Jim Lee benefits CBLDF

October 23 (San Diego, CA): Jim Lee, founder of WildStorm Productions and one of the comic book medium's most celebrated and popular artists, is lending his unparalleled talents to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Starting November 5 and continuing into 2003, Lee will be spearheading a series of fundraisers that will benefit the CBLDF's ongoing mission to defend the First Amendment rights of comic book retailers.

The first auction begins November 5 on eBay, when the Fund offers a benefit signing by Lee, who will fly himself to the winning comic book store at his own expense. At the signing, the winning store will also receive a Jim Lee sketch, followed by dinner with Lee and a small party of the retailer's guests. Fans attending the signing will be able to get their first two books signed for free, with additional signatures and sketches available for a small donation to the CBLDF. The store will also be profiled in CBLDF News and Busted!, the Fund's online and print newsletters. The only cost to the store is their winning bid, which will be a tax-deductible donation to the CBLDF. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Fund's casework.

"Retailers need to be able to display and sell all kinds of comic books without fear of prosecution," Lee says. "The CBLDF is the only group whose mission is to support retailers when they come under attack. Comics retailers are always at risk of grandstanding local authorities who are out to make a name for themselves by busting a store. It's persecution, and a lot of the time it's coming from some very well organized forces. The Fund is there to defend retailers against those forces, so I'm stepping up as a creator to help the Fund help those retailers in need."

Throughout his career, Lee has been a champion for excellence and diversity in comics. Fans are wildly anticipating his run as artist on the iconic series, Batman with writer Jeph Loeb. Their debut issue, Batman #608, lands in stores today as the top selling comic book in America and one of the best-selling issues of the year. As Editorial Director of WildStorm Productions, he continues a decade-long commitment to bringing audiences great comics by the field's most innovative creators.

Lee says, "The breadth and diversity of the comic book marketplace keeps growing every year. If we're serious about continuing that growth, retailers need to be safe to display, promote, and sell all of that diverse product. If we don't want the exposure of comic books to be limited to a retailer's fear of a local prosecutor, then we need to get behind the CBLDF."

"There's a direct connection between retailers and creators, and I feel that the creative community needs to support retailers against prosecution," Lee adds. "By supporting the Fund, we can make that happen. If everyone that's part of comics does their part and donates something, even the smallest donation, then each small part will add up to a gigantic war chest. Ultimately, that's what we need, because, unfortunately, legal battles are very expensive. With this auction and the other cool fundraisers we're planning, I'll be doing my part in helping retailers maintain the freedoms they have."

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1986 as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of First Amendment rights for comic book retailers, publishers, and authors. Donations and inquiries should be directed to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund at P.O. Box 693, Northampton, MA 01061 or info@cbldf.org. More information about the Fund can be found at www.cbldf.org

About Jim Lee:

Cited at the top of Wizard Magazine's "Top Ten Artists" list for November 2002, Jim Lee has been a revolutionizing creative force in the comic book industry since 1987 when he started out as a penciller for Marvel. After a successful run on the Uncanny X-Men, Lee went on to draw the best-selling comic book of all time, X-Men #1, which sold over a million copies. Lee left Marvel to become one of the founding partners of Image Comics and established WildStorm Productions as his publishing operation within the Image collective. In 1998, DC Comics acquired WildStorm Productions. In the ten years as WildStorm's Editorial Director, Lee has overseen the creation of titles that have launched a new generation of comic books including Gen 13, Wildcats, Stormwatch, Planetary, The Authority and many more.

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