Friday, March 18, 2011

The Secret Origin of CBLDF Liberty Trading Cards!

This story begins with my friend and colleague, John Nee. I first met John when when WildStorm and Top Cow were still one entity called Homage Studios and I was on a three week temporary consulting gig that turned into six years at Image Comics.

During those years , John and I did lots of business together--some visible to the naked eye and many more behind the scenes. After WildStorm was acquired by DC we didn't much in the way of business (except this) but we stayed friends. And after we both moved on from our previous positions, we started doing some business-y things together again


About a year ago, John became CEO of a cool new company called Cryptozoic Entertainment. It's just over the hills from where we live. John invited me to come over and take a look and, quite honestly, Cryptozoic blew me away. You can get a taste of how I felt that day by taking a tour yourself, right here. Cryptozoic is young, innovative, brimming with of energy and enthusiasm.

As John Nee had predicted, I hit it right off the bat with Crypto's management team Scott Gaeta, John Sepenuk, and Cory Jones. I was particularly delighted when Cory J told me that Comic Book Legal defense Fund is his favorite charitable cause.

A relationship with Crypto was born.
Technically I'm a strategic consultant.
Of course, none of us is quite sure what that is or isn't, but I'm in and out of the offices a great deal.

Last summer, I was strategically consulting in John Nee's office.
It was right after the issue of Liberty Annual 2010 I edited shipped.
Cory J came in and pitched me an idea.

A set of CBLDF trading cards.
It could have regular trading cards.
And bonus Autograph cards.
And Sketch cards.
The Works.
Cryptozoic Entertainment can donate their production and publishing services.

The Fund said yes.
Diamond Comic Distributors is waiving their fees.

Here's some stuff from the press release:
Irvine, CA—February 28, 2011: Cryptozoic Entertainment™ and the Comic Book
Legal Defense Fund™ have joined forces to protect creativity by collaborating on
a new trading card set. The Liberty Trading Cards set tells the story of the
fight to defend the First Amendment and includes chase cards from the greatest
creators in comics and entertainment. The set will be released in July
2011, with proceeds from the sales benefiting the Fund.

“Cryptozoic is one of the most exciting new companies in pop culture, and we’re thrilled to work with them on this dynamic card project,” says CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein. “Together we’ll be showing how the CBLDF has advanced Free Expression in comics and gathering one of the coolest collections of incentive cards ever assembled.”

The Liberty Trading Cards set will feature a base set
of seventy cards representing the history of comics censorship, from the
Seduction of the Innocent era in the 1950s to the modern day. In addition to the
base set, special hand drawn sketches and autograph cards by some of the top
talent in the comic book world will be featured in this release!
Already signed on to collaborate are Geoff Johns, Neil Gaiman, Darwyn Cooke, Gail
Simone, Mark Waid, Brian Azzarello, Paul Levitz, Denny O’Neil, Frank Quitely,
Phil Hester, and many more.

“The generous response from the creative community
has been overwhelming,” said CBLDF Board President Larry Marder. “The most
impressive gesture has been how many creators are briefly lending CBLDF their
Intellectual Property for this project only. Creators letting us borrow their
characters for these artists to sketch include Jeff Smith, Marc Silvestri, Erik
Larsen, John Layman, Jim Valentino, Matt Wagner, Rob Liefeld, Stan Sakai, Eric
Powell, Mike Richardson, and many others.”

Remember, the First Amendment guarantees the right to Free Expression. It ensures that no American can be persecuted for speaking their political, religious, social, or artistic beliefs. It protects controversial ideas, and has been the subject of many hotly contested battles. The CBLDF fights the battles where comics are contested. It's really going to be a hell of a thing once it's all said and done.

A lot of people are putting incredible amounts of their personal time, energy, and talent into CBLDF Liberty Trading Cards and we thank everyone who is for their generosity and donations.

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