During Banned Books Week, we bring attention to banned and challenged books in libraries and schools. This is a time to celebrate the freedom to read and the value of free and open access to information and stories by showcasing books that have been banned for multiple reasons. This year, I wanted to bring attention to banned comics.
What is interesting about the rise in comics being banned is that this is a modern trend. Sure, in the 1950s, comics became censored by the creation of the Comics Code Authority, but for the most part, comics were seen as childish and unimportant. However, since the 1980s, many writers and artists began to evolve the comic into more than just pulp fiction, superheroes and science fiction and used the medium to tell stories about real issues.
To best see the overall picture of how much comics have changed over the last few decades, take a look at the American Library Association’s banned book lists from 2000-2009. There were zero comics in the top 100 most challenged titles. Compare that to the 2010-2019 lists where you can see comics as high as the number two spot with Captain Underpants. Here is my list of the must-read comics banned in different parts of the world but whose stories and images are important and should be read by all who enjoy comics and graphic novels.