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CBLDF News: Jim Lee benefit update, Mile High’s Rozanski named Defender of Liberty

by  in Comic News Comment
CBLDF News: Jim Lee benefit update, Mile High’s Rozanski named Defender of Liberty

Official Press Release

ITEM! Jim Lee Benefit Signing Redux

Over 500 fans came through the doors of the Mile High Comics Mega
Store in Thornton, CO to meet Jim Lee last Saturday. The signing was
the payoff of last winter’s Jim Lee benefit auction, wherein the
wildly popular artist auctioned himself off to do a signing to raise
money for the CBLDF. Lee signed for 5 hours all the while shaking
hands and answering questions about his work on Batman, WildC.A.T.S.,
upcoming projects, and his commitment to the Fund. Rich Koslowski,
cover artist of Busted #14 and author of Three Fingers and The Three
Geeks was also signing. The day’s event raised approximately
$2,600 for the CBLDF, bringing the total fundraising from the Lee
benefit above $11,000!

“This is unprecedented,” raves Fund Director Charles
Brownstein. “Between Jim’s original auction and Chuck’s
subsequent support, this signing has proved to be the among the most
successful one-day benefits in Fund history. In fact, it’s
probably the most successful fundraising signing in comics

Following the signing Jim Lee went back to his hotel to give his
signing hand a rest while frequent CBLDF volunteer Rowan Rozanski
took Brownstein over to the Mile High warehouse to meet up with the
winners of seats at the Jim Lee Dinner Party. The Mile High
Warehouse is a collector’s dream filled floor to ceiling with
important comics from the medium’s century long history. Along
the walls one sees some amazing original art, most notably a suite of
Pogo drawings by Walt Kelly and an early Cerebus page by Dave Sim.
Apart from comics it also boasts one of the most impressive private
collections of Native American pottery in the United States. The
Mile High warehouse is not open to the public, so this was a rare

When all parties had met at the warehouse, the group was off to the
Palm restaurant where the winners of the seats at the dinner party
­ Mark Gould, and his 10-year-old son Harvey, from Liverpool, UK;
Charles (Chuck) Daly of New Jersey; Jeff Herman; and Arv Donovan of
Colorado met Lee, Koslowski, Mile High VP William Murakami, Chuck and
Rowan Rozanski, and Brownstein ­ had an extraordinary steak and
seafood dinner at the Palm in downtown Denver. Before the entrees
were brought out, the waitress tied a lobster bib around Jim
Lee’s neck which he promptly removed and began drawing on ­ a
picture of a certain caped crusader with a lobster bib customized to
his particular specs. Across the table 10-year-old Harvey took the
cue to start drawing on paper he’d brought with him. He capably
drew his own version of Batman. “That’s pretty good,” Lee
said. “Just make sure you have all the proper trademark and
copyright information on there,” he joked.

If you couldn’t make it to the signing there are still some
artifacts from this memorable day floating around, including 500
Batman issues Lee signed for, with a portion of
the proceeds benefiting the CBLDF; and some original drawings and
signed comics upcoming in CBLDF eBay auctions.

The CBLDF extends its thanks to Lee, Koslowski, the Rozanski family,
and the entire Mile High Comics staff who made the signing a
memorable, well-run success that raised much needed funds for the
CBLDF’s legal work on behalf of the First Amendment in comics.

ITEM! Rozanski is 2003 Defender of Liberty!

As last Saturday’s Jim Lee signing party began, Fund Director
Charles Brownstein announced that the CBLDF Board of Directors has
selected Chuck Rozanski to be the 2003 Defender of Liberty. Rozanski
joins past winners Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, George
Perez, Brian Pulido as recipients of the Fund’s highest honor.

Rozanski described the announcement to his readership in his weekly

“When the time came for the autograph party to begin, I followed
Jim Lee out to the signing area and prepared to make the welcoming
announcement. To my surprise, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Director
Charles Brownstein co-opted my role, and began speaking to the huge
crowd. I didn’t particularly mind this action on Charles’s part, as
the entire Jim Lee signing was a benefit for the CBLDF, thought up by
Jim Lee, and then later organized by Charles. It had surprised me,
however, when Charles had told me a month prior that he was actually
going to be coming to the signing. While I like Charles quite a bit,
and greatly enjoy seeing him at the various comics conventions we
both attend, it seemed a bit much for him to fly all the way to
Colorado just to witness a single-day signing.

“What I had no inkling of, however, was that I was the subject of
a conspiracy. To my utter shock and amazement, Charles began speaking
not about the Jim Lee signing, but rather about me. He told the crowd
that he had flown to Colorado to make the first public announcement
that I had been chosen by the Board of Directors of the CBLDF as the
recipient of this year’s DEFENDER OF LIBERTY award, the highest honor
the CBLDF can bestow. In winning this award I joined past winners as
exemplifying in the CBLDF board’s opinion the highest dedication to
protecting the rights of free speech and expression in the comics

“Suffice it to say, I was stunned. It simply never entered my
mind that such a prestigious award could ever be received by a comics
retailer. While I have worked very hard to promote the CBLDF, it was
never with any thought in my mind but to try and help beat back the
forces of censorship and repression. Protecting those members of our
community who are threatened with lawsuits, fines, and even
imprisonment for creating and selling comics that others (in their
own infinite wisdom…) find offensive, was easily sufficient enough
motivation for me to give generously of my time and money for the
CBLDF. It has always been my thought that when the forces of
repression attack any one of us, they are ultimately seeking to
diminish the free speech rights of us all. As a leader in the comics
retailing community, I refuse to sit by idly and allow that to
happen. Being proactive in the cause of freedom can be expensive in
many ways, but I’ll keep doing it, if for no other reason than I feel
that I owe it to my own children to not leave them a world with fewer
freedoms than the one I inherited from my own parents.”

Rozanski will be presented with the Defender of Liberty statue during
the Eisner Awards ceremony on Friday July 18th at Comic-Con
International in San Diego.

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