Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday Morning Superhero: Banned Books Edition

In honor of Banned Books Week I am bringing about a special edition of Thursday Morning Superhero.  It was another great weeks of comics, but this week is about celebrating the freedom of speech, creativity, and reading!  Despite the fact that it is 2014, books still face banishment from schools and libraries.  The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) is a non-profit that provides legal support to protect the first amendment rights in the comic medium.  I urge you to support the great work they provide here.  Instead of my usual round-up, I am going to rate the top 5 banned comics that I have enjoyed.  The common theme that they all have is that each one is groundbreaking and are at the top of many lists for comic books that everyone should read at least once.

1. Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Boland:  One of the most critically acclaimed Batman stories of all-time.   A library in Nebraska argued that this book advocated killing and rape, due to what the Joker does to Jim Gordon and his daughter.  What happens in this book, without any major spoilers, was instrumental in the development of Barbara and remains one of the most shocking and brilliant Batman stories of all time.

2. Blankets by Craig Thompson: In one of the most semi-autobiographical comics that I have read, Thompson's Blankets is a story about growing up in a religious house and the struggles he faced with his identity and his relationship with God.  Members of the board of a library in Missouri felt that the book contained pornographic images and should be banned.   Thompson's story is a book that should be prominently featured on every comic book fan's shelf and we should celebrate what an amazing storyteller Thompson is.

3. Sandman by Neil Gaiman: This series, which was currently revived, is one of the most banned comic books of all time.  Gaiman's tale of the Sandman his mystical siblings is both shockingly beautiful and dark at the same time.  Winner of multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards, this is considered one of the greatest comic book works of all-time.

4.  Bone by Jeff Smith: A fantastic all-ages book that I have enjoyed reading with my son, Bone is surprisingly challenged quite frequently.  Bone follows the adventures of Bone and his two cousins after their banishment from Boneville. The three encounter magic, dragons, and have a wild variety of amusing adventures.  The most common complaint is that the book promotes smoking and drinking, but with the support of the CBLDF many of these bans have been overturned.

5. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons:  One of the most critically acclaimed stories of all-time, Watchmen has faced numerous challenges due to its violent content.  Moore isn't the friendliest person when facing these bans, but given the political nature of the book I'm not surprised.  Another classic that should be on everyone's shelf.

POSTED BY MIKE N. -- comic guy, proudly raising nerdy kids, and Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2012.