It’s that time again — the Fantagraphics Defense Fund is open for business!
As you have probably heard by now, Harlan Ellison sued us in October, 2006. The details of the lawsuit can be found in court documents posted here.
He is (basically) suing us over two issues:
First, in the history-of-Fantagraphics book WE TOLD YOU SO: COMICS AS ART that we serialized on the Fantagraphics blog last year, Gary told two brief anecdotes about Ellison’s conduct during the infamous Michael Fleisher trial. We are defending ourselves by arguing the content of these anecdotes are a) opinion and b) true (and for that matter have been circulated for over a decade unchallenged including on Ellison’s own website in the context of the notoriously one-sided Gauntlet article), Ellison has now elected to allege that they were libelous. When we were apprised by Ellison’s attorney initially that Ellison was unhappy with these comments, we offered him space in our book to rebut these comments or offer his own counter-narrative, but he rejected these options and chose to file suit instead.
Second, we reprinted the Ellison interview that caused the Fleisher suit in our COMICS JOURNAL LIBRARY collection THE WRITERS. Ellison is not suing over this –in fact, he’s admitted in public that we own the interview and have the right to reprint it—but is claiming instead that it is illegal to use his name on the cover (along with the names of the other writers we interviewed).
We have argued to the court that both claims are absurd and the suit frivolous and meritless. […]
I simply cannot believe this.
When I began my independent adult life over 25 years ago, Harlan Ellison and Fantagraphics were engaged in a legal action, defending themselves against a suit brought by writer Michael Fleischer.
Here it is, over a quarter of a fucking century later, and this time they are at each other.
And Harlan Ellison’s suit is even more frivolous and idiotic than the Fleischer suit was.
Harlan Ellison, you are a very mature man with more knowledge and experience than I will will ever have in my entire life. You were one of my first writing gods. Through your work by your life’s example, you taught me more than anyone else ever did or probably ever will. You were seminal in my life. I believe that if you take a moment and step back, you will see that there are far more valuable uses for your speedily-decreasing allotment of time on this earth. Do you really want to spend time in a courtroom again? Do you really want to go through all that shit again over trivia?
And, yes, it is trivia.
There comes a time just to shrug one’s shoulders and say, “Aw, fuck it!”
This is one of those times.
Please get back to your keyboard and delight us with new work. That is what your time left should be used for.
And if you won’t go back to the keyboard, then use the time to enjoy your life, for fuck’s sake. You damn well deserve to!