You do know what the CBLDF are, yeah? They're the guys who go around making the world safe for comic book p0rn, right?
Well, yes and no. Actually they're a bunch of guys and gals who work really hard to protect the U.S. first amendment right to free speech, specifically when it comes to protecting the right for U.S. comic book creators to publish and sell their works without undue legal harassment. You can tell they're just a U.S. based group, 'cos their logo has an American Eagle in it.
It's worth noting that a lot of other countries don't have a constitutional "right to free speech". However, it seems that in the States there are lots of federal, state, county and even individual forces that from time to time get the urge to prosecute, sue, and otherwise generally make life miserable for comic creators, sellers, and even the odd comic reader. Hence the requirement for ye olde amendment numero uno to be written to deal with the problem.
Of course, defending the litigiously-challenged carries a high price in most countries, and no less so in the glorious U.S. of A. That's why the CBLDF throws together fund-raising exercises like this 192-page B&W square-bound TPB format collection of contributed stories and art from many of the big names in the comics business. Heck, Marvel even gave Frank Cho permission to create the delicious Spidey/Goblin cover art that graces this volume.
Sadly, there's no actual Spidey story inside. But what you will find inside is two dozen (or more?) short comic stories of various lengths from one to eight pages - plus twenty or so sketchbook pages. Folks like Frank Cho, Kurt Busiek, Todd DeZago, Al Milgrom, and many more have all chipped in to help the CBLDF raise some money for their fighting fund.
It is important to point out that the contributions aren't entirely selfless. The vast majority of the stories seem to feature characters and creations that are the property of the individual contributor. You won't see any X-Men in here, for example. This is all top-level, professional quality independent work from many of the top talents in that field today. So in fact, what you really get is a "sampler" of independent work.
Many of the stories are humourous. This make sense, given the format. With only a few pages in which to tell a story, character development, complex drama, and such-like are a big ask. Humour is much more appropriate for the truncated medium. I'm sure that a lot of the creators featured here are much more interested in developing plots & characters than you might guess at first glance reading the collection.
Regardless, you should find a few giggles among this lot. More importantly, it should serve as a wake-up call to all those Marvel and DC zombies out there, that in fact there are quite a few very talented creators producing independent comics on web-sites, and in low-distribution B&W comics, and that maybe it's worth making a bit more effort to actually track down these guys and support them in what they're trying to do. I sure intend to find out more about Simone and Ajax, for example!
There's some great material in this book that might just open your eyes to the wider world of comics. Plus, if you're the charitable type of comic fan, you'll have the pleasure of knowing you're helping out a worthy cause.
Next: Dork Tower!