Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is launching an all new Summer Reading Challenge to encourage a diverse and continuous reading habit through graphic novels and comic books! Are you up for the challenge? Join the CBLDF Summer Reading Challenge and read a new graphic novel each week this summer!

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!

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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The Good Fighters: Molly Crabapple

A fine artist and the founder of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, Molly Crabapple creates work that provokes desire in some and the urge to silence in others. Her work also openly embraces sexuality, influenced by her experience as a model and burlesque dancer, which often brings her into opposition with censorship. Thus, she’s become an eloquent and devout supporter of free expression.

With Crabapple’s recent donation to CBLDF of an intricately-detailed 8′ by 7′ art monster — you can bid on it here — we took a moment to chat with her for this edition of The Good Fighters.

Comics Alliance: Why Comics Get Confiscated & How to Protect Yours

Laura Hudson at Comics Alliance dug into the recent seizures of comics at the Canadian Border, speaking to CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein and Tom Neely about the incidents, and sorting through “Canadian customs documentation to get the details on how this happened, the measures you can take to protect yourself and your comics when you’re crossing the border, the concerns this raises for comics fans, and a list of things that may get your comics flagged as obscene and confiscated (or worse).” It’s a terrific summary that presents a concise overview of the complex issue, and provides some excellent, plainspoken pointers about how to protect yourself and your comics. Read the full story here.

Please support the CBLDF’s coverage and defense of free speech issues like this by making a donation today!

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.

Tom Neely & Dylan Williams Speak Out On Their Customs Seizure Experience

Last weekend artist Tom Neely and publisher Dylan Williams were stopped and searched by Canada Customs on their way to the Toronto Comics Art Festival. Customs officers seized copies of two items they were bringing to the festival, Black Eye, an anthology of comics Neely contributed to, and Young Lions, a graphic novel by Blaise Larmee. The CBLDF caught up with Neely & Williams over email when they returned to the United States to learn more details about their ordeal. Full Story

Please support the CBLDF’s coverage and defense of free speech issues like this by making a donation today!

The Good Fighters: Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown finds truth in the personal and intimate details that dominate our lives. Even his most autobiographical work is relatable, adeptly capturing the unease we all occasionally feel as we go about life.

Brown’s first book, Clumsy, defined his ability to articulate the bittersweetness and awkwardness that follows most people around, an ability that is further demonstrated in Ignatz winner I Am Going to Be Small, Unlikely, Little Things, and Funny Misshapen Body. Brown is also an established humorist and absurdist, as shown in the observational humor of Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Cats Are Weird and the superhero parody Incredible Change-Bots.

In person, Brown is quiet but articulate, a keen observer of the people and things around him — he always seems to be looking for the next drawing or story. On the eve of his Incredible Change Bots art opening at Brooklyn’s Scott Eder Gallery, Brown took a moment to talk about his motivations for supporting free expression in this installment of The Good Fighters .

CBLDF Looking for a Law Student Intern

Attention current law students! Are you looking for a way to support CBLDF and build your resume at the same time? Here’s your chance: CBLDF is looking for a law student summer intern!

The CBLDF law student summer intern will research, draft, and coordinate publication of short articles in bar journals directed at criminal law practitioners. The work is expected to take all summer and may be extended into the Fall semester. A full-time summer commitment is expected. Betsy Rosenblatt, CBLDF Advisory Chair for Outreach and Education, will supervise the internship. Supervision will be electronic, so you can work from anywhere!

The internship is offered on a volunteer basis, but we are willing to work with your school to provide school credit. Interested law students should e-mail a cover letter, resume, and writing sample on or before May 20, 2011.

CBLDF Liberty Trading Cards Are Coming This Summer!

Available For Preorder Now! This summer CBLDF and Cryptozoic Entertainment are teaming up to bring you the CBLDF Liberty Trading Cards, a 72 card set telling the story of comics censorship, with a ton of great sketch and autograph chase cards by the greatest talent in the comics industry! This month the CBLDF will be showcasing spoilers and highlights from this exciting card set every Tuesday and Thursday, but today we hit the basics.

What Are The CBLDF Liberty Trading Cards?

This trading card set showcases the legal struggles comics have fought, from the historic 1950s Senate Subcommittee hearings and the 1970s conviction of Zap Comix to the modern day! This base set brings home the stories of the CBLDF’s battles. Comics retailers fighting for their lives against local authorities; artists being harassed by mammoth corporations; readers being attacked by the federal government — the Liberty Cards show the price of Free Speech!

In addition to the base set, special hand drawn sketch cards and autograph cards by some of the top talent in the comic book world will be featured! Erik Larsen, Charlie Adlard, Rob Liefeld, Frank Quitely and Terry Moore are just a few artists who will be doing sketch cards. Plus, autographs can be found from such names as Geoff Johns, Neil Gaiman, Jeff Smith, Gail Simone and Robert Kirkman.

ALL proceeds from this set benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Ask Your Retailer To Preorder Yours Now!

Check back Thursday for a first look inside the set!

Release Date: Summer 2011
Packs: 5 cards per pack; 24 packs per box
MSRP: $3.50 pack
Base set: 72 Cards
Chase Sets: Two 9-card chase sets
Inserts: Autographs and Sketch Cards

CBLDF Auctions Neil the Pencil-Necked Weasel

Legislatures across the country are cutting budgets, and often one of the first targets of these cost-cutting measures is arts programs. A politician in Minnesota recently made these attacks personal, targeting CBLDF Board Member, Newbery Medal winner, and best selling and critically acclaimed author Neil Gaiman, calling him a “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.”

The money in question is a fee Gaiman received from Minnesota’s Legacy fund for a four-hour speaking engagement. You can read more about the Legacy fund — which supports Minnesota Public Radio, public broadcasting, minority groups, various cultural heritage projects, and more — and the personal attack here and here.

Gaiman’s fans have taken this as a call-to-arms, taking the issue to their representatives and the Internet. They’ve demonstrated some astounding creativity and talent. Tracey Carlson channeled her concern into art, crafting an adorable handmade “pencil-necked” weasel that she asked to be auctioned to benefit the First Amendment work of CBLDF.

This is your opportunity to express your concern over the attacks on arts and free expression. When even well-known creators like Neil Gaiman aren’t immune to these attacks, we should recognize that the support of Free Speech is more tenuous than ever.

Please register your disdain for those who would stifle other’s speech, and show your support for Gaiman and the CBLDF by bidding on this adorable pencil-necked weasel now!

Canada Customs Seizes Black Eye & Young Lions

Last weekend cartoonists crossed the border for TCAF, the Toronto Comics Art Festival, where several were greeted with intrusive customs searches that led to the seizure of at least two comics titles — Black Eye, an anthology, and Young Lions, a graphic novel by Blaise Larmee.

Tom Neely, a contributor to Black Eye was the first to release word of his ordeal through Facebook status messages. Neely explained that copies of the Black Eye anthology were seized, and would either be returned to him or destroyed, pending “further action,” prompting the cartoonist to write:

“I just hope “further action” doesn’t involve being arrested the next time I try to cross the border. They went through everything in our car. Opened every suitcase and looked through every book.”

In the The Comics Journal comments thread where the story broke, Black Eye editor Ryan Standfast noted that copies of Blaise Larmee’s Young Lions were seized from Sparkplug Comic Books publisher Dylan Williams.

Current coverage of this story includes: The Comics Journal, Ryan Standfast, Robot 6, and The Beat.

The CBLDF is investigating these incidents, and will continue to report on developments as they occur.

This incident is part of a recent, growing trend of customs searches and seizures of comics that the CBLDF has been following. The CBLDF has issued an advisory for travelers on crossing borders with comic book materials that is available here as a Word document, and here as a PDF file.

TCJ: Black Eye Anthology Confiscated at US/Canada Border

The Comics Journal reports that copies of the anthology Black Eye were confiscated from artist Tom Neely when he was entering Canada for this weekend’s TCAF festival.

According to Neely:

“… They took ‘em. I tried to get them to just ship them back to me at home, but they said they were required to send it to Ottawa for review… if they found the material to be ‘obscene’ they would take ‘further action.’ I asked what ‘further action’ meant and he said they would just destroy them. Or there is a chance they might ship them back to me.

This incident is part of a recent, growing trend of customs searches and seizures of comics that the CBLDF has been following. The CBLDF has issued an advisory for travelers on crossing borders with comic book materials that is available here as a Word document, and here as a PDF file.