The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the First Amendment rights of comics artists, publishers, retailers and librarians, announced that comics retailer Chris Powell is stepping down as president and that cartoonist Larry Marder has been elected to succeed him. In addition, Dale Cendali, an intellectual property lawyer and partner at the firm, Kirkland & Ellis, has been named to the CBLDF board.

Larry Marder, probably best known as the creator of the critically acclaimed comics series Bean World, was elected unanimously by the board. Marder is also editor of the Liberty Comics Annual, an annual comics anthology featuring some of the best known comics creators that is used to raised funds for the CBLDF. The Liberty Annual has raised more than $50,000 with its first two issues and there will be a new issue of the anthology in October featuring such artists as Garth Ennis, Don Simipson, Evan Dorkin and more.

The change marks a busy year at CBLDF under the leadership of Powell, COO and general manager of Lone Star Comics, a comics shop chain in Texas. Under Powell, the CBLDF moved to new and larger offices in midtown Manhattan and the organization redesigned and relaunched its website,

"2011 will be the 25th anniversary of the founding of the CBLDF,” Marder said. “Now, as then, it is our responsibility to remain vigilant and aggressively protect the First Amendment rights of the entire comic book community of creators, retailers, publishers, and readers. I'll continue to work hard to maintain and expand our relationships with that community, and to oversee the Fund as a transparent, responsive force for good in this industry."