Posts Tagged ‘comics’

  1. South Carolina Library’s Graphic Novel Banning Controversy

    January 4, 2013 by lindsay

    Last month the director of Greenville County Library in South Carolina made the decision to ban Alan Moore and Jacen Burrow’s graphic novel Neonomicon from the library system. The book, which was released in 2011, was challenged in June by library patron Carrie Gaske after her 14-year-old daughter borrowed the book from the adult section of the Hughes Main Library.

    Neonomicon is a horror comic about FBI agents investigating cult murders that are connected to writing of HP Lovecraft. The comic, which was the first recipient of the graphic novel prize within the Bram Stoker Awards, contains violent sexual imagery, including a women being raped by a fish-man.

    In a letter of support written by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the organizations defend the position of the book in a library collection stating “Removing it because of sexual content not only fails to consider the indisputable value of the book as a whole, but also ignores the library’s obligation to serve all readers, without regards to individual tastes and sensibilities.” The groups defended the disturbing sexual content as a commentary on how such subject matter is handled in the horror genre. They also caution that the removal of books based on violent sexual content could potentially see the loss of books such as Aeschylus’ Oresteia or Toni Morrison’s Beloved.

    Many libraries solve the problem of questionable content by keeping challenged books in specific parts of the library that will keep them out of the hands of children. A classic example is Herge’s Tintin in the Congo which is often kept in adult or special collections because of its stereotyped depictions of the Congolese. However, in the case of Neonomicon in Greenville, the book was already kept in the adult collection.

    What compounds free speech groups’ frustration with this decision is that the committee who reviewed the book for the challenge decided it should be kept in the collection.  It was library director, Beverly James, who overruled the decision and removed the book, calling it “disgusting.”

    Moore is an award-winning graphic novel author (Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Batman: The Killing Joke) and a vocal defender of libraries. During the 2011 campaign to save the St. James Library in Northampton, England, Moore spoke at rallies and made a video about the value of libraries. “I am very concerned about the kids today who may grow up without this access [to libraries]. I am very against taking literacy away from people,” he said during a rally for the library.

    “If my work means anything to anybody out there then they shouldn’t thank me for it, they should thank the institution of the libraries that created me.”


  2. The Zine Fair: A Librarian’s Guide to Independent Press

    October 21, 2012 by lindsay

    Canzine is a large zine fair put on every year by Broken Pencil magazine. This Sunday marks the 17th Canzine in Toronto and the seventh Canzine I have co-programmed.

    In order for librarians to get a first-hand view of what is happening in alternative media and what their users are creating local zine fairs, independent book fairs and comic festivals are great opportunities.

    Tomorrow’s Canzine will feature over 170 zine makers and small presses selling their literary and artistic works. Makers come from across Ontario and up from the States to sell their wares and meet other creators.

    Two recent articles on zines, collecting written ephemera and Canzine were in Metro and Xtra.

    Other upcoming zine and small press fairs include Expozine (November 17 & 18, Montreal), Canzine West (November 17, Vancouver), Buffalo Small Press Book Fair (March, Buffalo) and the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (May, Toronto).

  3. Cleveland Library to Unveil Harvey Pekar Statue

    October 5, 2012 by lindsay

    On October 14, the Lee Road branch of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library will be unveiling a bronze Harvey Pekar statue. According to Comics Alliance, Pekar’s widow, Joyce Brabner, decided to start a Kickstarter to fund the statue to raise awareness for comics as a literary artform.

    Before his death, Pekar spent a lot of his time at this library branch. At 2pm, October 14, there will be a statue and plaque dedication ceremony followed by a presentation by JT Waldman who collaborated with Pekar on his posthumously released book Not The Israel My Parents Promised Me. The book, which was released this summer, will be for sale at the ceremony.

  4. My New Jobs

    August 31, 2012 by lindsay

    This fall I will be starting two new jobs that combine my interests in art, comics and libraries.

    First, I am very excited to be starting a job at The Beguiling and Little Island Comics as a Library Services Coordinator. The Beguiling is a 25-year-old comic shop in Toronto that focuses on underground and avant-garde work while also carrying a wide variety of superhero, manga and mainstream comics. Its library services department sells comics and graphic novels to libraries and my job will be to manage customer accounts for school and public libraries, advise librarians as to what comics will work for their patrons and be a resource and advocate for comics as a key component of contemporary library collections. Library services is based out of The Beguiling’s kids comic store, Little Island Comics, and there I will also share books with kids and help out with special events such as author in-stores and comic workshops. While I’m already enthusiastic about graphic novels, in this position I will be learning a lot more about kids comics, manga and comic collection development.

    I will also be back at OCADU’s Dorothy H. Hoover Library, helping students to find research materials and, I hope, sharing books and zines with them through the reading club I started last year. OCADU has just joined the Ask a Librarian program, so once a week I will be online answering questions while I help people at the library’s reference desk.

    Alternative media in libraries is one of my main interests. I feel very lucky that through both of these positions I will have the opportunity to share comics, zines and art with librarians, kids and students.


  5. Comic artists at ALA

    July 2, 2012 by lindsay

    This video by cartoonist and filmmaker Derek Kirk Kim was taken at the American Library Association convention’s Artist Alley. In the video, comic creators talk about how refreshing it is to sell their work at a convention for librarians where the people coming to their tables are enthusiastic, curious and grateful.

    Indie cartoonist Jerzy Drozd particularly likes that librarians are more open to independent work and are not focused purely on characters with mainstream popularity. The video also features commentary about biases against comics and the reasons that comics belong in libraries.