Cartoonists’ Graphic Novels Banned in a Missouri Library

By: E&P Staff

Two acclaimed graphic novels have been at least temporarily banned from the Marshall, Mo., public library, according to stories linked today on Tom Spurgeon’s blog.

One book is “Fun Home” (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), in which cartoonist Alison Bechdel recounts her childhood living with a closeted gay father who taught English and ran a funeral parlor. Bechdel does the self-syndicated “Dykes to Watch Out For” comic.

The other graphic novel is “Blankets” (Top Shelf, 2003) by Craig Thompson, whose illustrated coming-of-age story includes material about his rigid Christian fundamentalist upbringing.

Marshall Democrat-News Editor Chuck Mason noted in a Friday piece that the library board of trustees voted to remove “Fun Home” and “Blankets” from the shelves while a “material selection policy” is developed. The action came after some local parents demanded the books be banned.

“I’m no legal scholar but there is one thing I do know: censorship is censorship,” wrote Mason. “I wouldn’t have cared if the decision had been made to put the two books behind a counter so that only age-appropriate individuals could see them. I wouldn’t have cared if the library board of trustees decided to lock the books up in a safe and give the library director the only key. … [But] removing the books from the shelves is a very bad idea.”

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