Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund

Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund
Formation 1987
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund is a Canadian nonprofit organization, created in 1987 to protect the free speech rights of comics creators, publishers, retailers, and readers, by helping to cover legal expenses in the defense of cases where its directors feel those issues are at stake.[1][2][3][4][5]


The Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund was begun by writer Derek McCulloch, Vancouver comics convention organizer Leonard S. Wong, student and community organizer Liz Schiller, and Paul Stockton of Strawberry Jam Comics to assist with the legal defense of Comic Legends, a Calgary, Alberta comic shop whose owners were charged with selling obscene materials.[6] The CLLDF raised approximately $3000 to aid in the owners' defense, bringing Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth to Calgary to testify as an expert witness in the trial.[7] The trial ended with a conviction and a sentence totaling $3,000 in fines.[8][9] The CLLDF supported an appeal.[10] The conviction was not overturned, but the sentence was reduced to a nominal fine.[11] As part of this effort, the organization published the books True North and True North II as fund-raisers.[12]

In later years, the organization made financial contributions to support Little Sister's Book and Art Emporium in its legal dispute with Canada Customs over imported comics, and paid for an expert witness whose testimony assisted in the acquittal of Marc Laliberte, a fanzine publisher in Windsor, Ontario.[11]

In 2011, the organization, which had been mostly dormant for twenty years, became involved in a case involving a U.S. citizen visiting Canada, whose laptop computer had been searched by Canada Customs and who was arrested and charged with possession of "child pornography" based on the comics illustrations found there.[13] In coordination with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a U.S. organization with similar goals, which became involved because of the defendant's citizenship and international elements of the legal issues, the CLLDF raised funds for his defense and to promote awareness of the legal issues involved in the case.[14][15][16] The organization contributed US$11,000 toward his $75,000 legal expenses;[17] charges were dropped.

To facilitate fundraising, CLLDF formally incorporated in 2011 as a nonprofit organization. At the same time, the Fund expanded its Board of Directors from three (McCulloch, Stockton, and Wong) to five, adding retailers Jay Bardyla and Jennifer Haines.[18]

See also


  1. "Vancouver Comic Con this weekend", News 1130, Mike Lloyd, Nov 10, 2011
  2. Heater, Brian. "San Diego Comic Con 2015: The Interviews". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  3. Johnston, Rich. "Canadian Custom Charges Against Manga Owner Dismissed After Two Years". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  4. Reid, Calvin. "Preview Night: Looking for Books At Comic-Con". PWxyz, LLC. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  5. McMillan, Graeme. "What You Should Pick Up on Free Comic Book Day". Wired. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  6. "Canadian Comic Shop Busted". The Comics Journal #118. December 1987.
  7. "Reflections of an Expert Witness". The Comics Journal #125. October 1988.
  8. "Canadian Shop Loses Obscenity Case". The Comics Journal #126. January 1989.
  9. "Obscene comics bring fine". The Lethbridge Herald. November 15, 1988.
  10. "Comic Legends Obscenity Case in Appeal". The Comics Journal #130. July 1989.
  11. 1 2 "Canada’s Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund (CLLDF) reforms – appeals for assistance in conjunction with the CBLDF"
  12. CLLDF at the Grand Comics Database
  13. "Toronto Draws Tintin", AV Club, Max Mertens, November 7, 2011 Archived November 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. "Arrested For Possession Of Manga?"
  15. Sue Carter Flinn (July 4, 2011). "Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund reforms to help U.S. man charged with child pornography". Quill & Quire.
  16. "The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: Can Comics Send You to Jail?"
  17. "Criminal Charges Dropped in Canada Customs Manga Case"
  18. "The Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund announces new directors", Heidi MacDonald, The Beat, November 10, 2011
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