Why Comics Are Banned

Every year, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives reports of book challenges from around the country–that is, a request from an individual or group for a book to be restricted or removed from a library or classroom. Over the years OIF has tracked the books and comics that are challenged and the reasons cited for these challenges.  A few years ago, Tim Leong distilled the data regarding comics and graphic novels into an infographic to demonstrate visually the information about the attacks these comics face! Click on the image to view it full-size, and read on for more information on each of the categories and challenged books. You can also buy a poster of Leong’s infographic in the Rewards Zone or grab signed copies of some of these frequently targeted books as rewards for your support of CBLDF’s work protecting the right to read! Scroll down to expand your personal or classroom library with copies of these influential works.


Sexual Content

This is the top challenge category overall and can mean anything from a full nudity to a chaste kiss. 

 Offensive Language

One of the most common reasons for challenges–probably because it’s such a low threshold. Just a few vulgarities can be enough for some people to want a book removed!

Unsuited to Age Group

Parents sometimes challenge a book they feel is inappropriate for their child or teen, even though it may be just right for someone else.


Challenges against LGBTQIA-themed works have been steadily increasing in recent years, but in part that may be because they’re also becoming more mainstream for all ages!


Again, this is a category that naturally affects comics and even picture books more than prose works, even though they might describe the same content.


This can range from fantasy or slapstick violence to depictions of historical events.

Obscene Images

This is a major reason why comics tend to be popular targets! Of course, obscenity is defined in law and these books aren’t it, but that doesn’t stop challengers from using the term with abandon!


Challenges in this category are often leveled without regard for context.


Even when the characters indulging appear to be of age, some adults object to any depiction of mind-altering substances in comics.


This category can encompass anything from same-sex parenting to divorce to child abuse.


Get Your Copy Now!

Support CBLDF’s work fighting challenges and bans in schools and libraries all over the country with these signed copies of frequently attacked graphic novels! Click on the cover you want to find it at our Reward Zone!



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