Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Changing of the Guard at CBLDF
New Board Officers Elected

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund elected new officers at its Board of Directors meeting at July's Comic-Con International. Founder Denis Kitchen retired from the Board, and will be replaced as President by Chris Staros, publisher of Top Shelf Productions. Milton Griepp was elected as the organization's new Treasurer, succeeding Frank Mangiaracina. Peter David, John Davis, Neil Gaiman, Frank Mangiaracina, Greg Ketter, and Louise Nemschoff were also re-elected to serve another term on the Board of Directors.

Kitchen's retirement from the Board marks the end of an era for the Fund, which he founded 18 years ago. "The challenges facing comics are different from when I founded the Fund," Kitchen said. "In the eighties, comics were still fighting for respectability and it was perhaps easier for them to be stigmatized as kid stuff. Two decades later, comics have attained a certain respectability, but are facing
new sets of challenges. I think it's fitting that the generation directly facing these challenges, led by Chris Staros, a publisher after my own heart, should be the ones standing up to them."

Chris Staros recalls, "Back in '97 I wrote Denis Kitchen to tell him that one day, when I've earned my place in comics, I'd love to serve on the CBLDF Board of Directors,' as I've always believed in the absolute importance of its mission. For two years I've had the pleasure of serving on the Board under Denis, and have witnessed first hand what an amazing asset he's been in defending the First Amendment
rights of our industry. It'll be tough to fill the shoes of the founder of the Fund, but I'm honored to take over as President, and look forward to working with the entire community in this role."

Milton Griepp's election as Treasurer was received as good news by Kitchen who said, "I'm delighted that Milton is the organization's new Treasurer. He brings a particular corporate expertise and extensive experience in non-profit fiscal management that I'm certain will help the Fund grow even stronger in the future."

Kitchen adds, "I look forward to continuing my support of the Fund from the other side of the table. I feel that I'm leaving the organization in good hands, with an active Board under the leadership of Chris and Milton, and a strong office under the management of Charles Brownstein. I'm confident that the Fund can only become stronger as it confronts the challenges on the horizon."

I've only been a member of the CBLDF for a short while, but have been quite impressed with its organizational skills. This changeover seems pretty smooth, and will hopefully help the group improve its standing in the years to come.

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