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 thecomics field in 1994 when he published "The Staros Report," afanzine dedicated to promoting "the most intelligent and innovative"graphic novels in the business. He published four editions of "TheStaros Report" during which time he became the American art anddistribution agent for Eddie Campbell and Gary Spencer Millidge. Atthe Small Press Expo in 1997, he partnered with Brett Warnock aspublisher of Top Shelf Productions, becoming one of the firstAmerican small press publishers devoted entirely to the publicationof graphic novels. Today Top Shelf has published and representedover 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 ExecutiveDirector Charles Brownstein. "From the start of his comics career,he's been a vocal advocate for the graphic novel's viability as botha creative and commercial enterprise. He has also been aconsistently positive voice for the comics field. His passion forthe art form, keen understanding of the business, and vestedinterest in protecting the rights of comics authors and retailers toprovide a broad range of expression make him ideally suited tofurther the Fund's mission in the coming years."
"Five years ago," recalls Chris Staros, "I remember writing DenisKitchen to tell him that `one day, when I've earned my place incomics, I'd love to serve on the CBLDF Board of Directors.' I'mhonored to now serve in this capacity, and am looking forward toworking 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 itextremely vulnerable to politicians and prosecutors trying to makenames for themselves on the often overzealous moral groundof `protecting the children.' It is here that the First Amendmentbattle lines are drawn and precedent setting cases are determined.That's why it's critical that we all support the CBLDF in any way wecan."