The issue of censorship has been brought up numerous times in the blogs. However, I would like to draw attention to two organizations dedicated to fighting attempts at censorship. These two organizations are the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund (CBLDF) and the Comic Legends Legal Defence Fund (CLLDF). These two organizations are non profit organizations dedicated to assisting individuals being convicted with obscenity charges for possessing comics deemed too obscene for the community.
The CBLDF is centered in New York city, and is focused on protecting individuals in the United States. The organization was originally founded when Michael Correa, the manager of Friendly Frank’s comic shop, was arrested for disseminating pornographic material deemed obscene in 1987. Because some of the works in question were properties of publisher Dennis Kitchen, specifically Omaha the Cat Dancer, and because he felt partially responsible for Correa’s predicament, he helped raise donations from various other publishers and individuals concerned with freedom of speech in order to help fund Correa’s legal defence. Correa’s conviction was eventually overturned and he was acquitted in 1989. The leftover funds raised were used to officially incorporate the CBLDF as a non profit organization in 1990.
Since then, the organization continues to help those in the United States who become victims of censorship attempts relating to comics. The organization has received support from many members of the comics community, such as Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller and Jaime Hernandez.
The CLLDF was created as the Canadian equivalent in 1988 in order to help fund the legal defense for the owners of comic book store Comic Legends, a store in Calgary, who were being charged for distribution of obscenity. Though the organization was unsuccessful in overturning the sentence, a subsequent appeal resulted in a lessening of fines. The organization subsequently became dormant in the following years until it was resurrected in 2011 for the purpose of assisting, in conjunction with the CBLDF, in the legal defence of American Ryan Matheson, who was charged with possessing child pornography after his computer was seized by Canada Customs. The material in question consisted of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha doujinshi and other comics, with no photographic content being possessed. Criminal charges would later be dropped in 2012 as part of a plea deal. Since then, the group continues to function as an official non profit organization.
Anyone interested in helping in the fight against censorship, or if you don’t like having your comics searched at the border, you can make donations to either organization mentioned (specifically the CLLDF if you’re a Canadian citizen). Interesting to note, the CLLDF will be at the Calgary comics expo over the weekend hosting creator signings.