Less than two weeks from now, Comic-Con International will kick off it’s 2009 whirlwind of comics, science fiction, fantasy, horror and who knows what else in beautiful San Diego, California. I know quite a few people who will be there (some as attendees, some as guests), and I wish I could join them, but alas, I am but a simple man with very little money.
However, one thing that I urge anyone going to CCI on this or any year to do is to please donate to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. It doesn’t have to be much, they’ll accept anything really. They do offer some pretty cool shit for your money, though. They sell comic books and limited edition art, some of which are signed by some of your favorite creators (Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, Jeff Smith, the list goes on and on), shirts, statues, tons of amazing stuff.
Why should I donate anything to the CBLDF?
Well, not to answer a question with a question, but do you love comic books? Do you believe in them as a legitimate art form that deserves to be protected from people who still think they’ll “rot your brain”? Do you believe in the first amendment?
Oh, I answered your question with three questions.
Anyway, if you answered yes to any or, as I suspect, all of those questions, then you’ve just answered your own in the process. Taking a quote directly from the CBLDF website:
The CBLDF’s guiding principle is that comics should be accorded the same constitutional rights as literature, film, or any other form of expression.
If you doubt that censorship of comic books and graphic novels has been happening for a very long time, click on over to this page and browse around a bit. Some of these cases are heartbreaking, especially to a life-long comic reader/supporter.
There were over a hundred and twenty-six thousand (thousand) people in attendance of Comic-Con last year. Think if each and every one of those people passed the CBLDF booth and handed them one dollar. Just a dollar, nothing major. A small piece of your overall weekend budget, I’m sure. But if enough people did it, it would make all the difference.
So If you’re attending Comic-Con July 23rd – 26th (with a preview night on the 22nd, remember), drop by the CBLDF booth (they’ll be in slot 1920 this year) and give. Give anything. Buy a t-shirt, buy some signed Neil Gaiman books, if there are any left by the time you get there. Or just hand them a dollar.
EDITED TO ADD:
Another truly worthwhile charity you should look into is The Hero Initiative. Click over to their website and read up on them, they’re wonderful folks.
(they’ll be in slot 907 at Comic-Con this year)
First thing, I suppose, is first. I know there will be a quite a few people reading this blog who may not know who Gordon Lee is. They may not even know what The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is.
For those currently reading:
Give them a browse and get caught up.
For those unwilling to click the above links, Gordon Lee is the owner of a comic book store in Rome, Georgia, who has been previously charged and convicted with selling pornographic materials. In his own store. To adults. Who had asked him for the materials.
This current case, however, involves the alleged incident in which a comic book containing a scene in which Picasso is painting, though in the nude, was given to a nine year old child on Halloween.
If such a thing had happened to my nine year old, I would have been upset as well. But I would have approached the store owner and let me feelings known to him/her. In this instance, however, the law became involved, and Lee was charged with two felonies and five misdemeanors.
This was in 2004. In the four years since, Mr. Lee has experienced the legal equivalent of a roller coaster, involving mistrials, postponements and several other delays.
Well, it’s been announced that Gordon Lee’s case has been dismissed. The link leads to a very interesting, albeit short, Newsarama interview with the Executive Director of the CBLDF, Charles Brownstein.
Granted, the dismissal of the case is not the same as an obvious win, but- Well, Brownstein says it best below:
NRAMA: From the view of the CBLDF, how does a complete dismissal compare to a courtroom victory?
CB: A clean win is a clean win. And this is a very clean win.
It should have never gone this far to begin with.
Four years and over $100,000 of donated money later and the “attempted miscarriage of justice” (as Neil Gaiman called it) that was the Gordon Lee case is finally over. Gordon Lee can return to his daily life unafraid of the authorities watching over him.
It’s just a sad state of affairs. In what is supposed to be a free country, this sort of thing still happens. And the Gordon Lee debacle is but one of many cases that the CBLDF is on a mission to help. Here’s just a few of them in recent years.
If you have the time and the money and want to donate to a worthy cause, please give pause and consider the CBLDF.
Here is a YouTube video of Neil Gaiman making the announcement at last night’s New York Comic Con:
I’ve finished what will be the first of two prologues for the novel this morning. Really, it’s one prologue, in two parts, seperated by a quote page. I would hope to finish a chapter a day from this point on, but I can easily tell the chapters will get longer and longer as I press on. So I can only hope to finish most of a chapter a day from this point on.
I’m really enjoying myself so far.