Diamond's Steve Geppi joins CBLDF Board of Directors

During last night's presentations at the Diamond Retailer Summit, theComic Book Legal Defense Fund announced that Diamond's founder andPresident, Steve Geppi, has accepted a seat on the group's Board ofDirectors. Geppi joins Chris Staros, Peter David, Neil Gaiman, MiltonGriepp, Greg Ketter, Frank Mangiaracina, Louise Nemschoff, and PaulLevitz in overseeing the direction of the non-profit organization.

A veteran of the comic book industry since the earliest days of thedirect sales market, Geppi brings over three decades of experience inevery facet of the business to the CBLDF Board. Today he heads abroad family of companies that encompass many aspects of the field,including Diamond Comic Distributors, Diamond Book Distributors,Diamond Select Toys, Diamond International Galleries, and GemstonePublishing.

Geppi is approaching his position as a Director of the Fund with hischaracteristic enthusiasm and passion for excellence. Mr. Geppicommented, "Due to the nature of Diamond's business, we're one of thenatural focal points of the industry. Because of this, I've been ableto interact with an amazing cross section of publishers, retailers,and creators. If being in this unique position I can assist the CBLDFby reaching out with its message, heightening the Fund's exposurewithin the business community, and recruiting new members -- then it'sdefinitely worthwhile for me to be a part of this importantorganization."

He concluded, "Since we all read, enjoy, and love comics, it'stempting for us to paint our real-life foes as two dimensional.They're not. In many cases, they're not even really villains. They do,however, represent a variety of important issues that need to beaddressed in a serious fashion. The CBLDF is the kind of organizationthat will take on the issues of the day, and with all of our help, itwill prevail."

CBLDF President Chris Staros comments, "The addition of Steve Geppi tothe CBLDF board makes us a stronger organization that will be betterable to address the needs of our community. He and his companies arepillars of the comics community, and his commitment to that communitywill make us better able to face whatever threats to the FirstAmendment come our way. It will be an honor to serve with him in theyears to come."

About Steve Geppi

Born in the "Little Italy" section of Baltimore, Diamond ComicDistributors, Inc. president and CEO Stephen A. Geppi has risen tothe pinnacle of the comic book, toy and book distribution business.Throughout his meteoric rise in business, he has never lost sight ofthe importance of faith, family and community service.

Mr. Geppi entered the comics business in 1974 when he opened Geppi'sComic World, which he soon expanded to four stores. By 1982, hisdistributor was failing and he decided to move into distribution. Injust over a decade's time Mr. Geppi expanded his comic bookdistribution business across North America and Europe.

After more than 20 years of service, Diamond has emerged as theworld's largest distributor of English-language comics and relatedmerchandise, with a network of strategically-located distributioncenters throughout the world. Today Diamond Comic Distributors servesas the exclusive distributor for many of the comic industry's leadingpublishers including DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics andImage Comics. Diamond has also expanded into the toy and bookdistribution businesses with the successful start-up of Diamond SelectToys and Diamond Book Distributors.

In addition to his distribution businesses, Mr. Geppi moved into thepublishing arena with the creation of Gemstone Publishing, Inc. andnow publishes The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, "the comicindustry's bible of pricing" for back issues. Today, Gemstone alsopublishes classic character Disney Comics.

In January of 1995, he opened Diamond International Galleries, whichis the headquarters for an almost limitless array of comics, originalcomic art, posters, animation cels and backgrounds, drawings, oils,antique toys - literally, the world's finest and most comprehensiveinventory of collectibles and memorabilia. The gallery drawsvisitors from all over the world, and has become a popular place tohost events and parties.

A recipient of many prestigious awards, Mr. Geppi has been honorednumerous times in his hometown for his professional accomplishmentsand his tireless philanthropy.

About the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

The CBLDF was founded in 1986 as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organizationdedicated to the preservation of First Amendment rights for comic bookretailers, publishers, and authors. Since its establishment, the Fundhas provided free legal advise and counsel in dozens of FirstAmendment cases and has participated as amicus in several FirstAmendment related "Friend of the Court" briefs. Donations andinquiries should be directed to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund atP.O. Box 693, Northampton, MA 01061 or info@cbldf.org. Moreinformation about the Fund can be found at www.cbldf.org

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