ACLU Takes the Fight for Civil Liberties to the Comic Book Pages

Official Press Release

NEW YORK- From Iron Man being appointed President Bush's Secretary of Defense to the release of Marvel's "Civil War" series, comic books today are bringing political issues directly to their readers. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union - the real-world organization on the frontlines of the battle to protect civil liberties - is putting on a mask and cape and venturing into the comic book world.

"Young people are the future of our democracy, and comic books have inspired young people for generations," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "Defenders of Freedom is a new way for us to tell our stories and motivate the next generation of civil libertarians to stand up for their rights."

Released as a limited-edition comic book in print and in digital format on Wednesday, September 5, Defenders of Freedom features two original stories written and illustrated by a team of seasoned professionals. "Blue Collar," written by Jimmy Palmiotti and inked by Rick Burchett, tells of a man targeted by a racist police officer. "A Question of Obligation," illustrated by Mark Badger and written by Matthew Manning, is about what happens when the government gets in the way of civil liberties.

Defenders of Freedom also features a special introduction by Romero, written and inked by Patty Scanlon, and a back cover by Pulitzer Prize winner Art Spiegelman, who brought comic books out of the toy closet and onto the literature shelves with his masterful Holocaust narrative Maus.

Part of an ongoing effort to reach a new audience of young people, Defenders of Freedom will be distributed in a number of new ways, extending the message far beyond traditional comic book shelves. Building on the increasing popularity of web-based comic books, Defenders of Freedom will be available in digital format on StandUp (www.aclu.org/standup), the ACLU's Web site for young people. The graphic novel, which is a limited edition, will also be handed out via "guerilla marketing" street teams in seven U.S. cities (Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Madison, WI, and Columbus, OH) and the ACLU is distributing print copies to its members and supporters to read and share with youth and new audiences.

Copies of Defenders of Freedom are available for review. Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU, is available for interview. To schedule an interview, or request a review copy, please contact: Elizabeth Govea/Susan Celia Swan – Swan LLC Media, (415) 814-3031) or elizabeth@swanllc.com.

The American Civil Liberties Union

The American Civil Liberties Union works daily in courts, legislature and communities to protect the individual liberties, rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the laws of the United States. Founded in 1920, the ACLU is a nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization with more than 550,000 members. It has offices in all 50 states and employs more than 150 permanent staff attorneys and 2,000 cooperating attorneys, litigating more than 6,000 cases annually.

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