New Kid by Jerry Craft, Maus by Art Spiegelman, American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, Anne Frank’s Diary (Graphic Adaptation) adapted by Ari Folman and David Polonsky, and, of course, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe are among the most challenged or banned comic books since the year 2000 as compiled by Book Riot.
It is impossible not to see the trends, even for readers who may not be familiar with comics. These books are queer, they are by or about people of color, and they are about immigrants.
Though comics has been a part of the American literary landscape for well over 100 years, it was not until the early 2000s when more comics began to make their way into schools and libraries. Many were, of course, of the superhero variety, but as comics became more widely accepted as a legitimate form of reading and literacy, more comics beyond the superhero worlds emerged. The late ’00s and early ’10s were especially vibrant times for comics for young people, and as such, censors made their voices heard, challenging and banning comics.
These are the most challenged and most banned comics in the U.S. right now, in order.
While in Virginia there is some good news involving Gender Queer.
In a resounding victory for the freedom to read, a Virginia state judge on August 30 swiftly dismissed two closely watched cases that sought to bar the public display and sale of two books alleged to be obscene under an obscure state law. Furthermore, in dismissing the cases the court struck down the Virginia law upon which the cases were brought, finding it unconstitutional. The orders were delivered immediately following an August 30 hearing.
Specifically, the court found for the defendants on virtually every argument offered. The court agreed that the Virginia statute in question does not allow a court to find a work “obscene for minors” and thus the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. In addition, the plaintiffs failed to prove the works in question are in fact obscene. And in an unexpected (but one welcomed by freedom to read advocates) portion of the ruling, the court struck down the Virginia statute upon which the case is based.