Official Press Release
Northampton, MA - The Board of Directors of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) has selected Charles Brownstein as its new Executive Director. Brownstein becomes the Fund's fourth full-time director, replacing the recently departed Chris Bleistein.
Brownstein has been one of the more prolific comics journalists of the past decade. He entered the field in 1994 as the writer and publisher of the interview magazine Feature. In three years Brownstein self-published fourteen issues of the magazine, capturing the insights of some of the field's brightest talent during the most tumultuous period in the direct market's history.
In 1998 Brownstein became Programming Director for Comic-Con International where he was responsible for organizing panels and seminars for CCI: San Diego, Comic Book Expo, Pro/Con, and APE. He returned to journalism in 2000, writing for magazines and web sites including The Comics Journal, Comics Buyer's Guide, Comic Book Resources, and TheComicStore.com. He also served as articles editor for the Expo Anthology, published to benefit the CBLDF.
In 2001 Brownstein was the principal reporter for Comicon.com's SPLASH, where he covered the entire convention circuit and broke several of the year's most important news stories. Brownstein also contributed stories to Publisher's Weekly and to the inaugural edition of Wizard Edge.
Last year he also served on the Expo's Steering Committee as Programming Director and consulted in both formal and informal capacities for a variety of comics-related causes.
"We're excited to have Charles join the Fund," said CBLDF President Denis Kitchen. "I've worked with Charles on an industry committee for the past two years and have been impressed with his fresh ideas, intellect, high energy level and round the clock work ethic. I can't wait to see what this combination does for our organization."
"I'm excited by the opportunity to work for the Fund," Brownstein said. "At this stage in comics history and national affairs, a strong CBLDF is more important than ever. We don't yet know what the cost of free speech is in the 21st Century, but we need to ensure that the Fund is there to help preserve it regardless of price."
"Because of their relatively low cost of production," Brownstein added, "Comics can provide a diversity of free expression unmatched by other media. As comics attain a higher profile, the Fund must grow as a strong advocate and defender of this powerful and unique art form. With the help of the comics community we hope to achieve this goal by creating dynamic fundraisers and educational publications that will elevate the profile of medium, the knowledge of the community, and the solidity of the Fund's war chest."
Brownstein's selection was made without any dissenting board votes. The seven person board currently consists of writer Peter David, distributor John Davis, writer Neil Gaiman, retailer Greg Ketter, publisher/artist/agent Denis Kitchen, retailer Frank Mangiaracina and intellectual property attorney Louise Nemschoff. An eighth member, Susan Alston, the CBLDF's first full-time Executive Director, recently resigned from the board.
Gaiman offered a wry endorsement following the board's vote. "On my last hellish signing tour," he noted, "Charles somehow managed to do an interview with me in San Francisco at midnight in a store, after a long day's signing. To this day I have no idea quite why or how it happened. I do know he couldn't have taken 'No,' 'Absolutely no,' or 'Completely out of the question' as answers, because he got his interview, leaving me both slightly resentful (it came out of my sleeping time) and a bit impressed. I'd like those powers of not giving up and going away to be used on behalf of the CBLDF."
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1986 as a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization to protect constitutional rights and to educate the comics community on its First Amendment rights. Tax-deductible donations and inquiries should be directed to the CBLDF at P.O. Box 693, Northampton, MA 01061. For more CBLDF news and information, pick up a copy of "Busted!," the Fund's free periodic newsletter, or visit the CBLDF web-site at http://www.cbldf.org.
For a look at some of the interviews Brownstein has conducted for CBR, click the links below: