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CBLDF News: Michigan Case Results, SPX Fund Raising

by  in Comic News Comment
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 the
way 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 Amendment
rights 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 declared
that a bookseller cannot be punished if a minor is found reading a
“harmful” work in the store as long as he or she takes steps
to 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 the
way 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’s
SPX 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 a
bigger and better show, and they did a great job with this tenth
one,” says CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein. “The
quality of comics being exhibited was extraordinary, and the guest
list included what are literally some of the world’s finest
creators.”

Brownstein continues, “The SPX community was especially generous
at 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 donations
from 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 earning
raves 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’t
wait 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

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