The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) welcomes graphic novel publisher Chris Staros as a member of its Board of Directors. Staros joins Peter David, John Davis, Neil Gaiman, Milton Griepp, Denis Kitchen, Greg Ketter, Frank Mangiaracina, and Louise Nemschoff in overseeing the course of the non-profit organization’s battles to defend the First Amendment rights of the comics community.
After a decade in the hi-tech software industry, Staros entered the
comics field in 1994 when he published “The Staros Report,” a
fanzine dedicated to promoting “the most intelligent and innovative”
graphic novels in the business. He published four editions of “The
Staros Report” during which time he became the American art and
distribution agent for Eddie Campbell and Gary Spencer Millidge. At
the Small Press Expo in 1997, he partnered with Brett Warnock as
publisher of Top Shelf Productions, becoming one of the first
American small press publishers devoted entirely to the publication
of graphic novels. Today Top Shelf has published and represented
over fifty graphic novels, including notable titles such as Goodbye,
Chunky Rice, From Hell, Box Office Poison, Monkey Vs Robot,
Speechless, and Creature Tech.
“Chris is an important addition to the Fund,” says CBLDF Executive
Director Charles Brownstein. “From the start of his comics career,
he’s been a vocal advocate for the graphic novel’s viability as both
a creative and commercial enterprise. He has also been a
consistently positive voice for the comics field. His passion for
the art form, keen understanding of the business, and vested
interest in protecting the rights of comics authors and retailers to
provide a broad range of expression make him ideally suited to
further the Fund’s mission in the coming years.”
“Five years ago,” recalls Chris Staros, “I remember writing Denis
Kitchen to tell him that `one day, when I’ve earned my place in
comics, I’d love to serve on the CBLDF Board of Directors.’ I’m
honored to now serve in this capacity, and am looking forward to
working with the CBLDF on a much more direct basis than before.”
Staros continues, “Comics is the last truly free artistic medium.
Yet the fact that the industry is relatively small makes it
extremely vulnerable to politicians and prosecutors trying to make
names for themselves on the often overzealous moral ground
of `protecting the children.’ It is here that the First Amendment
battle lines are drawn and precedent setting cases are determined.
That’s why it’s critical that we all support the CBLDF in any way we
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