Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

October 15, 2007

Missed It: CBLDF Board Changes

I almost missed it, which is why this is going all the way near the top of the day's blogging rather than the bottom, but the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) recently announced two new moves regarding its board of directors. Retailer Joe Ferrara of Atlantis Fantasyworld has been named to the office of Vice President, and retailer Chris Powell of Lone Star Comics & has been named to the board. They join a current line-up of President Chris Staros, Treasurer Milton Griepp, Secretary Louise Nemschoff, Peter David, Neil Gaiman, Paul Levitz, and Steve Geppi. Heavy hitters all (okay, save one), and a group designed to fulfill the kind of obligations that one imagines are demanded of such a board in this day and age: rallying retailer support, helping to raise money, working behind the scenes to foster positive opinion towards Fund aims, and to represent the Fund in various public circumstances.

imageHowever, since we're up top, does anyone else out there think IT'S TOTALLY WEIRD AS CRAP that three of the CBLDF board members are Paul Levitz, Steve Geppi and a prominent person from Lone Star Comics? Steve Geppi and Diamond's history as a company that wasn't always friendly to the kind of art that tends to run afoul of local prosecutors was documented when he was named to the board, as was Levitz's more recent tendency to pulp comics runs based on content that might have stood a chance of being protected speech were they backed and fought for.

As for Powell, last I knew Lone Star Comics & was still owned primarily or solely by Buddy Saunders, a noted advocate for comic book ratings labels, both in the past and fairly recently. It's not an issue that's come up recently, but that was once an insanely hot point of contention. Buddy Saunders also wrote a lengthy essay in The Comics Journal in 1990 (the one with the boss Alan Moore cover, #138) decrying comic book violence from mostly a market view point but that also included a suggestion that art translated into societal ills so Werthamian that Bob Levin wrote an entire essay ripping into it and its implications ("Attack of the Salmon-Heads," TCJ #141).

I don't know Powell, and I realize there are fairness issues linking him to Saunders' views. (For that matter, I should say Saunders and Levitz have always been more than cordial and friendly to me; this isn't a personal thing.) But if you had told me in 1991 that 16 years later the CBLDF Board would count 1/3 of its members among people linked in some fashion to such contentious positions, and not on the side you'd think, I would never have believed you.
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink

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