Official Press Release
At today's Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund announced the unanimous election of Atlantis Fantasyworld owner Joe Ferrara to its Board of Directors. Ferrara replaces long-serving board member Frank Mangiaracina, the Fund's first defendant and owner of B-Bop and Friendly Frank's stores. Mangiaracina retired from the Board of Directors earlier this summer. Ferrara will serve alongside CBLDF president Chris Staros, Vice President Greg Ketter, Treasurer Milton Griepp, Secretary Louise Nemschoff, and at-large members Peter David, Neil Gaiman, Steve Geppi, and Paul Levitz.
Ferrara brings 29 years of retail experience to the Fund's Board of Directors. A well respected advocate for the direct market and the industry at large, Ferrara also serves as the facilitator of the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award, which is given at San Diego each year, and is also a member of Diamond's Retail Advisory Board and the DC Retailer Representative Program.
CBLDF Board Member, and DC Comics President and Publisher Paul Levitz says, "Joe is a perfect voice for the retail community on the CBLDF board--his judgment is respected by his peers, he's a natural leader of his community, and his long commitment to comics is clear. I look forward to working with him in this new role."
Ferrara says the invitation to join the Board of Directors was a humbling experience. "It was an honor to be asked, and very humbling," Ferrara said. "I have a deep respect for everyone on the Fund's Board. They are a very accomplished, intelligent group of people who have all been advocates for our industry, and it's an honor to serve with them"
In addition to his experience as a retailer, Ferrara brings a civic-minded concern for his business community to the Fund. "We all have to be concerned with legal precedent, and the Fund addresses that issue for all of us" Ferrara says. "Legal precedent is a very tricky business. It doesn't matter where you live in the country because case law will affect other cases anywhere in the country and I think it's very important to be a part of an organization that seeks to ensure that our business' interest in diversity and fairness are represented in the outlook and the opinions that shape the laws."
Ferrara believes that the Fund is of paramount importance to the comics business. He says, "The Fund is like catastrophic health insurance or fire insurance to your business. You don't need it until you need it. It's like your lawyer, he may cost you a lot of money, but when you really need him, he is there for you. The Fund serves a very important role whether a retailer is ever directly in need of the Fund or not. Every retailer in my estimation is part of this family that is being looked out for by the Fund. This is a very small industry and what affects one of us really affects all of us. And it's comforting to me to know that if I need the Fund I can pick up the phone. I hope I never have to call the Fund, just like I hope I never have to call my insurance agent, but once in a while the unforeseen happens. We're all in this together and we need the support of the Fund to represent our business interests against unconstitutional laws, and to defend our constitutionally guaranteed liberties when the law affects one of us trying to do responsible business."
Ferrara also hopes to bring his ethic of positive networking and dialogue to the Fund's Board. "Most of what I've been able to accomplish professionally for my business has come through networking and building bridges with people in this industry. It's come from the strength of cooperation, and the cooperative efforts that I've been able to establish with people in the industry and with my customers. It's what gives my business its strength. Those examples of bridge building, strength building with customers retailers, and the industry at large I think is something other retailers would do well to think about, and the Fund is a tremendous way to do that."
"We are thrilled to have Joe join our Board of Directors," says CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein. "Through my various incarnations in the decade or so that I've been in this business, Joe has always been a wise and generous source of insight, knowledge, and advise. He is generous with his time and always open to possibilities that create a better business environment for all of us. This was as true when I was a small fanzine publisher as it is now that I run the CBLDF. It will be a tremendous asset to the Fund to have Joe's brand of openness, energy and wisdom on our Board."