For Banned Books Week, the Huffington Post ran an article (a slide show really) about the books in comics form most often challenged in public and school libraries.
Here are the titles and the reasons provided for the challenges.
- Absolute Sandman, by Neil Gaiman – Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
- Blankets, by Craig Thompson – Sexually Explicit content, Other (unspecified)
- Bone (series), by Jeff Smith – Sexually Explicit content, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs
- Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel – Sexually Explicit Content
- Maus, by Art Spiegelman – Anti Ethnic
- Pride of Baghdad, by Brian K. Vaughn – Sexually Explicit Content
- Tank Girl, by Alan Martin & Jamie Hewlitt – Nudity, Violence
- The Dark Knight Strikes Again, by Frank Miller – Sexually Explicit Content [not to mention an Evil Robin]
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier, by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill – Nudity, Sexually Explicit Content, Unsuited to Age Group
- Watchmen, by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons – Unsuited to Age Group
Maus involves little things called World War 2 and the Holocaust. Pride of Baghdad takes place during the US invasion of Iraq, and includes animals killing, eating, and raping each other. But perhaps, readers might say, we can’t complain about historical and biological violence.
So what about fantasy violence? Bone ends in a war. The superhero comics—Dark Knight Strikes Again, Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen—include everything from fist fights to futuristic weapons. That volume of Sandman depicts a convention of serial killers, among other horrors.
The only comics of this list that don’t include significant violence are the two coming-of-age memoirs, Blankets and Fun Home. Both involve sex, for natural reasons. Sex is more “graphic” in a graphic novel, or at least easier to find. And since our culture perceives anything in comics form as meant for younger readers, it’s not surprising that some parents might find those stories about young adults unsuited for younger kids.
But back to Tank Girl, the only comic on this list challenged as too violent. Is it actually more violent than all the rest? Or is it simply the only action comic with a female in the central role?