Oni Press Presents 2024’s Annual Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

San Diego Comic-Con Welcome Party to Officiate the Return of EC Comics

Co-Sponsors CGC, Kickstarter, The Nacelle Company, Mutant, and Maestro Media Join SDCC’s Premier Comic Industry Party and Fundraiser in Defense of Free Speech and Creative Freedom


PORTLAND, OR (July 8th, 2024) –  In partnership with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), Oni Press – the multiple Eisner and Harvey Award-winning publisher of groundbreaking comics and graphic novels since 1997– is proud to announce the return of the CBLDF’s annual San Diego Comic-Con Welcome Party at The Westgate Hotel on Thursday, July 25th from 8 PM to midnight PT. This year’s event will mark the release of Oni’s much anticipated Epitaphs from the Abyss #1 – the first official, all-new EC Comics title in nearly 70 years, honoring the work and legacy of legendary EC publisher and free speech pioneer William M. Gaines.

Joining Oni Press – now in their second year as a flagship sponsorship for San Diego’s premier comic industry party and fundraiser in defense of free speech – is an impressive array of co-sponsors from the worlds of comic books, graphic novels, toys, games, collectibles, and more, including the Certified Guaranty Company (CGC), Kickstarter, The Nacelle Company, Mutant, and Maestro Media.

“In 1954, U.S. Senate hearings aimed at censoring comics led to the creation of the Comics Code – and with it, the demise of the pathbreaking EC Comics line,” observed CBLDF Interim Director Jeff Trexler. “Seventy years later, the launch of new EC titles is a powerful reminder that despite the occasional setbacks, creative expression will always prevail. Our deepest thanks to Oni Press, CGC, Kickstarter, The Nacelle Company, MUTANT, Maestro Media, and of course, our invaluable CBLDF members and the entire fandom community for making it possible for us to help defend the medium we all love.”

“Few things cast a longer shadow on the history of our industry than the untimely and unjust demise of the legendary EC Comics at the hands of pro-censorship forces,” said Oni Press President & Publisher Hunter Gorinson. “So there is some small measure of justice in celebrating a new chapter for one of the most celebrated and influential publishing houses in American history alongside the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, who were created in part to prevent similar wrongs from ever recurring. As the CBLDF credo reads, [EC Publisher] ‘Bill Gaines Was Right,’ and we’re indebted to our incredible cast of co-sponsors for defending the right to free expression and creative liberty for the American art form Gaines and EC Comics helped to define – doubly so at this pivotal and precarious moment in the cultural landscape that carries so many echoes of the past.”

Together, this impressive assortment of sponsors will each be generously donating an array of limited-edition SDCC collectibles and promotional giveaways for CBLDF Welcome Party gift bags – free to the first 100 attendees who make a donation of $20 or more to benefit the CBLDF at the door. Additionally, Oni Press is also offering extremely limited quantities of CGC-graded 9.8 editions of the Biker Mice from Mars #1 1:50 variant cover – featuring the return of The Nacelle Company’s animation icons as depicted by Eisner Award-nominated artist Francis Portela(Green Lantern) – for donations of $125 or more; and CGC-graded 9.8 editions of the Epitaphs from the Abyss #1 1:100 variant cover – featuring the first appearance of EC’s three all-new horror hosts by acclaimed artist Dustin Weaver (Avengers) – for donations of $250 or more.

Featuring live DJ sets through the evening by Mutant co-founders Mo Shafeek and Spencer Hickman, the event is free for CBLDF members and $20 for the general public at the door to support the CBLDF’s ongoing work in supporting the cause of free speech and creative expression. (An SDCC badge is NOTrequired to attend.) 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 across the worlds of comics and entertainment.

Oni Press’s support of the CBLDF’s signature San Diego event follows a year of unprecedented legal challenges to graphic novels and other forms of comic art that have now spread through more than a dozen states, including Maia Kobabe’s award-winning graphic memoir, Gender Queer, which has been placed at the epicenter of many of these challenges at the state and 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.

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