One day towards the end of the summer of last year, not long after I was voted by the Board of Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to be its next President, I was shooting the breeze with John Nee, the CEO of Cryptozoic Entertainment in Irvine, California, in his office. In walked Cory Jones, President & Chief Creative Officer, and Scott Gaeta, COO. They had an interesting proposal for CBLDF:
A set of CBLDF trading cards.
It would have regular trading cards.
And bonus autograph cards.
And sketch cards.
Cryptozoic Entertainment would donate their production and publishing services.
I agreed with the Cryptozoic gang that this might be an innovative way to celebrate Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s 25th anniversary in 2011. I pitched it to the Board, and everyone was onboard. Later Diamond Comics Distributors joined up with us too: They waived their fee to distribute the cards.
Now all we had to do was figure out what the set should be. Very quickly, after a whole lot of brainstorming between all of the above and Charles Brownstein, the Fund’s tireless Executive Director, we came up with a plan for the 72 piece regular card base set. In the packs between these cards: bonus sketch and autograph cards.
We started focusing on extremely popular historical trading cards of the late ‘80s and early ’90s, cards published mostly by Eclipse Comics (my comic book Beanworld’s original home) and Kitchen Sink Press (run by Denis Kitchen, who was one of the founders of CBLDF and its first President). I enjoyed those informative trading card sets. I learned a lot about the history of politics, sports, crime, and music reading the backs of those wonderfully illustrated cards.
So we decided that was the direction we were going to go in for the regular cards. Charles Brownstein took charge of the writing and production of the base cards, and I took on the responsibility of contacting creators, lining them up for autograph cards and also securing permission to borrow characters and talent for artist sketch cards.
Charles is a hell of great writer. In fact, he wrote the essay in The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen which is a truly wonderful accounting of the life and times of Denis Kitchen. It’s nominated for an Eisner this year.
At some point, I’m sure Charles will chime in and tell you about the research and creative process he used to write the cards. It wasn’t easy. But he did it. He’s told the history of the struggle to defend the comic book industry from government censorship from the post World War II public comic book burnings, through the 1950s congressional hearings set off by Dr. Fredric Wertham’s infamous book, Seduction of the Innocent, all the way through to the modern day. All on the back of 72 wonderfully-illustrated trading cards.
More details as we go along but all this yakkety-yak was just a way to set it up so you can get a sneak preview of some of the “snap-shot” storytelling of the art for the front of the regular cards for CBLDF Liberty Trading Cards:
From top to bottom the artists are:
Dan Goldman: “Doctor Wertham!”
Jason “J.Gonzo” Gonzalez: “Fandom Carries the Torch!”
Tim Hamilton: “Trouble in Rome, GA!”
Enjoy and see you again on Thursday!