CBLDF News: Michigan Case Results, SPX Fund Raising

Official Press Release

ITEM! Michigan Harmful to Minors Case Concludes

The CBLDF welcomes a legal decision that makes it clear that a new state law in Michigan regulating the display of material that is "harmful to minors" will not force retailers to alter theway they currently sell constitutionally protected comic books.

In January, the CBLDF joined six booksellers, the Great Lakes Booksellers Association and others in filing a lawsuit charging that the new "harmful to minors" law violated First Amendmentrights because it was so vaguely written that retailers be charged with violating the law for displaying a wide range of constitutionally protected material that might be "harmful."

The Fund and plaintiffs were concerned because the law, which was approved last year, provides up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine for anyone who allows a minor to examine "harmful"works. On Sept. 2, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor dismissed the complaint. However, in her decision, she made it clear that the law only affects books, magazines and other material that have "harmful" material on their covers. She also declaredthat a bookseller cannot be punished if a minor is found reading a"harmful" work in the store as long as he or she takes stepsto correct the situation when it is discovered. She also made it clear that work with serious literary value does not need to be segregated.

"Judge Taylor dismissed our complaint, but she also eased our concerns," Jim Dana, executive director of the Great Lakes Booksellers Association, said. "The new law will not change theway booksellers in Michigan do business."

The Michigan bookstores that challenged the law are Athena Book Shop in Kalamazoo; Books & More in Albion; Lowry's Books, with locations in Three Rivers and Sturgis; Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor; Schuler Books, Inc. with locations in Grand Rapids, Okemos, Lansing, and Walker; Shaman Drum Bookshop in Ann Arbor. The other plaintiffs were the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the Freedom to Read Foundation, and the International Periodical Distributors Association.

The plaintiffs are represented by Herschel P. Fink of Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn LLP, in Detroit, and Michael A. Bamberger of Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal in New York.

ITEM! SPX Breaks Fundraising Record

During the first weekend of October, 2,400 cartoonists and readers from all over the world descended on Bethesda, MD for this year'sSPX where a record-breaking $22,000 was raised for the CBLDF!

Chartered to promote awareness and education about art comics and to raise money for the CBLDF, SPX has in its ten years become the premiere venue for cutting edge comics in the United States. This year hundreds of cartoonists and publishers exhibited, including Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, Bries, Alternative Comics, Drawn & Quarterly, and scores of others. The CBLDF was set up as well, and hosted signings by guests Mike Mignola, Jeff Smith, Kyle Baker, Peter Kuper, and Paul Karasik.

"Every year the SPX committee goes out of their way to build abigger and better show, and they did a great job with this tenthone," says CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein. "Thequality of comics being exhibited was extraordinary, and the guest list included what are literally some of the world's finestcreators."

Brownstein continues, "The SPX community was especially generousat this show. Our auction raised just under $4,000, while Jeff Smith helped us raise nearly $3,000, and Mike Mignola raised nearly $2,400. On top of that, the donation from the convention itself totaled $7,500, and that doesn't even count generous donationsfrom supporters like Green Brain Comics and some of our individual members. This was definitely a great show that is really helping the Fund in a big way!"

ITEM! Queen & Country Character Auction Raises $1,000

While Greg Rucka's new novel A Gentlemen's Game is earningraves from the likes of Entertainment Weekly, his next novel is earning big bucks for the CBLDF. Last week the Fund auctioned off the chance to be a character in the next, still to be titled Queen & Country novel, and the winner was Chuck Riess of Santa Clara, CA. Chuck won the auction for $887.77, then bumped his own bid up to $1,000! The last time we auctioned off a character in a Q&C book, the winner became a recurring character in the series. We can'twait to see what Greg does this time!

In addition to the auction, Greg is offering another cool incentive for his fans. If you purchase A Gentleman's Game prior to October 15th, 2004, and mail the dated receipt to him, he will automatically send you an originally designed signed and numbered bookplate. This will be a one of a kind item, only available through this contest, and will feature original art by Steve Rolston, one of the Queen & Country comic artists. Don't forget to include your clearly printed name and mailing address.

Additionally, if you send your receipt prior to 10-31-04, you will be entered into a drawing for the following:

A complete set of the Queen & Country hardcover editions, covering the entire comic book series up to issue 24. The hardcovers are collectibles, and were made available to retailers on an initial order basis only. Several of the hardcovers are difficult, if not now impossible, to find. This set includes: Operation: Broken Ground (issues 1-4), Operation: Morningstar (issues 5-7), Operation: Crystal Ball (issues 8-12), Operation: Blackwall (issues 13-15), Operation: Storm Front (issues 16-20), and Operation: Dandelion (issues 21-25), as well as Queen & Country: Declassified Vol. 1.

Greg will be giving five sets away, so there are five chances to win.

Send entries to:

3527 NE 15th Ave

PMB 113

Portland, OR 97212

Conan the Barbarian Joins Marvel's 2099 Future

More in Comics