Banned Books Week

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a proud sponsor of Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read! The 2013 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 22 – September 28.

 

The Problem

Every year people try to take away readers’ power to decide what books are right for themselves or their children to read 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

The CBLDF assists librarians by providing access to resources and writing letters of support in cases where comics are challenged. In the past year the CBLDF has participated in helping 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

You can make a difference in protecting the freedom to read! This Banned Books Week, make a difference by engaging your community with a Banned Comics event or display, making a contribution to CBLDF, or spreading the word online. See our tool kit about how you can help support the CBLDF’s efforts here.