Comics Challenges Return

It’s happening again.

In recent months the CBLDF has received multiple reports of graphic novel challenges at public schools and libraries:

  • Attacks on Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer have gone viral in social media and school board meetings across the U.S., from a wealthy Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. to Huntington Beach, CA.  
  • An online petition against Jerry Craft’s New Kid and Class Act temporarily succeeded in canceling an author event and getting the books removed from a Texas school library. While these decisions were ultimately reversed, the petition’s leader insists that the campaign against these books is “just getting warmed up.”  
  • Derf Backderf’s My Friend Dahmer and other graphic novels have been the subject of a sustained challenge in Leander, Texas.
  • Yet another school district in Texas has banned Cathy G. Johnson’s The Breakaways.
  • An initiative in Bloomington, Illinois is targeting no fewer than ten graphic novels and manga because they allegedly contain “questionable material” and “present fantasy as fact.”
  • Even Gene Luen Yang’s Superman Smashes the Klan has been condemned as obscene for depicting Superman as a hero who fights against racism.

And these aren’t all. The visual nature of the comic arts has once more made graphic novels, manga, and other comics media the target of a widespread purge, with some activists even arguing that comics should be banned as inherently inferior to ostensibly more literate classics composed solely of text. However, as new board member Joseph Illidge observed in our Defending Comics Today panel at New York Comic-Con, these attacks reflect a growing recognition of comics’ true power. 

The time has come for these attempts at comics censorship to stop. If you learn of any challenges or are facing one yourself, please let us know so we can help.