Month: March 2012

Arizona Legislature Passes Sweeping Electronic Speech Censorship Bill

Yesterday, the Arizona legislature passed Arizona House Bill 2549, which would update the state’s telephone harassment law to apply to the Internet and other electronic communications. The bill is sweepingly broad, and would make it a crime to communicate via electronic means speech that is intended to “annoy,” “offend,” “harass” or “terrify,” as well as certain sexual speech. Because the bill is not limited to one-to-one communications, H.B. 2549 would apply to the Internet as a whole, thus criminalizing all manner of writing, cartoons, and other protected material the state finds offensive or annoying. The Bill is currently on Governor Jan Brewer’s desk awaiting her decision on whether to veto or sign the bill.

Media Coalition
, a trade association protecting the First Amendment rights of content industries, whose membership includes CBLDF, has been active in opposing the bill. On March 14, Media Coalition sent a memo to the Senate Rules Committee regarding constitutional infirmities in H.B. 2549. Yesterday they sent a letter to Governor Brewer urging her to veto the bill.

If passed, the law could create vulnerabilities for cartoonists and publishers who publish material online intended to shock, satirize, and criticize. Beyond the example of the Mohammad cartoons listed in the Media Coalition letter, the taboo-pushing work of cartoonists like R. Crumb, Johnny Ryan, and Ivan Brunetti would potentially be vulnerable to prosecution, as could incendiary works such as Frank Miller’s Holy Terror and Dave Sim’s Cerebus. Similarly, the culture of message boards, within and beyond comics, would be imperiled. With more titles released digitally each week, and an extremely active online ecosystem of professional and fan exchange, laws like this one are extremely worrisome for the creators, publishers, and readers of comics.

CBLDF Attends Anime Detour in Minneapolis This Weekend!

This weekend the CBLDF will be setting up at Anime Detour in Minneapolis, where we’ll be presenting a talk on manga censorship, as well as setting up a table to distribute literature and accept donations. CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein will represent the Fund, and host the panel, which is set to happen on Saturday morning at 10:30 AM. He’ll be joined by Ryan Matheson, who courageously spoke out for the first time about his legal ordeal in Canada earlier this month after we announced that all criminal charges against him had been dropped. They’ll be joined on the panel by Greg Ayres and Studio OnY.

Please come by the dealers room and say hello. We’ll have a booth set up offering incentives including the “Manga Is Not A Crime” button and a raffle for signed items from Yoshitaka Amano, Camilla d’Errico and more!

Anime Detour starts on Friday, March 30 and runs through Sunday, April 2 at the Doubletree by Hilton in Bloomington, MN.

Tomorrow in NYC: Gone To Amerikay Launch Party!

Gone to Amerikay, the new Vertigo original graphic novel by Derek McCulloch and Colleen Doran, will have a book launch party, benefiting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. McCulloch and Doran will both be at Harbor Lights Restaurant in New York City on March 30 from 6 to 8 pm, celebrating the release of their new book and demonstrating their support of the CBLDF’s mission. All are welcome to join the celebration; admission will be free, though donations to the CBLDF are suggested. There will be complimentary hors d’oeurves, and special guests from the comics community will be on hand to inaugurate Gone to Amerikay. Copies of the book will be on sale, courtesy of Midtown Comics.

One Million Moms Can’t Stop LIFE WITH ARCHIE #16

In spite of an attempted boycott by the American Family Association’s One Million Moms, Life with Archie #16 — which featured the marriage of openly gay character Kevin Keller — sold out in record time. In the official press release from Archie Comics, C0-CEO Jon Goldwater says:

“Kevin will always be a major part of Riverdale, and we’re overjoyed, honored and humbled by the response to this issue,” said Jon Goldwater, Co-CEO of Archie Comics. “Our fans have come out full force to support Kevin. He is, without a doubt, the most important new character in Archie history. He’s here to stay.”

More after the jump…

SLC Nerd and Night Flight Comics Show Their Support for CBLDF

Last weekend, nerds in Salt Lake City gathered for a day of comics, costumes, gaming, and music with the 2012 edition of SLC Nerd, an all-day event embracing nerd culture. The folks with Night Flight Comics were on hand to pass out information about CBLDF and to run a silent auction on our behalf!

CBLDF would like to thank Mimi Cruz, Ben Fuller, the folks at Night Flight Comics, and the staff and volunteers of SLC Nerd for their support! Click through to check out photos of the event!

CBLDF Heads to Seattle for Emerald City Comicon

This weekend (March 30 – April 1), Alex Cox is excited to represent the CBLDF at EMERALD CITY COMICON in Seattle, Washington! Continuing CBLDF’s cross-country marathon of fundraising, we will be in booth #1007 at the Washington State Convention Center. Deputy Director Alex Cox walks you through our plans for signings, incentives, and Membership appreciation items!

IDW Announces Redshirt Contest Winner!

Late last year, IDW Publishing announced the “Be a Redshirt” contest, asking comics fans to make the ultimate Star Trek sacrifice to save their favorite retailer from censorship! Fans boldly went to bat for their favorite shops, explaining why their local comic shop is important to them and their communities. The winner of the contest has been announced: Coarey Trim, from St. Charles, Missouri! He defended his favorite comic book store, The Fantasy Shop, owned by Mike Brodeur. Trim and Brodeur will be featured on a special upcoming variant cover of the Star Trek comic book. Only 300 copies will be printed, 100 of which will go to CBLDF to help us raise the funds we need to fight for your First Amendment rights!

Click through for the official press release…

THIS WEEKEND ONLY: Becky Cloonan & Brian Wood Thank CBLDF Members With A Free CONAN Print!

Brian Wood & Becky Cloonan are thanking CBLDF members by offering this signed, CBLDF exclusive letterpress print featuring work from their run on Conan!

This weekend only, members joining (or rejoining) at the Supporter level, will receive, along with the standard Membership package, this exclusive print, signed by artist Becky Cloonan, and writer Brian Wood, while supplies last. An article about the creation of this beautiful, hand-pressed print can be found here. Quantities are limited, and this thank you offer ends Monday at midnight, or when supplies run out, so join now!

Doonesbury Censorship Fosters Outrage, Debate

In response to the controversial nature of last week’s Doonesbury strips — which dealt with Texas’s mandatory sonogram law — many newspapers moved the strips to the editorial page or online only, or they declined to publish the strips entirely. In response, people across the nation have decried the move, arguing that newspapers should not be allowed to decide what they can or cannot read. Editors across the nation have had to defend their decisions, and several newspaper and online editorials have protested the censorship.

Excerpts from various editorials follow after the jump…

News Roundup: The Ryan Matheson Case

Last week, CBLDF announced that Canadian criminal charges against American comics fan Ryan Matheson had been dropped. In turn, Matheson spoke out on his own behalf in a lengthy statement about how he was treated by Canadian authorities, a statement that imparted the indignation and confusion any innocent comics fan would feel after being exonerated from a crime he or she did not commit.

Click through for a round up of some of the coverage of the story.