After the Geek & Sundry panel was over, we had quite the walk from the Hilton to the other side of the convention center for a Comic Book Legal Defense Fund panel. We ran into friends on the walk. We both walked in the same general direction as we were heading a similar direction. Once we finally got back into the convention center, we went our separate ways to go to our respective panels.

Once we made it in to the room for the CBLDF panels, we were surprised to find that the panel in progress was none other than one of the artists for the Walking Dead, Charlie Adlard.

I will say this, I caught some excellent panels that I was never planning to see. Both American Mary and Charlie Adlard were panels that I caught because they were before a panel I did want to see.

Charlie Adlard, an artist for the comic “The Walking Dead” draws a zombie for a CBLDF panel. Picture by Craig Gordon

I must say, it was pretty awesome to see one of the Walking Dead artists drawing live. He is incredibly talented. As he was continuing to draw, he talked about how drawing characters can be second nature for him. Just like many things when you do it repeatedly. What I really liked to hear is that the panels he enjoyed drawing most were panels that were conversation. The comic script always tells you what to draw during action, but during conversations it allows for the artist to really stretch their creative muscles as they try to figure out how a character would act during the conversation.

Now, there are certain phrases that make me happy. There aren’t many, but I do like some. One of I those phrases is McGuffin as it’s a phrase that Alfred Hitchcock came up with. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, the McGuffin is a motivator for the protagonist where he would be willing to do anything for it, even kill. It’s a plot device. However, it’s not a commonly used term. At least I’ve not heard it all that often.

As Charlie Adlard continued his drawing and panel, he continued to talk about his inspirations in comic. It was interesting to hear what sort of things influences artists. He finished off his panel by finish off the drawing he was working on. It wound up in the CBLDF auction.

After the Charlie Adlard panel was a panel about defending manga. I hadn’t realized that manga and anime was coming under fire that strongly. Charles Brownstein talked about the history of Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the persecution of comic artists for creating comic art that was considered obscene. One of the early cases was against the artist R. Crumb (who spent a portion of his career in San Francisco).

Manga started coming under fire in 2000 largely due to the difference in social mores between the US and Japan. The first titles that came under fire are two notorious hentai titles, “Lord of the Overfiend” and “Demon Beast”. The case largely focused around obscene content in “children’s” entertainment (as comics were largely defined… and I believe still are).

Megaman, picture by Craig Gordon

Then came the Protect Act of 2003. In many ways, it did a lot of good. It also was broad enough to cover comics or manga. (For more on the PROTECT Act, look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PROTECT_Act_of_2003 .) The PROTECT Act was often used to prosecute anime and manga (like US v. Handley: http://cbldf.org/about-us/case-files/handley/ ). While talking about US v. Handley, there was the discussion of art and porn. Whether you can consider manga and anime as prosecutable exploitation of children as there are no real children being exploited.
He went on to talk about the Ryan Matheson case that happened in Canada. Charges were dropped in May. Ryan Matheson was there to give his accounting of everything that happened. The trial started in 2010 and was just dropped in May by the Canadian government. It took a lot of courage for him to recount everything that he went through. It looked like there were certain things that he was uncomfortable talking about. He made it through, none the less. He stood up for his convictions regardless of the situation and he triumphed.

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: http://cbldf.org/
Charlie Adlard: http://www.charlieadlard.com/

(Part 3 will be posted tomorrow)

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