Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
Formation 1986
Purpose Protect the First Amendment rights of comics creators, publishers, and retailers
Headquarters New York, NY
Executive Director
Charles Brownstein

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) is an American non-profit organization formed in 1986 to protect the First Amendment rights of comics creators, publishers, and retailers covering legal expenses. The Executive Director is Charles Brownstein, who has served in that capacity since 2002.[1]

The CBLDF is supported by many big names of the industry; the board of directors includes Chris Staros, Peter David, and Neil Gaiman. Fund Comics, More Fund Comics, and Even More Fund Comics are compilations of short work by famous artists sold to support the CBLDF. Additionally, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab offers a line of perfumes whose profits go directly to the CBLDF.[2] Popular artists such as comedian Bill Hader,[3] cartoonist Jeff Smith,[4] and comic book artist Frank Miller[5] have expressed support for it.

The CBLDF is a sponsor of Banned Books Week; and also works with libraries, helping to keep graphic novels on their shelves. In the past they have partnered with such organizations as the Kids Right to Read Project, the American Library Association, and the Office of Intellectual Freedom as part of this mission.


CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein speaking at the 2012 New York Comic Con

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund began as a means to pay for the legal defense of Friendly Frank's comic shop manager Michael Correa, who was arrested in 1986 on charges of distributing obscenity.[6] The comic books deemed obscene were Omaha the Cat Dancer, The Bodyssey, Weirdo, and Bizarre Sex. Kitchen Sink Press released an art portfolio of pieces donated by comics artists; proceeds were donated to Correa's defense. First amendment attorney Burton Joseph defended Friendly Frank's and ultimately had the conviction overturned. Denis Kitchen officially incorporated the CBLDF in 1990 as a non-profit charitable organization with capital left over from Correa's defense fund, and Burton Joseph became their legal counsel in 1996. Since then the Fund and Burton Joseph have provided advice and legal assistance in many cases and incidents.[7] In 1991 the CBLDF got honoured by the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award.

The Fund publishes a quarterly newsletter called Busted! : the official newsletter of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. OCLC 41042960

On September 29, 2011, it was announced that the CBLDF acquired intellectual property rights of the Comics Code Authority seal from the now-defunct Comics Magazine Association of America; the sale coincided with Banned Books Week. The CBLDF intends to use the seal in merchandise through licensing agreements, with proceeds from the licenses benefitting the CBLDF.[8]

Since 2008 the CBLDF has published an annual comic book, The CBLDF Liberty Annual, to which many major artists and writers, including J. Michael Straczynski, Garth Ennis, and Richard Corben, have contributed.

Notable cases

See also


  1. "Staff". Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
  2. "Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: Smell the Neil Gaiman Collection". Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. February 1, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-06-22.
  3. "Bill Hader for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund". YouTube. April 19, 2008.
  4. "Jeff Smith for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund". YouTube. April 22, 2008.
  5. "Frank Miller for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund". YouTube. April 22, 2008.
  6. Thompson, Maggie. "April 21, 1954: Mr. Gaines Goes to Washington," "The 1900s: 10 biggest events from 100 years in comics," (Dec. 12, 2005).
  7. "R.I.P. Burton Joseph, First Amendment Attorney" ICv2 (4 April 2010), accessed 4 April 2010
  8. Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Press Release: "CBLDF Receives Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval", September 29, 2011.
  9. Morrisard, James A. (March 4, 1998). "Comics Relief - CBLDF Comes to Legal Aid of Comic-Book Artists, Publishers, and Sellers". Baltimore City Paper.
  12. "Cartoonist Kieron Dwyer Sued By Starbucks". Archived from the original on 2001-02-04. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  14. George Gene Gustines (May 6, 2007). "When Picasso Went Down To Georgia". New York Times. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  15. CBLDF To Serve As Special Consultant In PROTECT Act Manga Case October 9, 2008
  16. Iowa Collector Charged for Allegedly Obscene Manga October 10, 2008


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