Graphic novels and comics are the focus of this year's Banned Books Week, which starts up September 21, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is getting a head start on the festivities with its new handbook for the occasion, which features a cover by Bone writer/artist Jeff Smith.

The CBLDF's Banned Books Week Handbook not only offers up a list of a few comics that have been banned in US schools and libraries -- including Bone, Fun Home, Watchmen, Sandman, Blankets, and Persepolis -- and the reasons why, but also debunks some of myths surrounding banned books.

One of the myths the handbook busts is the idea that banning a book only impacts a handful of people in a single community. Here's the handbook's counter-argument:


Each time a book is removed, it reinforces the idea that ideas are off-limits if someone doesn't like them. It contributes to a culture where it's better to hide from controversial or difficult topics than to acknowledge or discuss them. Restricting or banning a book hurts kids and education, because teachers and librarians may decide not to buy a similar book, even if they feel it would be educational or enjoyable.


In addition to the list of banned comics and busted myths, the handbook also includes a primer for people who want to fight censorship, and ideas for librarians and others who want to start up a Banned Books Week celebration in their own community. For example, the handbook suggests encouraging cosplay or a film festival of movies based on banned books.

You can download the handbook for free right here, and printed editions of the book are available in the July Previews catalog.  The CBLDF has also released a series of discussion guides about books such as Fun Home and Dragon Ball for librarians, teachers, retailers and others who may wish to lead group discussions about banned books. Those are available here.

More From ComicsAlliance