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Persepolis book one
Persepolis Book One by Marjane Satrapi

Banned (Comic) Books Week

Richland Library aims for greatness, and as Jo Goodwin said, “A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.”

The big idea is not to shock and desensitize the public, but to inspire, inform, and entertain. People will disagree about the value of certain entertainments and resources, which is good. Art should lead to reflection and conversation. But books, magazines, movies, songs, and comics can also repel someone so strongly that they try to remove the item entirely.

The book challenge process is important – the library is a reflection of its community, and people deserve a say in the content of that reflection. However, there are many examples of book challenges, including those of comics and graphic novels, that overlook context and narrative in order to protest isolated instances of sex, drugs, profanity, and violence.

Below are graphic novels listed by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund that have been challenged in library collections. This list is an example of how book challenges and bans tend to only draw attention to the offending item. If anyone checks out one of these titles hoping to be titillated or corrupted, I can only disappoint you in reporting that they are worthwhile stories that might offend some.

Let this post also serve as a reminder of the Request For Purchase link at the bottom of this website and that it exists for your use.


ThomasM Says: Challenged on the basis that it advocates rape and violence (it doesn't)
Amazon Says: A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Presented for the first time with stark, stunning new coloring by Bolland, BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE is Alan Moore's unforgettable meditati more...
Amazon Says: A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Presented for the first time with stark, stunning new coloring by Bolland, BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE is Alan Moore's unforgettable meditation on the razor-thin line between sanity and insanity, heroism and villainy, comedy and tragedy.   According to the grinning engine of madness and mayhem known as The Joker, that's all that separates the sane from the psychotic. Freed once again from the confines of Arkham Asylum, he's out to prove his deranged point. And he¿s going to use Gotham City's top cop, Commissioner Jim Gordon, and his brilliant and beautiful daughter Barbara to do it. Now Batman must race to stop his archnemesis before his reign of terror claims two of the Dark Knight's closest friends. Can he finally put an end to the cycle of bloodlust and lunacy that links these two iconic foes before it leads to its fatal conclusion? And as the horrifying origin of the Clown Prince of Crime is finally revealed, will the thin line that separates Batman's nobility and The Joker's insanity snap once and for all? Legendary writer Alan Moore redefined the super-hero with WATCHMEN and V FOR VENDETTA. In BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, he takes on the origin of comics' greatest super-villain, The Joker —and changes Batman's world forever. Stunningly illustrated, BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, THE DELUXE EDITION has been lushly re-colored by artist Brian Bolland, presenting his original vision of this modern classic for the first time. less...
Amazon

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan
ThomasM Says: Challenged for sexually explicit content
Amazon Says: From one of America’s most critically acclaimed graphic novel writers – inspired by true events, a startlingly original look at life on the streets of Baghdad during the I more...
Amazon Says: From one of America’s most critically acclaimed graphic novel writers – inspired by true events, a startlingly original look at life on the streets of Baghdad during the Iraq War. In his award-winning work on Y THE LAST MAN and EX MACHINA (one of Entertainment Weekly’s 2005 Ten Best Fiction titles), writer Brian K. Vaughan has displayed an understanding of both the cost of survival and the political nuances of the modern world. Now, in this provocative graphic novel, Vaughan examines life on the streets of war-torn Iraq. In the spring of 2003, a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives. In documenting the plight of the lions, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD raises questions about the true meaning of liberation – can it be given or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live life in captivity? Based on a true story, VAUGHAN and artist NIKO HENRICHON (Barnum!) have created a unique and heartbreaking window into the nature of life during wartime, illuminating this struggle as only the graphic novel can. less...
Amazon

ThomasM Says: Challenged on grounds of sexism and offensive language
Amazon Says: It's been three years since the events of The Dark Knight Returns, and everything is just fine.  At least on the surface.  What the world at large doesn't know is that it's more...
Amazon Says: It's been three years since the events of The Dark Knight Returns, and everything is just fine.  At least on the surface.  What the world at large doesn't know is that it's a total sham.  A perfectly choreographed, pretty little world where everything that's ugly, or even potentially disturbing, is all nicely wrapped up with neat little ribbons and swept under the carpet.  Only he knows better.  He's watched it fester to near-breaking point, and it's time for the only free man left who can effect any real change to bring it all down around their ears once and for all. The Dark Knight returns once again with a vitality unseen since the first years of his war on crime.  Together with his army of Bat-soldiers, including Carrie Kelley—formerly Robin, and now the new Catgirl—the Dark Knight wages a new war on a diseased world that's become completely lost. The Dark Knight Strikes Again features appearances by such DC icons as Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, the Atom, the Question and more.  But are they still the World's Greatest Heroes or part of the conspiracy? This incredible volume, designed by multiple award-winner Chipp Kidd, features a new introduction by Miller commenting on returning to the world he created fifteen years ago.  The book includes the complete 3-part story, plus numerous sketches and other never-before-seen material. less...
Amazon

Blankets by Craig Thompson
ThomasM Says: Allegedly contains pornographic imagery
Amazon Says: - At 592 pages, Blankets may well be the single largest graphic novel ever published without being serialized first. - Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, more...
Amazon Says: - At 592 pages, Blankets may well be the single largest graphic novel ever published without being serialized first. - Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith. A profound and utterly beautiful work from Craig Thompson. - The New Printing corrects 3 small typos, widening the spine graphics, but otherwise is identical to the first printing. less...
Amazon

ThomasM Says: Characterized as pornography and attracting seedy people to communities
Amazon Says: A fresh and brilliantly told memoir from a cult favorite comic artist, marked by gothic twists, a family funeral home, sexual angst, and great books. This breakout book by Al more...
Amazon Says: A fresh and brilliantly told memoir from a cult favorite comic artist, marked by gothic twists, a family funeral home, sexual angst, and great books. This breakout book by Alison Bechdel is a darkly funny family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel's sweetly gothic drawings. Like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, it's a story exhilaratingly suited to graphic memoir form. Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with his male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned "fun home," as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescense, the denouement is swift, graphic -- and redemptive. less...
Amazon

ThomasM Says: Challenged for its portrayal of Polish people
Amazon Says: A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself. more...
Amazon Says: A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself. less...
Amazon

Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes
ThomasM Says: Challenged for instances of profanity and nudity
Amazon Says: At long last: Daniel Clowes is back at Pantheon, with a brilliant new graphic novel already hailed by Time as “another of his hilariously slightly off-center worlds that hav more...
Amazon Says: At long last: Daniel Clowes is back at Pantheon, with a brilliant new graphic novel already hailed by Time as “another of his hilariously slightly off-center worlds that have a vague sense of dread about them. Kind of like where you live.” Welcome to Ice Haven! “It’s not as cold here as it sounds,” declares Random Wilder, our reluctant guide to this sleepy Midwestern town. He’s also its would-be poet laureate. Would-be, that is, were it not for the "Florid banalities” of his archrival, Ida Wentz, published ad nauseam in the Ice Haven Daily Progress. Among Wilder’s other fellow Ice Havians are the lovelorn Violet Van der Plazt and Vida Wentz; the detective team of Mr. and Mrs. Ames; the adorable interracial moppets Carmichael and Paula; disaffected stationery salesgirl Julie Patheticstein; the Blue Bunny, newly sprung from prison and the bitterest rabbit in town; and poor little David Goldberg, missing for more than a week now… While Dan Clowes has gotten a nod from the mainstream — an Oscar nomination for the screen adaptation of Ghost World - his work remains wonderfully idiosyncratic and imaginative. The lives of the men and women of Ice Haven are woven into a multi-layered tale that, while it owes a debt to Our Town, is ultimately based on and inspired by… Leopold and Loeb. No kidding. Only Daniel Clowes could do it and, luckily for us, he has. less...
Amazon

ThomasM Says: Challenged in Greenville for sexual content
Amazon Says: Alan Moore, the best-selling graphic novelist of all time, delivers an original, chilling tale of Lovecraftian horror! Comic book legend Alan Moore (WATCHMEN, FROM HELL) and more...
Amazon Says: Alan Moore, the best-selling graphic novelist of all time, delivers an original, chilling tale of Lovecraftian horror! Comic book legend Alan Moore (WATCHMEN, FROM HELL) and brilliant artist Jacen Burrows deliver a chilling tale of Lovecraftian horror!  Brears and Lamper, two young and cocky FBI agents, investigate a fresh series of ritual murders somehow tied to the final undercover assignment of Aldo Sax –the once golden boy of the Bureau, now a convicted killer and inmate of a maximum security prison.  From their interrogation of Sax (where he spoke exclusively in inhuman tongues) to a related drug raid on a seedy rock club rife with arcane symbols and otherworldly lyrics, they suspect that they are on the trail of something awful… but nothing can prepare them for the creeping insanity and unspeakable terrors they will face in the small harbor town of Innsmouth.  NEONOMICON collects Alan Moore’s 2010 comic book series for the first time in its entirety – including his original story, THE COURTYARD, which chronicled Aldo Sax’s tragic encounter with the (somewhat) mortal agents of the Old Ones! less...
Amazon

ThomasM Says: Challenged in multiple libraries for anti-family themes, offensive language, and being unsuitable for young people
Amazon Says: Written by Neil Gaiman; Art by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, and Malcolm Jones, III; Painted Cover by Dave McKean A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal li more...
Amazon Says: Written by Neil Gaiman; Art by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, and Malcolm Jones, III; Painted Cover by Dave McKean A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On the way, Morpheus encounters Lucifer and demons from Hell, the Justice League, and John Constantine, the Hellblazer. This book also includes the story "The Sound of Her Wings" which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl, Death. less...
Amazon

ThomasM Says: Challenged for drug use, sexual content, and rough language
Amazon Says: A very unscientific poll recently revealed that 99.9% of all people who attended middle school hated it. Fortunately, some of those people have grown up to be clever and talen more...
Amazon Says: A very unscientific poll recently revealed that 99.9% of all people who attended middle school hated it. Fortunately, some of those people have grown up to be clever and talented comic artists, with an important message to share: Everyone can survive middle school! Edited by underground comics icon Ariel Schrag, this anthology of illustrated tales about the agonies and triumphs of seventh and eight grade features some of America?s leading graphic novelists, including Daniel Clowes, Joe Matt, Lauren Weinstein, and Ariel herself. With a sense of humor as refreshing as it is bitingly honest, seventeen artists share their stories of first love, bullying, zits, and all the things that make middle school the worst years of our lives. less...
Amazon
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