Get Ready for Banned Books Week!

September 5, 2013
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Banned Books Week is coming! The 2013 celebration of the freedom to read will be held from September 22 – September 28. Keep reading to learn more about how you can be involved!

Doing a Banned Books Week event or display? Let us know by emailing us — info@cbldf.org!

The Problem

Every year, people try to take away readers’ power to decide what books are right for themselves or their children by bringing challenges to remove books from libraries. Comic books, graphic novels, and manga are frequently challenged and even banned.

Why Comics Are Banned

Book banning is nothing new. Books are frequently banned for containing “adult content,” “language,” “sex/nudity,” or not being “age appropriate.” Comics are uniquely vulnerable to challenges because the medium thrives on the power of static images and because there is a lingering stigma that comics are low-value speech. Some challenges are brought against comics because a single page or panel can be taken out of context, while others come under attack because of the mistaken notion that all comics are for children. Learn more about why comics are banned here.

What Comics Are Banned

Comics are one of the most commonly attacked types of books, with challenges and bans happening every year. In 2013, attempts to ban critically acclaimed graphic novels Persepolis and Barefoot Gen made international headlines. Other comics attacked in recent years include all-ages classics like Bone by Jeff Smith and Dragonball by Akira Toriyama, as well as acclaimed books for adult readers including Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and others. Learn more about what comics have been banned or challenged here.

What CBLDF Does To Help

CBLDF assists librarians by providing access to resources and writing letters of support in cases where comics are challenged. In the past year, CBLDF has opposed several challenges and stands ready to address new ones when they occur. CBLDF is also an active sponsor of Banned Books Week and the Kids Right To Read Project, initiatives that create tools and perform activities that advance the freedom to read.

What You Can Do To Help

Support Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. CBLDF is able to perform our important work protecting comics because of the donations of readers like you. Please consider making a donation or becoming a member. Your contributions ensure we can continue to fight censorship!

Stay Informed. If you read or hear about a challenge at your school or public library, support your librarian and free and open access to library materials. Let CBLDF know when you hear of challenges to comics, graphic novels, and manga by emailing is at info@cbldf.org. Read CBLDF.org for regular news about comics censorship.

Spread The Word. If you’re passionate about protecting comics from bans and challenges, don’t keep it to yourself!  Speak out using social networks, blogs, and even letters to the editor of your local paper expressing why this issue is important in your community.

Make A Banned Comics Display. Let everyone know about the challenges facing comics by making a banned comics display at your store, library or school. There are all kinds of creative ways to display banned comics. Some have shown books behind bars, under lock and key, or behind police tape to show the dangers of restricting access. Others have used CBLDF logos and literature to create a positive display showing the benefits of free expression. Send us pictures of your display to help inspire others!

Host A Banned Comics Event. Work with your local retailer or library to host an event celebrating your favorite banned comics! This can be a read-out, a book group discussion, a creator signing, or even a party. Tell CBLDF about your activity, and we’ll let others know about it at CBLDF.org!

Distribute Banned Comics Literature. Let others know about the challenges comics face by printing and distributing literature from CBLDF’s Downloads section. We’ve prepared a variety of handouts, pamphlets, and images to help raise awareness of comics censorship that you can print and distribute freely to help advance awareness of this important issue.

Wear Banned Comics Merchandise. Show the world that you support intellectual freedom for comics by proudly wearing CBLDF apparel! CBLDF offers a wide range of items to show the world that you’re against censorship, including t-shirts proclaiming “I Read Banned Comics,” a police line-up of comics characters showing that “It Can Happen to Anyone,” or the classic Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval. Check out CBLDF’s line of merchandise here.

Exercise your rights! Check out or re-read a favorite banned comic. Encourage your book group to read and discuss one of the books. Give one of your favorite books as a gift.