The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has been in limbo since longtime director Charles Brownstein stepped down after a past sexual assault was reexamined. The purpose and leadership of the organization has been called into question and many creators have cut ties with the group — with some calling for it to be disbanded entirely. Board president Christina Merkler spoke to this in a recent interview, noting that the board had not had much oversight of many of Brownstein’s actions over the years.
While the group attempts to move forward, they have named lawyer Jeff Trexler as interim director. Since Jeff is not only a longtime contributor to the Beat but has also represented me personally in several legal matters, I’ll let the PR below speak to his background and qualifications. I will say that he certainly knows the law, ethical standards and comics, and if the CBLDF is to be relevant to today’s industry and regain the trust of the community, it’s a solid first step — but only a first step.
Comic Book Defense Legal Fund (CBLDF) announced today that Jeff Trexler will assume the role of Interim Director, effective immediately. Trexler was unanimously selected following a thorough interview process in which both the current board members and staff participated. He will oversee and update the organization’s operations to more effectively execute the CBLDF mission, drawing on his breadth of legal experience as a law professor and an ethics advisor for a variety of non-profit organizations, media companies and fashion brands.
Prior to joining CBLDF, Trexler served as Associate Director of the Fashion Law Institute where his work on ethics issues included advising government officials on sexual harassment legal reform. A lifelong comics fan, he also provides analysis on legal matters impacting the comics business for multiple industry outlets.
Trexler is a member of the Ethics Committee at Kering Americas and also served on the board of the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. in American Religious History from Duke University, and he is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court and New York bars.
“Jeff’s depth of experience coupled with his skill and dedication to the industry is the leadership the organization needs,” said CBLDF President Christina Merkler. “He will leverage that experience to cultivate an inclusive, responsive and relevant organization to support our community.”
“The original mission of the CBLDF is one I passionately support as a longtime member of the comics community,” Trexler explains. “This is a time of evolution for the organization and I am honored to be part of it. To quote from my favorite comic book sequence of all time, the last issue of Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol: ‘There is another world. There is a better world. Well…there must be.’”
For more information about the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund please visit cbldf.org.