Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
Listed as the most frequently banned or challenged book in 2013 by the ALA, Captain Underpants follows the adventures of an unlikely superhero created by two 4th graders, George and Harold. George and Harold, the narrators of the comic, hypnotize their tyrannical principle, Mr. Krupp, and accidently cause him to become their beloved “Captain Underpants.”
This childhood favorite has been included in the ALA’s Top Ten Challenged Books List by Year in 2013, 2012, 2005, 2004, and 2002. Despite its frequent challenges and notoriety, Captain Underpants has instilled a love of reading in many young readers.
Reasons for challenge: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence, anti-family content, sexually explicit
Maus by Art Spiegelman
Spiegelman’s Maus tells the story of a family of mice who are taken from their homes and forced into a labor camp. Using cats, mice, and pigs, Spiegelman shares his family’s story of living in Nazi Germany as Polish Jews. Cats, who represent Nazi soldiers, terrorize the mice, who represent Polish Jews, as the pigs, non-Jewish people, try to handle the change in their society.
Maus tells a well-known story in a new way as readers are able to combine visual images with a personal narrative.
Reasons for challenge: Anti-ethnic, unsuited for age group
Bone (series) by Jeff Smith
Another frequently challenged comic book, Bone was named the number 10 most challenged book of 2013 in the ALA’s Top Ten Challenged Books List by Year.
“After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone are separated and lost in a vast uncharted desert. One by one they find their way into a deep forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures.” – About Bone
Reasons for challenge: Political viewpoint, racism, violence
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) has released a list of other challenged or banned comic books which includes:
- Amazing Spider-Man: Revelations by J. Michael Straczynski, John Romita, Jr., and Scott Hanna
- Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa
- Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley
- Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Boland
- Blankets by Craig Thompson
- Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
- League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neil
- Neonomicon by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon
- Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists
- Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
For more information on why these comics have been banned and for synopses check out CBLDF’s website.
Guest post by Liz Charlton, 2016.