Several people emailed us this from Harlan Ellison’s forum:


For those of you following my lawsuit against Gary Groth and Fantagraphics, you may relay this to Groth’s websites and/or all the other comic news websites:

The Fantagraphics attorneys, a large and prestigious firm as steely and merciless as Latham & Watkins — the firm that defended AOL in my successful litigation against them — known for the ploy commonly referred to as “papering out the opposition” — entered a gigantic, voluminous, very expensive Motion to Dismiss in Federal District Court, attempting to have my complaint dismissed at the git-go, before it could proceed to discovery stage and thence to trial.

We went to court today. The court could either kick my ass into the street and I would be in the path of Groth’s attorneys seeking costs…in the hundreds of thousands of dollars…which I don’t have…or…

WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The case proceeds. After more than 30 years of putting up with Groth and Kim Thompson and Fantagraphics’ calumny…

We proceed toward balance in the universe. Thank you thank you Charlie Petit and John Carmichael, Knights of Jurisprudence!

Spread the word. But be polite.

David P. Welsh at The Comics Reporter has links to the motion to dismiss and Ellison’s response.

The defendants had attempted to get the suit dismissed on the ground of California’s anti-SLAPP legislation. A SLAPP, or “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation” is a lawsuit which attempts to silence critics. Groth and Thompson’s legal team claimed that the Ellison defamation suit constituted an attempt to silence them via the threat of the cost of a lawsuit.

Or something like that. What is now clear is the differing PR tactics of the Groth/Thompson and Ellison camps. FBI releases piles and piles of legal documents which we keep swearing we will go through one of these days. Ellison sends out big war whoops which a kindergartner could understand.


  1. 1) “git-go” isn’t how it’s spelled
    2) Harlan’s a little too excited to be saying “WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”, when all the judge decided is that it’s not a frivolous case. Call me when there’s a real verdict, Ellison.

  2. Brian makes the correct point. This was no “win,” this was a “we didn’t lose, not that we won’t in the future.”

    However, this is not to trivialize the event of avoiding summary judgment or a motion to dismiss. Many, many cases are decided in whole or in part at this point. Technically, this is the judge narrowing the facts and issues for trial, and the court chose not to eliminate the possibility that this might not be a SLAPP suit.

    It’s a conservative ruling, but likely correct. This is the judge simply evincing skepticism that the suit is wholly frivolous. That does NOT mean the suit will not be ultimately determined to be without merit. It can be a bargaining tool; I’ve had defendants in cases offer to settle after a client survived summary judgment or other motion to dismiss, largely in order to avoid the expense (and danger) of trial.

  3. All I know is that Unca Har still owes $ 40 from that last AOL fracas. Plus he said that he’d give me 20 points on top of that too.

    He better start putting new books out.



  4. Alan –

    I was only being fastidious. I was more than happy to donate to his cause.

    Harlan is a like a mentor to me.

    I’m not going to break anyone’s legs over a couple of Jacksons.

    However – a has been porn star who milked me for seven of them for a lousy piece of tin stripper pole – that’s a different story.



  5. Harlan did send me a response after the AOL lawsuit offering me my money back with some additional money for my trouble. He didn’t (and doesn’t) know me from Adam, but he kept his word.