Home News Benefits Lee’s Comics announces Fund Raiser for Fantagraphics at Wonder Con.

Lee’s Comics announces Fund Raiser for Fantagraphics at Wonder Con.


Lee’s Comics is holding a fundraiser for Fantagraphics legal costs in the Harlan Ellison suit at WonderCon:

Lee’s Comics situated at Booth #400 at the San Francisco WonderCon this weekend is holding a fundraising drive for Fantagraphics Books, which was recently sued by author Harlan Ellison. In order to raise money for legal defense, Lee’s Comics will be offering a line of exclusive prints with art by some of the biggest names in comics, such as Alex Ross, David Mack, Mark Shultz, Dan Clowse and others.

100% of the purchase price of these prints will be turned over to Fantagraphics, to help them win this lawsuit. If you like the great comics and books they publish, such as Eightball, The Complete Peanuts, or Love and Rockets, you can help out while getting a great masterwork, by a noted artist, to adorn you home or office.

These prints all feature exclusive art, and are not available anywhere else. The unsigned editions will sell for $20, and the signed editions will sell for $40. They measure 11 x 17, and all but the SPICE jam print are in full, vivid color. They look awesome in a frame. Most of these prints were given away gratis at Lee’s Comics events, and very few remain.

With each print purchase you are automatically entered into a free drawing for a $100 Lee’s Comics shopping spree. It’s good at our stores in Mountain View and San Mateo CA. If you can’t make it to the stores, it’s also good worldwide at our online store, which features hundreds of vintage collectors comics, apparel, preservations supplies and more. By buying one or more prints, you can also chose to be listed as a Friend of Fantagraphics on their webpage, or you can be an anonymous benefactor if you prefer.

Lee’s Comics will also be accepting donations for Fantagraphics. Give as little as a dollar, and help this outstanding publisher in their hour of need. Now is the time to stand up and be counted.

You can see more prints here, here, and here.

  1. I do. :)

    I have a great deal of respect for what Fantagraphics publishes. I like Gary and Kim. But I don’t see this as a First Amendment issue. I see it as two guys poking the wrong bear for way too long and now facing the consequences of their arrogant and foolish actions.

    As for Harlan, I love the guy. He’s been a great friend to me over the years. He’s a writer I admire tremendously. He’s done more good for more people than I could recount, even if I knew more than a fraction of his good works.

    Not that anyone’s asking my advice, but I think Gary and Kim need to stop asking people to pay for their folly and, instead, make nice with Harlan. I’ve always known Harlan to be the most generous of men and, when given the chance, a most forgiving man as well.

  2. A question for Mr. Meth: Did you make any attempt to call Fantagraphics to get an answer about whether or not they have publisher’s insurance that would cover this lawsuit?

    You’ve certainly raised a valid question, but even when your post is labeled as opinion, it still seems kinda wonky to accuse Fantagraphics of running a scam without calling them to get confirmation, denial or obfuscation directly from the horse’s mouth. If you’re going to go to the trouble of calling other publishers who are about their size, why not just call Fantagraphics directly?

    I don’t think it speaks well of the journalistic standards of the ComicMix Web site that they ran this piece without someone asking you to make that call or making it for you. I also think it might’ve been worth running at least one sentence mentioning that you and Mr. Ellison are pals, even if it was part of the brief bio at the end, but, as you point out in your piece, “the comic book industry sometimes functions outside of common sense and standard operating procedures.”

  3. If he had called, he’d have received the same answer to this allegation that Gary Groth gave when Harlan Ellison made it:

    “This allegation piles nonsense upon nonsense; it is a series of falsehoods. It is unclear, due to Ellison’s mangled grammar, if he’s alleging that an insurance company is paying our legal expenses or if a “secret financial angel” is paying our legal expenses —or both, which would be a trick!— but in fact our legal expenses are being paid for neither by an insurance company nor by a “secret financial angel.” There is no insurance company; there is no financial angel. We are paying —and have paid— all our legal expenses ourselves. Just to be entirely clear and incredibly redundant: We have to this date paid 100% of our legal expenses without any help from an insurance company or any “secret financial angel.” I can think of no reason for spreading this falsehood except to sabotage our forthcoming appeal for donations. If anyone doubts us, we respectfully suggest you demand proof from Ellison of these false and scurrilous accusations. ”

    This sure looks like a sleazy attempt on Meth’s part to hamper Fantagraphics’ ability to defend itself in court, doesn’t it?

  4. My piece at Comicmix.com was not presented as investigative journalism. It was an opinion piece. That’s why the headline said OPINION.

    There was no need for anyone to call Fantagraphics. On Feb. 25, Groth stated on his own bulletin board that he *doesn’t* have insurance.

    My professional OPINION is that he’s a liar.

  5. “Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Well, that’s horsepuckey, of course. We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our informed opinions. Without research, without background, without understanding, it’s nothing.”
    Harlan Ellison (from http://harlanellison.com/buzz/bws006.htm )

  6. It’s interesting how those who have any connection with Harlan Ellison are called syncophants by Gary Groth’s PAID staff. I read Meth’s article (er, opinion) and found it informative.

  7. Not as interesting as the fact that Meth seems reluctant to answer my rebuttal with any substance, or provide so much as a smidgen of evidence to support the allegations that he downgrades to “opinion” when called out. (Way to stand behind your “professional OPINION,” Cliff.)

  8. Well gosh, I guess ends the argument, doesn’t it? Meth says it, you believe it… that settles it!

    And yes, Peter David is a Harlan Ellison syncophant. Are you kidding me? He’s also a longstanding enemy of Groth’s, which apparently makes him an objective “expert” in your book as well. That must be some book.

  9. Dirk: That piece at your blog is filled with so much misinformation that I don’t even know where to begin. But first, to set matters straight, Clifford Meth is a consultant to Aardwolf Publishing and I am the owner. Cliff and I founded it together with other backers in 1993 but Cliff left us when he joined a major media company in 2003. I continue to publish Cliff’s work because it’s quality and it sells. You may object to the word “quality” but I have a letter hanging here in my office from Kurt Vonnegut praising one of Cliff’s books; I have another one from Leonard Cohen. Of course, Vonnegut is also a friend of Harlan Ellison’s (Cohen might be, too), so you can build your whole blog around that tomorro

    Aardwolf Publishing’s books are carried by Diamond Comics Distribution, Barnes&Noble, Borders, Amazon, etc.; the same places Fantagraphics books are found.

    Prior to joining Aardwolf, Cliff held editorial and marketing positions with VNU Publishing, Penton Publishing, Hayden Publishing and Gordon Publications for more than 15 years. He was featured on the cover of FOLIO MAGAZINE (The Magazine for Magazine Management) in 1991 after helping turn around the magazine ELECTRONIC DESIGN. You can look it up. But I suspect you already did.

  10. Minimally, it seems his profession qualifies him to discuss publishers insurance. That’s the real issue, but Dirk has been instructed to make it personal.

  11. But Amy, at least Groth’s “sycophant” is identified as a Fantagraphics employee, given that his column runs at the company’s Web site, whereas Meth’s column makes no mention of the fact that he’s buddies with Ellison. He’s simply listed as “an author, editor and publisher.” Just as you’re skeptical about Dirk Deppey’s assertions due to his status as an employee of Gary Groth (and I see your point), I think others (myself included) might take Meth’s column with a grain of salt given his friendship with Ellison. Neither relationship automatically makes what either man is saying untrue, but it’s information that I think readers ought to get without having to run a separate Google search. (I also think Meth should’ve mentioned Groth’s Feb. 25 statement in his column, if only to eliminate the obvious question that came up when I (and, I’m guessing, others) read his piece at ComicMix.)

    Conficts of interest aside, I still find it hard to believe that Groth would risk alienating his company’s supporters (not to mention a fraud conviction) by soliciting money for a defense fund that he didn’t need. I find it much more believable that he either has a low-grade errors and omissions policy that covers damages and not legal expenses (note that his Feb. 25 post says nothing about not having the insurance, just that all legal expenses were being paid out of pocket), or he decided not to carry the insurance for whatever reason (cost? stupidity?). So I’m choosing slightly inept businessman over evil schemer, but I’m guessing that in the well-mannered spirit of Tony Isabella, we’ll have to agree to disagree, since, really, who the heck knows, other than Gary Groth?

  12. [i]I still find it hard to believe that Groth would risk alienating his company’s supporters (not to mention a fraud conviction) by soliciting money for a defense fund that he didn’t need.[/i]]

    But he’d risk a libel suit by slandering a respected author. And he solicited funds for the Fleisher suit and admits to having had insurance then, too.

  13. I e-mailed Clifford Meth an extremely courteous note (given the circumstances) confirming that we do not have libel insurance and offering to give him our lawyer’s phone number so he can ask our lawyer for confirmation directly.

    As for the whole issue of why we don’t have libel insurance: It’s very expensive — it is, in fact, particularly expensive when the company has a history of being sued for libel (which we have, three times — all silly lawsuits, all eventual defeats for the plaintiffs), for the same reason that hurricane insurance is a lot more expensive when your house has been knocked down three times by hurricanes in the past. Moreover, if you’ve relying on your libel insurance, you have to then accept the insurance-company laywers, who are not necessarily the best and whose prime loyalty is to avoid costing the insurance company money, not helping you defend the case — OR you can, as we did with the original Ellison/Fleisher case, insist on hiring your own counsel and paying for that.

    So with libel insurance we’d have gotten to pay a very high premium for the last 20 years, and then when we got sued by Harlan, pay a high deductible and then hire our own lawyers of which the insurance company would likely pay only a fraction. Sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it? Yeah, we’re real

  14. Oh, don’t kid yourself, Anyone can be anonymous, it was personal for Meth, too. Why else would he go out of his way to randomly drop in the titles of some of the porn that Fantagraphics publishes in his original column?

    Or take this paragraph toward the end: “So, again, why is Groth begging alms for the poor? Answer: This appears to be a PR coup for the publisher who once thought his Comics Journal would make him the Hunter S. Thompson of the comics industry. Sadly, TCJ has become irrelevant, publishing porn has dubious merits, and it seems the only way Groth can virally promote his company is by manufacturing controversy.”

    The implication is that this is a company on the way out: Its magazine sucks, the porn isn’t selling and promotion is tough because no one covers Fantagraphics unless there’s some controversy attached. Fantagraphics’ Peanuts and Popeye reprints are mentioned earlier as “licensing deals,” but it’s as if all the great contemporary cartoonists that Fantagraphics has published – Los Bros Hernandez, Charles Burns, Jim Woodring, Linda Medley, etc., etc. – never existed.

    It’s a bit like describing Ellison as a former girlie-mag editor while ignoring the fact that the magazine in question had an amazing list of contributors or not making any mention of Ellison’s many other notable achievements.

  15. (continued) boneheads for not doing that.

    Sorry, the damn thing just posted my response in mid-composition.

    “Anyone can be anonymous” doesn’t get it: It’s not a fact that Gary slandered (or libeled) Ellison, it’s the matter under dispute. Most people who’ve taken the trouble to read the actual court documents realize that, in fact, Gary has enormous factual backup for both statements that are at issue. But most people commenting on this case can’t be bothered to actually read the public documents and are going purely by gut instinct, personal bias, or a lazy reading of what other people have said.

    INFORMED opinion. It’s worth a try.

  16. Clifford Meth’s groundless accusation of fraud is made worse by the lack of disclosure. He’s an Ellison pal who credits him with the start of his career writing fiction.

    (Along those lines, I’m a long-ago contributor to Amazing Heroes who thinks Ellison is an asshat.)

  17. The irony is that merely *implying* in public that someone is lying in a specific instance when evidence points to the contrary, for the purpose of harming his reputation, is *actual libel*, is it not?

  18. oh, and amy: if your source is over 4 years old the correct usage is “described” not “describes”. Not to mention that the remark was made in context of a particular issue/disagreement and not necessarily as an overall statement of PADs opinion of Groth.
    That is to say, it’s quite possible that PAD’s opinion is unchanged and he’d say it again, but dragging a 4 year old blog post into this for no good reason is an incredibly cheap attempt to score points and muddy the waters. Please stop doing it.
    Also, familiarise yourself with the concept that two people make come to similar opions for different reasons (with or without either of them being right). By no contortion of logic (except perhaps the one in your head) does a similar stance toward Groth make something that seemingly applies to Meth make the same thing apply to David. It (=being a Ellison syncophant) may or may not apply for different reasons but it surely doesn’t follow from Meth’s stance. And no one claimed it did. In all seriousness, are you unable to understand that?

  19. “My professional OPINION is that he’s a liar”

    I’m always amazed at how a certain group of people are willing to tarnish their own reputations to defend Harlan Ellison’s more questionable activities. We saw it after Worldcon, and now this.

    Cliff Meth seems like a fairly intelligent, reasonably accomplished guy, and here he is, frying his own credibility as genre journalist to make ad hominem statements about a defendant in a very dubious lawsuit. There are other ways to support a friend, that don’t require one to compromise their own integrity.

  20. I would like to point out that no one here ever instructs Dirk to do a damn thing in “Journalista,” except sending him specific links and asking him to post those once in a while. Dirk’s Meth tirade, as is every other word on that site, was entirely his own.

    Everyone please stop misspelling “sycophant”! It’s driving me nuts.

    I’ve exchanged a few friendly e-mails with Clifford and hope to lay this matter to rest by proving to his satisfaction that the “they secretly have libel insurance” claim is 100% bogus. I’m sure he can still find at least six or eight other reasons to hate us unimpeded even once that one goes away.

  21. After you do, let’s see if he has the class to issue a retraction, and maybe even an apology. Like I said, there are better ways to help your buddy than this.

  22. Dirk Deppey’s blog this morning was filled with mistruths about Aardwolf Publishing (see above comments from Mr. Reeber) and Meth’s career. Has anyone seen that retracted anywhere?

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