In partnership with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), Oni Press – the multiple Eisner and Harvey Award-winning comic book publisher – is proud to announce its sponsorship of this year’s annual CBLDF Welcome Party & Art Auction on Thursday, July 20th at The Westgate Hotel in San Diego, CA.
In tandem with the annual fundraising event that draws hundreds of comics industry creators, publishers, educators, and advocates each year, Oni Press will be using the occasion to debut a new initiative in support of the CBLDF entitled FIGHT CENSORSHIP, READ COMICS! and unveil several new pieces of artwork commissioned specifically for the new initiative from an array of prominent artists and featuring the graphic design of award-winning, London-based designer Tom Muller (House of X), including:
Free for CBLDF members and the general public with a suggested voluntary donation at the door to support the CBLDF’s ongoing work in supporting the cause of free speech and creative expression, the annual party will be hosted at The Westgate Hotel’s Terrace Under the Stars from 8 pm to 12 midnight PT. (An SDCC badge is NOT required to attend.) On behalf of Oni Press, the first 50 attendees will receive a free “Secret Edition” variant cover of the latest issue of the publisher’s science-fiction anthology, XINO #2, featuring artwork by rising star Nick Cagnetti (Pink Lemonade); while the first 200 will receive a free FIGHT CENSORSHIP, READ COMICS! two-piece button set:
The evening’s festivities will also feature the return of the CBLDF’s annual San Diego Comic-Con Silent Art Auction, featuring comic art and other collectibles donated by a wide array of supporting contributors from the worlds of comics, video games, and entertainment:
ABRAMS COMICARTS | BECKY CLOONAN | DARK HORSE COMICS | DEVOLVER DIGITAL & GOOD SHEPHERD | DSTLRY | DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT | JUSTIN GREENWOOD | IDW ENTERTAINMENT | MARIA WOLF LOPEZ | ONI PRESS | VALHALLA ENTERTAINMENT
During the evening’s events, Oni Press will also be offering 50 signed copies of the GENDER QUEER: DELUXE EDITION hardcover with a bookplate signature by creator Maia Kobabe with all funds benefiting the CBLDF. High-quality, 11×17″ prints of Kobabe’s FIGHT CENSORSHIP, READ COMICS! illustration will also be available at the Oni booth (#1829) through the week with a portion of all proceeds benefiting the CBLDF.
“Each day brings another reminder that we’re in the midst of a generational surge in challenges to comics nationwide, but thanks to the support of the entire comics community, we know we’re going to win,” said Jeff Trexler, Interim Director of the CBLDF. “All of us here at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund are grateful to Oni Press for its generous sponsorship of this year’s CLBDF Welcome Party and Art Auction – and for its unwavering commitment to protecting freedom of expression through the comic arts!”
“Yet again, the comics industry finds itself battling an incessant wave of censorship dedicated to stifling creativity, marginalizing creators, and diminishing the impact of comics and graphic novels with the power to change minds and lives,” said Hunter Gorinson, Oni Press Publisher & President. “In 1954, in 1986, and again in our present moment, our medium has faced this same reckless compulsion many times – but now, more than ever, it’s vital that all corners of the global comics community come together to reject the impulse toward censorship that has risen up to target important works like GENDER QUEER and many dozens more. Thanks to the ardent support and unrelenting work of the CBLDF, we know it will not succeed.”
Oni Press’s support of the CBLDF’s signature San Diego event follows months of unprecedented legal challenges to graphic novels and other forms of comic art that have now spread through more than a dozen states. Maia Kobabe’s award-winning graphic memoir, Gender Queer, has been placed at the epicenter of many of these challenges at the state and local level and was previously the subject of a Virginia obscenity lawsuit, which was successfully defended by the CBLDF and ruled to be unconstitutional in 2022. Oni Press is proud to reciprocate the CBLDF’s support at this critical time in the history of free speech for the comics medium.