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Dec 5 2008 4:57pm

Tonight: CBLDF Member Appreciation Party

From the CBLDF site:

It’s that time of year where the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund says thank you to our friends and members! We hope you can join us on Friday, December 5 for our Member Appreciation Holiday Party at the Village Pourhouse in NYC on 64 3rd Ave at 11th Street.

This party is free for all current year CBLDF members. Because of your support, we marched to victory in defense of Rome, GA retailer Gordon Lee, and we are currently able to come to the aid of manga collector Christopher Handley in Iowa, who faces federal charges for possession of comics the government alleges to be obscene.

Come out to rub elbows with comics' best and brightest, enjoy raffles, giveaways, gift bags and more!

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go (the holiday three-events-in-one-night-extravaganza has begun), but if you’re in NYC and are going, have a great time celebrating free speech!

Dec 3 2008 1:37pm

Around the Web: Book covers galore, Alison Bechdel, and a beautiful collection of vintage posters

Best Book Covers of 2008 - Congratulations to our own Jamie Stafford-Hill, designer of this here website, whose Make Room! Make Room! cover made the list!

Interview with Alison Bechdel - The author of Fun Home and The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For discusses the effect Fun Home had on her family, and what she’s up to now. Via Jenny Davidson.

Gris Grimly’s Holiday Cards - Just think of the face your great aunt will make when she gets one of these in the mail! Poor Trevor, indeed.

15 strange and wonderful staircases - Architectural beauties from around the world. Via DarkRoastedBlend.

Doctor Who should be a woman - Female scientists weigh in at The Telegraph.

New clues for Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5 - Shiny.

[Below the fold: dyson spheres, a collection of phenomenal vintage space tourism posters, why book covers are important, and even more.]

Dec 3 2008 12:48pm

Yay Hentai!

A private comics collector is being charged with possession of manga depicting underage sex deemed “obscene” by the United States government.

On his blog, Neil Gaiman succinctly argues even something as “icky” as manga depicting sex with minors should be defended because, to protect the First Amendment, all speech has to be defended, even if it is on the surface “indefensible.” (He also neatly deals with the canard that banning deviant pornography in some vague way protects children from rape).

Gaiman is talking about defending smut in general. He alludes to, but doesn’t really explore, how deeply upsetting pornography has a natural home on the comics page.

Comics, like books and animation, but unlike film and photography, can tell stories of things that can not be (i.e. supernatural powers, alien worlds, mythical creatures).* That is well known. Less well explored is comics as a place for stories of things that should not be, things that would be illegal, unethical, or just plain morally reprehensible to do with actual actors and models.

Or rather, less well explored in this country. In Japan, pornography involving actual humans is very restricted, so much so that a large percentage of Japanese erotica are comics and cartoons (building on a tradition going back hundreds of years).

[Why pornography is important, below the fold.]

Aug 24 2008 3:36pm

DJ Spooky v. Cory Doctorow: a CBLDF mashup! video

Here, for your enjoyment and edification, the first sixty minutes of Thursday night’s CBLDF fundraiser with DJ Spooky and Cory Doctorow, in seven bite-size parts.

[Lots of video after the jump]

Aug 22 2008 12:20pm

Spooky/Doctorow Preview

Thursday night’s CBLDF fundraiser with DJ Spooky and Cory Doctorow was a great success. The evening started off with DJ Spooky giving a shortened version of the presentation that accompanies his new book, Sound Unbound, followed by a short talk by Cory about issues pertaining to his new book, Little Brother. Afterwards, Spooky and Cory took the stage to discuss shared themes that are important to both their works, such as sharing culture and the third world (both having recently completed trips to Africa), the surveillance state, and the gift economy. They then took some questions from the audience. A more complete video is to come, but in the meantime, here’s a taste of Cory talking about some of the issues that inspired him to write Little Brother:

Aug 21 2008 8:26am

In New York City tonight: Mashing up to defend your rights

Tonight in New York City, at the Helen Mills Theater, 137-39 W 26th St, Cory Doctorow and DJ Spooky will convene for a multimedia mashup benefiting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. From the CBLDF's announcement:

Doctorow will read and discuss the issues behind his bestselling young adult novel, Little Brother. Addressing internet and government security, censorship, and civil liberties in a post-9/11 near-future atmosphere, Little Brother tackles timely issues while telling a story that’s smart, funny, and jam-packed-with-pop culture nuggets. Doctorow “hopes it’ll inspire you to use technology to make yourself more free.” [...]
DJ Spooky joins Doctorow to present concepts from Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture, his new book / literary mixtape collecting writing by artists and thinkers including Brian Eno, Jonathan Lethem, Saul Williams, Steve Reich, Moby, Chuck D, and more. “Young artists regard sound as a language they may freely sample to construct new compositions,” says DJ Spooky. [...]
Tickets for this benefit are available now at, for a $20 donation, while supplies last.
Following the event, DJ Spooky spins a rare small-venue set at Sutra Lounge on 16 1st Ave at 1st Street. This afterparty benefits the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Admission is a $10 donation to the CBLDF or free with pass from the Mashup.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is itself an entirely worthy enterprise, deserving of your support whether or not you can attend this interesting-sounding event.