CBLDF SDCC Welcome Party!

Oni Press Presents 2024’s Annual Comic Book Legal Defense Fund San Diego Comic-Con Welcome Party to Officiate the Return of EC Comics
Co-Sponsors CGC, Kickstarter, The Nacelle Company, Mutant, and Maestro Media Join SDCC’s Premier Comic Industry Party and Fundraiser in Defense of Free Speech and Creative Freedom
PORTLAND, OR (July 8, 2024) –  In partnership with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), Oni Press – the multiple Eisner and Harvey Award-winning publisher of groundbreaking comics and graphic novels since 1997– is proud to announce the return of the CBLDF’s annual San Diego Comic-Con Welcome Party at The Westgate Hotel on Thursday, July 25th from 8 PM to midnight PT. This year’s event will mark the release of Oni’s much anticipated Epitaphs from the Abyss #1 – the first official, all-new EC Comics title in nearly 70 years, honoring the work and legacy of legendary EC publisher and free speech pioneer William M. Gaines.
Joining Oni Press – now in their second year as a flagship sponsorship for San Diego’s premier comic industry party and fundraiser in defense of free speech – is an impressive array of co-sponsors from the worlds of comic books, graphic novels, toys, games, collectibles, and more, including theCertified Guaranty Company (CGC),Kickstarter, The Nacelle Company,Mutant, and Maestro Media
“In 1954, U.S. Senate hearings aimed at censoring comics led to the creation of the Comics Code – and with it, the demise of the pathbreaking EC Comics line,” observed CBLDF Interim Director Jeff Trexler. “Seventy years later, the launch of new EC titles is a powerful reminder that despite the occasional setbacks, creative expression will always prevail. Our deepest thanks to Oni Press, CGC, Kickstarter, The Nacelle Company, MUTANT, Maestro Media, and of course, our invaluable CBLDF members and the entire fandom community for making it possible for us to help defend the medium we all love.”
“Few things cast a longer shadow on the history of our industry than the untimely and unjust demise of the legendary EC Comics at the hands of pro-censorship forces,” said Oni Press President & Publisher Hunter Gorinson. “So there is some small measure of justice in celebrating a new chapter for one of the most celebrated and influential publishing houses in American history alongside the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, who were created in part to prevent similar injustices from ever recurring. As the CBLDF credo reads, [EC Publisher] ‘Bill Gaines Was Right,’ and we’re indebted to our incredible cast of co-sponsors for defending the right to free expression and creative liberty for the American art form Gaines and EC Comics helped to define – doubly so at this pivotal and precarious moment in the cultural landscape that carries so many echoes of the past.”
Together, this impressive assortment of sponsors will each be generously donating an array of limited-edition SDCC collectibles and promotional giveaways for CBLDF Welcome Party gift bags – free to the first 100 attendees who make a donation of $20 or more to benefit the CBLDF at the door. Additionally, Oni Press is also offering extremely limited quantities of CGC-graded 9.8 editions of the Biker Mice from Mars #1 1:50 variant cover – featuring the return of The Nacelle Company’s animation icons as depicted by Eisner Award-nominated artist Francis Portela (Green Lantern) – for donations of $125 or more; and CGC-graded 9.8 editions of the Epitaphs from the Abyss #1 1:100 variant cover – featuring the first appearance of EC’s three all-new horror hosts by acclaimed artist Dustin Weaver (Avengers) – for donations of $250 or more.
Featuring live DJ sets through the evening by Mutant co-founders Mo Shafeek and Spencer Hickman, the event is free for CBLDF members and $20 for the general public at the door to support the CBLDF’s ongoing work in supporting the cause of free speech and creative expression. (An SDCC badge is NOT required to attend.) The evening’s festivities will also feature the return of the CBLDF’s annual San Diego Comic-Con Silent Art Auction, featuring comic art and other collectibles donated by a wide array of supporting contributors from across the worlds of comics and entertainment.
Oni Press‘s support of the CBLDF‘s signature San Diego event follows a year of unprecedented legal challenges to graphic novels and other forms of comic art that have now spread through more than a dozen states, including Maia Kobabe’s award-winning graphic memoir, Gender Queer, which has been placed at the epicenter of many of these challenges at the state and was successfully defended by the CBLDF and ruled to be unconstitutional in 2022. Oni Press is proud to reciprocate the CBLDF‘s support at this critical time in the history of free speech for the comics medium.


The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protecting the legal rights of the comics community and furthering expressive freedom through the comic arts. Since its founding in 1986, the CBLDF has helped defend against countless attempts to arrest comics retailers and creators, to enact new legislation aimed at restricting access to comics, and to have graphic novels and manga removed from public schools and libraries. Among the CBLDF’s most notable cases: its landmark victory in 2022 defending  the Oni Press graphic novel Gender Queer against a court petition to have the book banned from distribution in the state of Virginia.

About Oni Press
Founded in 1997, Oni Press has a 25-year history as one of the industry’s most respected and acclaimed publishers of award-winning comic books and graphic novels with titles including Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim, K. O’Neill’s Tea Dragon Society, Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt’s The Sixth Gun, Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer, Ezra Clayton Daniels’ Upgrade Soul, Brenna Thummler’s Sheets trilogy, and many hundreds more. In 2019, Oni Press merged with Lion Forge Comics – the Eisner Award-winning independent comic book publisher founded by Academy Award-winning producer and entrepreneur David Steward II – to create one of the largest, independent libraries of comics content anywhere in media. The Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group now exists as a publishing subsidiary of Steward’s diversified global media company, Polarity.
The Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group publishes more than 60 original and licensed graphic novels annually, in addition to an extensive list of periodical comics.
About EC Comics

As the birthplace of TALES FROM THE CRYPT, MAD MAGAZINE, WEIRD SCIENCE, and more of the most influential and celebrated comic series ever published, EC Comics has cemented itself as one of the central nerves of American pop culture with a legacy that spans more than seven decades. From 1944 to 1956, EC – established as “Educational Comics” by founder M.C. Gaines and later rebranded “Entertaining Comics” under the leadership of Publisher & Editor William M. Gaines – led a creative renaissance for the comics industry that, for the first time, elevated the once-derided comics medium into the echelons of English literature and high art. Heralded as “one of the great explosions of vox-pop literature” by Time Magazine and “fiercely honest, politically adversarial, [and] visually masterful” by The Comics Journal, EC’s line of comics books – which collectively sold more than 10 million copies annually at their peak – entertained and informed in equal measure, using brilliantly crafted tales of horror, science fiction, satire, and battlefield conflict to critique and subvert America’s dark impulses toward violence, racism, inequity, environmental destruction, and war.
Forcibly shuttered by the Comics Code Authority – a pro-censorship group specifically tasked with eradicating EC’s illuminating influence from the American comic book industry – in 1956, EC’s unique brand of subversive storytelling lived on through the continued success of MAD Magazine, which would fuel American counterculture through the death of Publisher William M. Gaines in 1992. EC’s titles and stories have been adapted in a number of media – including the long-running HBO’s long-running TALES FROM THE CRYPT franchise of television series and feature films – and continue to be celebrated by multiple generations of comic creators, filmmakers, comedians, and musicians as a seminal influence.
Today, EC Comics’ canon of classic stories can continuously be found in print through new editions at Dark Horse Comics, TASCHEN, Fantagraphics, and IDW Publishing. In 2024, EC announced a new partnership with multiple Eisner and Harvey Award-winning publisher Oni Press to produce the first all-new EC Comics titles in nearly 70 years.
About CGC
Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) revolutionized the comic book marketplace when it was founded in 2000 by providing clear, objective and impartial assessments of authenticity and grade. Today, CGC is the world’s largest and most trusted third-party grading service for comics, trading cards, video games, home video, magazines, concert posters and related collectibles with more than 15 million collectibles certified since 2000.
About Kickstarter
Kickstarter, founded in 2009, is the go-to crowdfunding platform for creative projects. Over the past 15 years, more than $8 billion have been pledged to creative projects on Kickstarter, helping creators get the funds they need to bring their ideas to life.
About Nacelle Company
Established in 2017, The Nacelle Company, founded by Brian Volk-Weiss, is an American diversified media company headquartered in Los Angeles, California, dedicated to producing quality entertainment. Nacelle has evolved into a leader in the pop-culture space through its scripted and unscripted productions, consumer products, records, distribution, and podcasting divisions. Nacelle’s comedy division, Comedy Dynamics, is a worldwide leader in the stand-up comedy space, having produced and distributed specials for Ali Wong, Tom Segura, Iliza Shlesinger, Pete Davidson, Jim Gaffigan, Tiffany Haddish, Larry the Cable Guy, and more. Nacelle is currently producing the NacelleVerse, an interconnected universe of animated shows that include RoboForce, which is co-produced by Brian Volk-Weiss and Seven Bucks Productions’ Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, and Brian Gewirtz, as well as their Biker Mice from Mars animated series, which is co-produced by Brian Volk-Weiss, Cisco Henson, Matt Kravitsky, and Michael Goodman from Nacelle, Maximum Effort’s Ryan Reynolds, George Dewey, Kevin Hill, and Ashley Fox, as well as Fubo’s David Gandler and Pamela Duckworth. The company’s hits include Netflix’s Emmy-winning docuseries, Down To Earth with Zac Efron and the NAACP Image award-nominated Kevin Hart’s Guide To BlackHistory, as well as Netflix’s The Movies That Made Us, The Toys That Made Us, Behind The Attraction on Disney+, Sony’s Mad About You, Icons Unearthed on Vice TV, CW’s Discontinued, and History’s Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek. The Nacelle Company develops, produces, and distributes content across multiple media platforms including Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, HBO, Discovery, BET+, A&E Networks, Peacock, Hulu, Vice, Viacom, History, and many more.
About Mutant
Mutant is a pop culture art, music, and collectibles shop headed by creative director veterans Spencer Hickman, Eric Garza, Mitch Putnam, and Mo Shafeek and the leadership of CEO Jenny Jacobi. A division of the genre-bending production company SpectreVision and co-founded by Talon Entertainment Finance CEO Steven Demmler and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League, Mutant is a beacon of creativity and innovation in the realm of art and collectibles. With an unwavering dedication to celebrating underserved fandoms and a profound passion for film, TV, art, music, video games, and pop culture, Mutant’s mission is to captivate and delight enthusiasts worldwide. Mutant collaborates closely with esteemed studio partners such as Disney, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Netflix, and independent creators, as well as a diverse array of visual artists and musicians, to curate an unparalleled selection of limited-edition artwork, soundtracks on vinyl, and collectibles that resonate with the hearts and minds of fans. www.madebymutant.com

About Maestro Media

Founded in 2015 by industry veteran Javon Frazier, Maestro Media is a full-service strategic
product and business development firm specializing in driving innovation and growth in the
media and entertainment industry. Maestro Media works with creators and entrepreneurs to
deliver experiences and products directly to consumers through advocacy and positive brand
sentiment, with previous crowdfunding projects amassing more than $15MM in total funding. In
2021 alone, Maestro spearheaded the seventh most successful tabletop game in Kickstarter’s
history, The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls Requiem, surpassing $6M in funding. For more
information, visit maestromedia.com.