Banned Comics: Very Graphic Novels

During Banned Books Week, libraries across the country celebrate intellectual freedomone of KCLS' guiding values. Calls to ban books continue to happen every year, and some of the most frequently challenged materials come in the form of comics and graphic novels. Why might that be? The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund explains:

"Comics are challenged for all of the same content reasons that other books are challenged, but are uniquely vulnerable to challenges because of the medium’s visual nature...  Because comics thrive on the power of the static image, a single page or panel can be the impetus for a challenge in a way that’s different from a passage in a book or a scene in a movie. Some people still believe that comics are low-value speech, or are made exclusively for children, and object to comics in the library because of these misconceptions."

It is also worth noting that a majority of challenged works contain diverse content- featuring stories by or about people of color, LGBTQ characters, persons with disabilities and books addressing issues like racism, mental illness, and religion. As graphic novel fans who value stories from diverse perspectives, we're sharing a list of some of our favorites that have faced bans or challenges in recent years. 

This One Summer

This is the subtle, moving, coming-of-age story of Rose, who spends every summer with her family at Awago Beach. She hangs out with a slightly younger friend named Windy, enjoying unsupervised freedom as they try on teenage ways of speaking and spending time. Rose's fighting parents and the uncovering of small-town secrets make this summer less innocent than ones in the past. 

Why was it banned?

LGBT characters, drug use, profanity, and sexually explicit content

Persepolis

Satrapi's memoir, a classic of the genre, depicts her childhood in Iran during the 1970s and 80s. Simple, elegant art reveals the impact of the Iranian Revolution on Satrapi's home and family.

Why was it banned?

Profanity and images of violence depicting torture 

Fun Home

Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir of the author’s childhood focuses on her relationship with her closeted gay father Bruce. As Alison grows older and realizes that she is a lesbian, she and Bruce are both forced to confront how his repression may have affected her own self-image and the way that she dealt with her sexuality. Loaded with literary references and appropriately gothic-tinged.

Why was it banned?

Sexually explicit content and LGBTQ characters

The Diary of A Teenage Girl

Prose and illustration combine to tell this semi-autobiographic story of a young girl coming of age in the counter-culture scene of 1970's San Francisco. 

Why was it banned?

Sexually explicit content 

Drama

Raina Telgemeier’s Drama is a graphic novel about the joys and tribulations of a middle school drama troupe. Protagonist Callie rides an emotional roller coaster while serving on the stage crew for a middle school theater production as various relationships start and end, and others never quite get going.

Why was it banned?

Sexually explicit content, LGBT characters, offensive political viewpoints

Sex Criminals

Suzie has a special power that she has kept a (sexy, shameful) secret her whole life; everything changes when she meets someone who shares it. A playful, nuanced, and surprisingly relatable romp for anyone who has ever felt a little bit weird.

Why was it banned?

Sexually explicit content

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of King County Library System