September 5, 2007

ACLU Joins Forces with Comic Book Legend Art Spiegelman and Others to Launch Limited-Edition Comic Book Defenders of Freedom

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CONTACT: media@aclu.org

NEW YORK - From Iron Man being appointed President Bush’sSecretary of Defense to the release of Marvel’s“Civil War” series, comic books today are bringingpolitical issues directly to their readers. Now, the AmericanCivil Liberties Union — the real-world organization on thefrontlines of the battle to protect civil liberties — isputting on a mask and cape and venturing into the comic bookworld.

“Young people are the future of our democracy, and comicbooks have inspired young people for generations,” said ACLUExecutive Director Anthony D. Romero. “Defenders ofFreedom is a new way for us to tell our stories and motivate the nextgeneration of civil libertarians to stand up for theirrights.”

Released as a limited-edition comic book in print and in digital formattoday, Defenders of Freedom features two original stories written andillustrated by a team of seasoned professionals.“Blue Collar,” written by Jimmy Palmiotti and inkedby Rick Burchett, tells of a man targeted by a racist police officer.“A Question of Obligation,” illustrated by MarkBadger and written by Matthew Manning, is about what happens when thegovernment gets in the way of civil liberties.

Defenders of Freedom also features a special introduction by Romero,written and inked by Patty Scanlon, and a back cover by Pulitzer Prizewinner Art Spiegelman, who brought comic books out of the toy closetand onto the literature shelves with his masterful Holocaust narrativeMaus.

Part of an ongoing effort to reach a new audience of young people,Defenders of Freedom will be distributed in a number of new ways,extending the message far beyond traditional comic bookshelves. Building on the increasing popularity of web-basedcomic books, Defenders of Freedom is available in digital format onStandUp (www.aclu.org/standup), the ACLU’s Web site for youngpeople. The graphic novel, which is a limited edition, willalso be handed out via “guerilla marketing” streetteams in seven U.S. cities (Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; Atlanta,GA; Austin, TX; Madison, WI, and Columbus, OH) and the ACLU isdistributing print copies to its members and supporters to read andshare with youth and new audiences.

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