Graphics Novels Get Banned Books Week Highlight -

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Graphics Novels Get Banned Books Week Highlight

By Chris Beveridge     September 29, 2010
Source: ICv2

© Jeff Smith

Books are challenged regularly at libraries across the country for a number of reasons and graphic novels are no exception, though the perception may be that they get attacked more because "comics are for kids!" and how could we let them read such wretched things. The American Library Association releases a list of these books every year during Banned Books Week which we're in the middle of now. Definitely check out that site to see more about it and the promotion of the idea of Freedom to Read. The list of graphic novels tends to be pretty familiar from year to year and there's a lot of local variance to things in how libraries may classify certain books by age groups as well, but the overall themes do appear to be pretty consistent.

  1. Absolute Sandman - Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
  2. Blankets - Sexually Explicit content, Other (unspecified).
  3. Bone (series) - Sexually Explicit content, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs.
  4. Fun Home - Sexually Explicit Content
  5. Maus - Anti-Ethnic
  6. Pride of Bagdad - Sexually Explicit Content
  7. Tank Girl - Nudity and Violence
  8. The Dark Knight Strikes Again - Sexually Explicit Content
  9. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier - Sexually Explicit Content and Unsuited to Age Group
  10. Watchmen - Unsuited to Age Group

The discussion on why each of these books is unacceptable can be pretty fascinating to have, depending on who is involved and the context of it, something we don't actually get. I don't know how many Mania readers are parents, but every parent and child is different in what is acceptable to them of course. I know that I'm in the midst of reading Bone to my kids (girls ages 8 and 10) and they adore it. I know I read Watchmen in my mid teens along with other books here such as Tank Girl and Dark Knight Strikes Again. And it's certainly understandable to make sure certain books aren't available to kids of a certain age without parental consent, but the idea to remember is that libraries are being told to make sure these books are not kept in libraries at all and are firmly removed for the reasons above.

As many comics fans may have done over the years, multiple copies of certain trades are not unusual. If you have some, make sure to donate them to your library to help promote the freedom to read for others, especially if you have these top challenged books to spare. Bring it up directly with your librarian so they know about it as well.




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lracors 9/29/2010 7:57:48 AM

I didn't realize we still lived in 1984 as far as the Library is concerned... damn.

fatpantz 9/29/2010 12:15:22 PM

I just don't get it....Bone???

Has any of these people actually read Blankets???  It is one amazing coming of age story of a kid....might as well ban books like The Great Gatsby or Pride and Prejudice which carry a lot of similar undertones

GLCorpsMember 9/29/2010 1:07:26 PM

MAUS?!!  Are you F$^#ing KIDDING ME?!  That's one of the most important books in the comic book medium!

Every book listed here is a treasure!!  (Well maybe not Tank Girl so much)  As the graphic novel continues to be accepted in the mainstream consciousness and sequential art/storytelling continues to gain respect as a legitimate art form, these are some of the books that will be studied, analyzed and held up as examples of the best in the medium.


karas1 9/29/2010 2:02:26 PM

Maus is anti ethnic?  It's a biography of a holocaust survivor!  Of course the Nazis were anti ethnic.  That's kind of the point.

That Sandman and Watchmen are unsuited to age group depends entirely on what age group you think they were written for.

HouseHusband 9/29/2010 2:55:32 PM

Have to agree! It is ridiculous that Maus is called anti-Ethnic...

I would have no problem with my teenage daughter reading Tank Girl, but it wouldn't be appropriate for my 10 year old. But the point is that it is not "intended" for 10 year olds..

Just 'cause it is a graphic novels doesn't mean it is "for kids"



GothicStorm 9/29/2010 8:10:55 PM

So... what does the library think about Japanese mangas? Oh wait, those are just another name for graphic novels.

Bone... What the H-E- DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS is going on around here? You can see even worse things on the evening news... at 5 and 6 o'clock!!!! What a buncha maroons.

Rheul_home 9/30/2010 9:01:57 AM

MAUS?! Good grief. I highly recommend ALL of these titles and don't see any problem with anyone over 12 reading any of them. Most conservative groups have a problem with kids reading books that cause them to examine their surrounding closely or to question authority.

GLCorpsMember 9/30/2010 12:52:33 PM

Most conservatives have a problem with books, period.

thesnappysneezer 9/30/2010 4:37:52 PM

9/30/2010 4:34:47 PM

Most liberals have a problem with books, period.


It's people like Tipper Gore that gets things like these banned.

It's people like Sarah Palin that gets things like these banned.

Ignorance, stupidity, book burning and banning knows no party exclusively, it might know soccer moms exclusively maybe but it knows no party exclusively.


I first read many of these at libraries, Watchmen and Maus stick out the much, Bone I have seen there but knew elsewhere as I was more into buying when it came out. Mus is so important, I used it in high school for reports. This is insane and the ignorance banning it is not limited to any party.

Tevii 10/4/2010 8:10:25 AM

I dont see a problem with children reading these prior ot 12 even. We undererestimate what our children can and cant understand.

Hitler wasnt reading graphic novels or playing Video games and I have been my entire life.  When I was 10 i was reading Elfquest with the orgies, my first movie I remember seeing in the theater was Alien. Im fine productive contributing memeber of society.

Its not comics or movies or toys that make people bad. Its people themselves.

And if its simply to not offend people. WEe need to quit that garbage. If we keep eliminating things that offend someone, eventually we will have NOTHING. If you are offended by something DONT READ IT, DONT WATCH IT, DONT PLAY IT.


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