Banned Graphic Novels

“The Sandman comic series and graphic novel have been challenged and banned in libraries since its publication. Gaiman’s graphic novel has been challenged and removed from some libraries because of “anti-family themes,” “offensive language,” and for being “unsuited for age group.” Most often, opposition to the series has arisen when it has been shelved in the young adult section of the library.”- Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (cbldf.org)

Challenged in the Marshall, Mo. Public Library (2006) because some members of the community deemed the book “pornographic” and were concerned that children would be exposed to the book. The library director was quick to defend Blankets, citing the many professional reviews that praised the book while also warning against “the slippery slope of censorship.”

In 2010 a suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul parent tried to remove Bone from the school district’s libraries. She objected to the gambling, smoking and drinking and the sexiness.

Fun Home first came under fire in late 2006 in Missouri for its frank sexual content, which was considered inappropriate for children. The memoir was added to the syllabus of a University of Utah English course in 2008, but a student objected to having to read it and contacted a group called “No More Pornography” to fight the required reading.

Despite its accolades and critical praise, Maus has been challenged for being “anti-ethnic” and “unsuitable for younger readers.”

In a 2012 article on ICv2, Nick Smith of the Pasadena Public Library in Pasadena, California, writes about a challenge to Maus:

“In the library world, books are challenged all the time, mostly for making someone uncomfortable with their own view of the world. In our library system, Maus was challenged over its portrayal of the Poles. The challenge was made by a Polish-American who is very proud of his heritage, and who had made other suggestions about adding books on Polish history, for our library’s collection, so it was not out of the blue. The thing is, Maus made him uncomfortable, so he didn’t want other people to read it. That is censorship, as opposed to parental guidance.”

Despite making both ALA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten  in 2007 and Booklist Editors’ Choice: Adult Books for Young Adults as well as featuring non-human main characters, Pride of Baghdad is frequently challenged for alleged sexually explicit content.- cbldf.org

In July 2010, a patron of the Stark County District Library in Canton, Ohio, challenged the inclusion of the collected edition of The Dark Knight Strikes Again in the library’s collection. There is no media coverage of this challenge to be found online, but the American Library Association’s Office fro Intellectual Freedom helpfully provided a few more details from their database. The unknown patron (OIF removes identifying details from challenge information released to the public) complained that the book contained sexism and offensive language and was “unsuited to age group.” Despite the challenge, the library retained the book and now holds two copies, which are shelved in the Teen section.-cbldf.org

n 2009, two employees of the Jessamine County Public Library in Kentucky were fired after they took it upon themselves to withhold the library’s copy of Black Dossier from circulation. Sharon Cook, a full-time Library Assistant who objected to sex scenes in the book, initially followed the library’s established challenge procedure available to all patrons. She requested that the book be moved from the Graphic Novel section (which she thought was too close to Young Adult) into Adult Fiction. The committee considered her challenge and found that the book was properly shelved.-cbldf.org

The inclusion of the compiled Watchmen in school library collections has been challenged by parents at least twice, according to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. The first Watchmen complaint, at a high school in Harrisonburg, Virginia, was reported in October of 2001. OIF removes specific identifying details from the information it releases to the public, but the high school library in Harrisonburg holds a copy of the book, so it appears the challenge was unsuccessful. The second challenge, from May of 2004, took place at a school serving grades 6-12 in Florida, but the city and outcome are unknown.-cbldf.org

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One thought on “Banned Graphic Novels

  1. I LOVE most of these. As I’m having my own banned book drama recently, I definitely needed this list to remind me that banned books, are usually classic books that are wonderful and so important to the culture of reading.

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