Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has welcomed VIZ Media, publisher, distributor and licensor of Japanese and global content in North America, as the organization’s newest corporate member. VIZ Media additionally supports CBLDF by this week co-releasing the Manga Book Club Handbook, a resource designed to help libraries and retailers unite their communities over manga. Digital copies of the handbook are available at http://cbldf.org/resources/manga-book-club-handbook/
"We are proud to support Comic Book Legal Defense Fund by becoming a corporate member," says Kevin Hamric, VIZ Media Senior Director. "Their proactive initiatives to inform and educate the public about manga, and their efforts as an advocate for readers, educators, and retailers of all types make them a vital organization. We are proud to contribute to their work!"
The aims of the CBLDF are described:
CBLDF provides legal and educational resources to protect the freedom to read comics. The organization is a partner in Banned Books Week, the Kids’ Right to Read Project, Free Comic Book Day, and other national institutions that support intellectual freedom and literacy. CBLDF’s work extends from courtrooms to classrooms to conventions, and CBLDF defends the freedom to read by providing letters of support in book challenges, challenging unconstitutional legislation, and delivering lectures and programs about current and historical censorship to audiences all over the world.
Noteworthy in CBLDF's history with manga, in 2012 the organization was at New York Comic Con to raise funds and awareness of a case in which an American citizen faced criminal charges in Canada for manga brought into the country on his laptop. For those who could not make it to this important talk, full audio and lengthy article CBLDF's Defending Manga panel was posted online.
As his laptop booted, a custom official noticed a manga/anime drawing of a provocatively posed girl appeared on the screen. “The agents saw my wallpaper and their eyes lit up when they saw an art book page, of a girl in summer.” Ryan was quick to add, “She wasn’t nude or anything.”
Still, the agent said, in a serious tone, “You should really not bring this stuff into this country.”
Ryan nodded, still unconcerned. “Two hours later, I was put into detention.” The customs officials kept asking Ryan about the images on his computer. “The customs agents really had no idea what they were looking at or what to do.”
Of particular concern was an image entitled “The 48 Positions: Moe Style.” The image was a parody image of “The 48 Sumo Positions,” done as “The 48 Sex Positions.” The Moe style of animation features a style of cute characters and was brought to prominence in series like Sailor Moon. The image Ryan had featured tiny super-deformed images of characters doing the act — these images did not even have genitalia. Brownstein interjected that “It’s clear to us what this was. But, the inspectors believed the characters to be four-year-olds.” Still, he stressed that this was not a photograph with real people in it, “No children were hurt in the creation of this drawing.”