention, I had introduced many people to CBLDF and talked to many of our regular contributors, raising $1,500 for the cause!

Click through for more…

Join Charles Brownstein for a Discussion of Free Expression and the PROTECT Act This Wednesday

This Wednesday, you can join CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein for “Is Manga a Crime? Non-photographic images, Child Pornography and Freedom of Expression,” a program that discusses the impact of the PROTECT Act and the transportation of drawn images across international borders. The program is the Digital Media & Fine Arts Committees of the New York State Bar Association Entertainment, Arts, & Sports Law Section, and attorneys who attend can gain 1.5 MCLE credits in professional practice (pending approval).

More details after the jump.

Free Speech Advocates Score Victory in Utah

A victory for Free Speech was claimed yesterday when US District Judge Dee Benson issued an order ruling that people posting constitutionally-protected content on websites cannot be prosecuted for doing so and are not required to label the content they post. The ruling supports the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that opposed a Utah “harmful to minors” law that restricted free expression online. CBLDF was one of the organizations that opposed the law, joining fellow Media Coalition members the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, and the Freedom to Read Foundation. Additional plaintiffs included the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah; painter Nathan Florence, the Publishers Marketing Association, and the Sexual Health Network.

Read the official response from the Media Coalition after the jump.

Please help support CBLDF’s work to strike down unconstitutional censorship laws such as this by making a donation or becoming a member of the CBLDF!

UPDATED: CBLDF Hits the West Coast with Big Wow ComicFest!

With Executive Director Charles Brownstein in Japan for a symposium on manga and censorship; Deputy Director Alex Cox in Portland, Maine, for the Maine Comics Arts Festival; and a charity auction and booth headed up by volunteer Diana Green at St. Paul, Minnesota’s Spring Con, CBLDF is all over the world this weekend. Lest the West Coast feel left out, CBLDF Web Editor Betsy Gomez will be on hand at the Big Wow! ComicFest in San Jose, California! Big Wow takes place May 19 – 20 in downtown San Jose at the San Jose Convention Center, Hall 2, and you’ll find CBLDF at booth #603.

More details after the jump!

Join CBLDF This Weekend at the Maine Comics Arts Festival!

CBLDF Deputy Director Alex Cox will be at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland, Maine, all weekend. On Saturday, May 19, he will be presenting the CBLDF’s “History of Censorship in Comics” — a slideshow walk through oppression and small-mindedness from the 1930s to today! The presentation happens at the Portland Public Library Main Branch in the Rines Auditorium (5 Monument Square). On Sunday, May 20, from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., you’ll find him at the Ocean Gateway with a booth full of info about the Fund and awesome donation premiums!

Click through for more details about the show!

This Weekend’s SpringCon Charity Auction Benefits CBLDF

SpringCon, the annual comic book celebration produced by the Midwest Comic Book Association, takes place this weekend at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, Minnesota. This amazing event takes place May 19 – 20 and gathers hundreds of creators and many more fans for a comic marketplace, programs, and a huge charity auction. This year’s charity auction takes place at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, and all of the proceeds will be split between the Minnesota Lupus Foundation and CBLDF! In addition, the CBLDF will be there with a booth headed up by a local volunteer team lead by Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s Diana Green!

All of the details follow after the jump…

THE GUARDIAN Analyzes Tintin in the Congo Case

In February, Belgian courts ruled that Tintin in the Congo should not be removed from bookstore shelves over charges that it violated Belgian laws regarding racism and inciting racial hatred. The court ruled that the book, which was serialized from 1930 to 1931 and collected in 1946 with significant revisions, was a product of its time and did not intend to incite racial hatred. This week, The Guardian reposted an analysis that Jogchum Vrielink wrote about the case and its impact on the sale of the book.

Click through for excerpts from the analysis.

CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein to Participate in Conference on Creative Expression in Japan

This weekend sees CBLDF events around the country and around the world: CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein is headed to Japan to talk about the challenges creative expression faces in Japan and abroad.

Japanese manga and anime have strong appeal worldwide, and as their popularity has increased, they have faced challenges in Japan and overseas, including in the United States. Japanese censors have actively called for and passed laws that regulate the sale of manga and the depiction of sexuality in manga. In the United States, a Korean manwha — the equivalent of manga — is near the top of the list of the most-challenged books in 2011, and the ownership of manga led to the prosecution of Christopher Handley and Ryan Matheson.

The conference addresses the challenges faced by manga and anime and the detrimental effect of regulation on creative expression in Japan. During the symposium, Brownstein will join local and international experts to talk about the censorship of content in manga and anime in both Japan and overseas.

More details after the jump…

In Defense of Maurice Sendak’s IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN

Legendary illustrator and writer Maurice Sendak passed away last week at the age of 83. His Caldecott Medal winning work Where the Wild Things Are is indelibly etched into the minds of children and adults throughout the world as a flawless portrait of childhood, incorporating both the sublime and acrimonious aspects of youth. Sendak remains the only American to win the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration and is well-known for creating honest characters that are headstrong, boisterous, and even unlikable.

Sendak’s books have been frequently challenged in libraries, in particular his children’s book In the Night Kitchen, another award-winning book that features a young boy’s dream journey through a baker’s kitchen. The book upset many librarians and adults because its young protagonist, Mickey, was depicted in the nude. Many librarians censored the book by painting diapers over the boy’s genitals, and in some cases the book was even burned.

Click through for excerpts from letters Sendak’s editor, Ursula Nordstrom, wrote in defense of the book.

ALA Announces Graphic Novel Conference

Today, the American Library Association announced the addition of ALA GraphiCon, a new mini-conference occurring within the ALA Annual Conference, which takes place June 21 – 26, 2012, in Anaheim, California. GraphiCon will provide programming that supports the inclusion of graphic novels and comic books in library collections.

Click through for the official press release from ALA and information on how you can get involved.
CBLDF President Larry Marder and Executive Director Charles Brownstein will attend ALA’s annual conference. Like ALA, CBLDF is an official sponsor of Banned Books Week, which takes place September 30 – October 6, 2012. Banned Books Week is dedicated to “celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.” CBLDF is creating tools that retailers and librarians can use during this year’s 30th Anniversary Banned Books Week Celebration to raise awareness of challenged and banned comics and graphic novels. To get a headstart on the festivities, please check out the CBLDF Rewards Zone, where we have items such as our “I Read Banned Comics” t-shirt available to help raise money for this important program. If you have a First Amendment emergency, call 1-800-99-CBLDF!

Join CBLDF Executive Director for CLE Credit Program Discussing PROTECT Act

On Wednesday, May 23, CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein will be part of a continuing legal education program discussing the PROTECT Act, the federal law under which Christopher Handley was prosecuted for the possession of child pornography. Authorities alleged that Handley’s manga collection contained obscene depictions of children in sexual situations. Several other individuals have been prosecuted and convicted under the law, which legislates that non-photographic images depicting minors in sexual situations is child pornography. Certain parts of the law have been struck down as unconstitutional, but some still stand. Brownstein will join NYU School of Law professor Amy Adler and Michael Delohery, the chief of Westchester County DA’s Office’s High Technology Crime Bureau, for a discussion about the law and the concerns of creators, publishers, and collectors of various forms of entertainment, including comics.

The program takes place at Sotheby’s Institute of Art (570 Lexington Avenue, 6th Floor, New York) on May 23, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. and it open to the public. For more details and to register for the program, visit the New York State Bar Association’s website here.

Iranian Cartoonist Sentenced to Lashes for Depiction of Conservative MP

Iranian political cartoonist Mahmoud Shokraye has been sentenced to 25 lashed for his depiction of conservative Member of Parliament Ahmad Lotfi Ashtiani. Ashtiani was among a group of Iranian politicians who had been criticized for interfering with the country’s sports. In his cartoon, Shokraye depicted Ashtiani dressed as a soccer player. Ashtiani sued Shokraye, claiming he was insulted by the cartoon. The resulting sentence of 25 lashes is an unprecedented punishment.

More details after the jump…