From October 27 to September 3, the American Library Association, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and a dozen other organizations made up of creators, publishers, teachers and journalists will be celebrating Banned Books Week. Well, maybe "celebrating" is the wrong word for a 33 year-old campaign designed to raise awareness of censorship by championing books that were challenged or banned from libraries across the country, but there's at least one good reason to have a good time with it.
To mark the occasion, the folks over at Humble Bundle have launched a pay-what-you-want collection of banned and challenged comics, including Jeff Smith's Bone, Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neil's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Keiji Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen and more --- complete with reasons why they were challenged.
In case you don't have it written on your calendar, May 4 kicks off Children's Book Week, which means that it's time once again to decorate the Children's Book Tree, carve up a turkey with a copy of Watership Down and, of course, send your sweetheart a lovely children's bookentine. Or... or maybe you should buy books for kids? Yeah, it's probably that one.
Fortunately, the folks over at Humble Bundle have made it very easy: For the next two weeks, they're offering up a whole lot of comics that are great for younger readers on their usual pay-what-you want setup, including books from Archie, Dark Horse, Image and more - including an amazing full-color Usagi Yojimbo original graphic novel by Stan Sakai.
While the CBLDF's primary mission is legal defense (as per their name), they also offer valuable educational tools. This includes Raising a Reader! How Comics & Graphic Novels Can Help Your Kids Love To Read, a guide aimed at parents and educators. Written by Dr. Meryl Jaffe and featuring art by Raina Telgemeier and Matthew Holm, this great resource teaches adults how to engage kids in the comics medium. While a US version has been available for a while now, the CBLDF is doing a new US printing as well as their first ever UK printing (in British English). Both versions will be available in May.
Censorship is a serious issue. It's one of the reasons that we here at ComicsAlliance always show our support to organizations like the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and rally behind creators who have been subjected to governmental restrictions on their work.
Occasionally, though, there are incidents of people pushing to get books banned that slide right past concerning and directly into the world of hilarious ineptitude.
Such is the case with Reverend Phillip Missick of Texas's amazingly named King of Saints Tabernacle Church, who pushed for the Cleveland, TX public library to remove manga like Matsuri Hino's Vampire Knight from its library, owing, of course, to it being a demonic product of Satan that would drag otherwise saintly children directly into the gaping maw of Hell itself. That, of course, is nothing new. What makes it amazing is that he didn't stop there, going so far as to declare pretty much everything around the manga to be the product of Satan, including a few Harry Potter toys, a bouquet of dried roses, and the actual room itself to be "occultic and demonic."
With the rise of digital comics, one of the biggest sticking points for consumers has been the idea of ownership, but this summer, we're seeing a big move towards a DRM-free model. The latest publisher to step up to the plate: Dynamite Entertainment, which launched a new digital storefront today, offering comics for download in PDF format.
In celebration of their launch -- and of their tenth anniversary -- Dynamite has thrown a couple of extras into the launch. First, they've put a selection of first issues on sale for ten cents each, including Vampirella, The Boys and The Trial of Sherlock Holmes. Second, they're donating 10% of Dynamite digital's profits for the first month to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
We've written about the Humble Bundle before here at ComicsAlliance, but let's be real here: It's kind of the perfect idea. Being able to pay what you want to grab a whole cartload of comics while also supporting a charity is a setup that has literally no downside, and it's almost impossible to take advantage of -- especially when it's something like the new Boom! Studios bundle.
For the next two weeks, you'll be able to pay what you want for a massive amount of downloadable comics while also supporting the good work of the Comic Book Legal defense Fund. And, if you pay at least $15, you'll get ComicsAlliance favorites like Lumberjanes, The Midas Flesh and Bee and Puppycat thrown in for good measure.
The interesting thing about this particular bundle is that it includes some very recent comics. Books like Lumberjanes #4 and Midas Flesh #8 were only released this month, and RoboCop #2 actually came out in stores today. Being able to get them here digitally is a pretty big deal.
I like comic books a lot, and since I tend to fall pretty close to a Scrooge McDuckian philosophy when it comes to spending money, I like getting them as cheap as I possibly can. And because I've taken superhero comics pretty seriously ever since I was a kid, I've also tend to be pretty into helping people out whenever I can. That's why I'm always glad when something like the Dynamite 10th Anniversary Humble Bundle comes across my desk and gives me the opportunity to get a gigantic stack of comics for whatever I want to pay, while also getting the money to some very good causes.
In this case, it's well over 100 pages of comics and a 328-page art book from Dynamite's past decade of publishing, including Grant Morrison and Mark Millar's Vampirella stories, Gail Simone's relaunch of Red Sonja and a collection of Alex Ross's art for the publisher for around $15, with the proceeds going to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Doctors Without Borders.
When it comes to the holiday gift-giving season, comic book readers are notoriously difficult to shop for. I mean, most of us are down at the shop buying our favorite stuff every single week, so when the time comes for people who like us to get us something we want, well, a lot of times we already have it. That’s why we’re stepping in with a public service, bringing you comics-related items sure to make the season brighter, whether you’re browsing for a gift or just looking for something to drop hints about so that you don’t get stuck with a random assortment of back issues again.
Around the holidays, it's always nice to remember that it's the season of giving, and often, doing the right thing for others is the best gift you can give.
When you do the type of work that the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund does -- protecting the First Amendment rights of creators -- some of the top talent in the industry will do what they can to support. One of the latest examples comes courtesy of Brandon Graham, James Stokoe and Simon Roy, as the three artists sketched bookplates for the CBLDF, and the results are pretty great.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund booth is always a necessary stop at Comic-Con. Their table is covered with great comics signed by great creators, and purchases go to a very important cause. They also always boast an impressive list of exclusives and other items, and this year is no different. If you swing by the CBLDF table, you can pick up an exclusive Adventure Time cover by regular AT contributor Chrystin Garland, a print of a graphic from Super Graphic author Tim Leong detailing why certain comic books are banned in libraries, and a "Bill Gaines Was Right" t-shirt, depicting the legendary EC editor who famously defended First Amendment rights in his testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954. You can check out all three below.
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