Ennis and Robertson’s ‘The Boys’ Banned in Qatar
Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson and Russ Braun’s The Boys is a series that makes a point out of mining the darker underbelly of the superhero genre, in the process exposing more violent and sexual elements than many are comfortable with… including, it seems, one Middle Eastern country which has apparently banned the series after a reader tried to have copies shipped to her.Patricia Donohue lives in Qatar, a country bordering Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, and she decided that she wanted to buy some hard copies of The Boys after enjoying the series digitally, but having technical problems that weren’t getting fixed any time soon. “I’ve… ordered truckloads of comics and never had a problem before,” said Donohue in a letter she sent to The Comics Reporter and Bleeding Cool, but “apparently the time I decided to order a slightly more graphic series is the time [Qatari] customs decided to open the package.”
The Qatar Ministry of Culture confiscated Donohue’s shipment, labeling it “sexual” material and, as such, too offensive to be allowed into the country. Donohue explained,
The second time I went to the Ministry of Culture, I found out “The Boys” now live in a box labeled BANNED. I tried to talk them into letting me keep them (Come on, they’re drawings! Cartoons!) but they said absolutely not. I couldn’t even get them back to return them for a refund. I did however, get to sit there while they showed me some of the pages they found offensive (all of them).
“So basically I won’t get to read or finish The Boys until I move to another country,” Donohue concluded. The matter has been picked up not only by Bleeding Cool and The Comics Reporter, but also by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which notes that “such actions by customs officials are certainly disturbing, whether that order is in Qatar, Canada or even here in the United States,” adding that “this erosion of the right to free speech serves as yet another reminder that the battle against censorship is a long one.”
Perhaps Dynamite, who publishes the series, will offer Donohue a replacement set of The Boys if/when she leaves Qatar (No pressure, Dynamite, but still). In the meantime, you can donate to the CBLDF to show your opposition to such censorship here.
[Via the CBLDF]