Robot 6

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Libraries | Two library employees in Nicholasville, Kentucky, were fired last month after they refused to allow an 11-year-old girl to check out The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which they dubbed pornographic. However, the policy of the Jessamine County Library states it’s the responsibility of parents to decide what’s appropriate for their child to read.

The fired employees, Beth Bovaire and Sharon Cook, stand behind their decision, asserting that the award-winning comic by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill contains lewd pictures that are inappropriate for children.

“If you give children pornography, a child, a 12 year old, can not understand and process the same way a 30 year old can,” Cook told a local television news station. [WTVQ, WTVQ]

Tokyo International Manga Library

Tokyo International Manga Library

Libraries | A private university in Tokyo hopes to promote the serious study of manga by opening a library stocked with 2 million comics, anime drawings, video games and other artifacts. If everything goes as planned, the Tokyo International Manga Library would open on the campus of Meiji University in 2015. [AFP]

Publishing | Even after the closing last year of Virgin Comics, upbeat profiles of the Indian comics industry continue to appear regularly. But here Gaurav Jain, head of the Mumbai-based Illusion Interactive Animation, offers a more dismal assessment of the scene in India: “While competition has arrived, the local industry continues to live in its shell, churning out visually unappealing and terribly written local content with little or no film and television possibilities. One of the most widely read labels offers sanitized, vanilla retellings of Indian mythology and historical figures with visuals inspired from the works of Raja Ravi Verma. Derivative art work and bland writing, leads to visual fatigue.” [The Wall Street Journal]

Stitches

Stitches

Publishing | Robert Weil, executive editor and vice president of W.W. Norton, discusses graphic novels and working on David Small’s Stitches and R. Crumb’s The Book of Genesis Illustrated: “I edit graphic artists the same way I edit language. My biggest encouragement to David was — he kept sending two or three pages to friends and his agent and to me, and finally I said, ‘David, I want you to be a cormorant. I want you to be a bird and go underwater and disappear for several months and just do it one last time. Just commune with yourself. Find the deepest possible images and stirrings in you and when you come up, you’ll be filled with fish in your beak. Which is what a cormorant does. I order you not to call anyone. Go in your studio and just resonate with your work.’ And he did.” [Graphic Novel Reporter]

Business | It’s looking more and more as if the financially troubled Spider-Man musical won’t open for previews on Feb. 25, as producers initially planned. [ArtsBeat]

Legal | Not comics, but Harlan Ellison has settled his lawsuit against Paramount over the studio’s alleged failure to pay him for merchandising, publishing and other exploitations of “City on the Edge of Forever,” an episode the author wrote for the original Star Trek TV series. [Variety]

The Book of Genesis Illustrated

The Book of Genesis Illustrated

Sales charts | Given the buzz surrounding R. Crumb’s The Book of Genesis Illustrated, it’s no surprise the graphic novel debuts as the No. 1 hardcover on The New York Times’ Graphic Books Best Seller List, bumping the first volume of Bloom County: The Complete Library to No. 2. [The New York Times]

Creators | Your R. Crumb profile of the day, focusing on “The Bible Illuminated: R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis,” which opens Saturday at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. [Orange County Register]

Creators | The Eastern Edge translates a discussion by Naoki Urasawa about drawing. [The Eastern Edge]

Air, Vol. 1

Air, Vol. 1

Creators | Writer G. Willow Wilson discusses her Vertigo series Air: “I have ideological boundary issues. Air is one of the very rare opportunities I get as a writer to ignore them. Air is what the world looks like: An inconvenient mashup of human politics and divine geography. We leave bits and pieces of ourselves and our history in every place we encounter. In Air, all that is externalized; the symbols we use to represent what we believe, and the lenses we use to look at our past, are all made physically real.” [Underwire]

Creators | Brett Williams talks with co-writers Tony Trov and Johnny Zito about their Zuda Comics series Black Cherry Bombshells and LaMorte Sisters. [Surfing the Bleed]

Manga | Robert Ring offers a brief history of Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy. [The Sci-Fi Block]

Comic strips | Jill Schulz, daughter of the late Charles Schulz, briefly discusses the enduring popularity of Peanuts and plans for the 60th anniversary of the comic strip. [Nerdage]

Comic strips | Adam Kepler spotlights Nevin Martell’s Looking For Calvin and Hobbes. [The Moment]

Comics | A TV station in Greensboro, North Carolina, is excited that a local landmark appears on the variant cover for G-Man #2. [Digtriad.com]

News From Our Partners

Comments

22 Comments

those librarians should be commended, not fired. I love LEG, but it’s not for an 11 year old girl!

The kid has two parents, not four. The librarians have no business deciding what someone else can or cannot read. Maybe they should have follow the policy of the county they worked for. I have no sympathy whatsoever for them.

i would let my 11 year old girl read it.

I agree, Alemander. Seems this county is one of the few places left in the world that still believes parents are the ulimate deciders on these issues. As a parent, I commend the county and wag the finger at the employees. Heck, when I was eleven I was reading Sandman. Pretty adult stuff for then.

At the very least, if they were concerned, the library workers could have asked the little girl if her parents were with her, so they could be aware of what she’s reading and make their own judgement. That would be a reasonable thing to do. But no way should they have denied her the ability to check it out. Frankly, at some point a judgement was made by the library not to keep this book behind the counter but instead shelved it where anyone could leaf through it, so the policy had presumably been vetted before this incident.

However, I do have to throw this out there: Movie theaters are able to deny entry to a minor to a movie that features material that is considered “suggestive”. I’m not saying one if correct and the other is not, but I’d be curious what thoughts others may have on the dichotomy. One big difference, of course, is that there is a clear ratings system for films, that, while often illogical and arbitrary, does give an employee at a movie theater the authority to make that call.

nIK:
“Seems this county is one of the few places left in the world that still believes parents are the ulimate deciders on these issues.”

Actually, the second link posted says that many libraries across the country have similar policies.

Sean T. Collins

October 23, 2009 at 8:52 am

I just enjoy watching the kinds of nitwits who’d refer to that book as “pornography” get fired.

Regarding the Librarians, I feel that what they should have done is contacted the parents of the little girl to see if they could in fact check the book to her.

Most Libraries have two different card types that they issue. One for kids that will signify the limitations of what they can check out. And also an -Adult_ card that is for anyone and can be used to check out anything from the Library. The parents must sign a release before a child under the age of 15 (I think) can get certain material.

LOTG does have material that can be considered pornographic in some sense of the word.
There is Nudity and adult situations within every story.
there is also the character of Orlando who is a purely sexual character who switches between a man and a woman.

I would not let my kid read any of the LOTG books and I am pretty open to allowing people to explore and experience different things. But most of the subject matter from the stories is a bit deep for most kids.

Finally, while the parents should be the ultimate deciders of what thier child is exposed to, 90% of them couldn’t be bothered enough to get off of thier ass’s to see if something is appropriate for a young child or not.

Just look at the retail arm of the gaming Industry for proof of that. How many stores and employee’s faced legal action because some dumb assed parent bought thier seven year old a copy of GTA?

“there is also the character of Orlando… who is a … character who switches between a man and a woman.”

So does a famous manga character when wet. It’s not an adult situation.

@Alan. I was not trying to say that the character was a sexual situation per se. I was just pointing out the nature of the character and assuming that the people who are reading this article are already familiar with the character and the exploits that he/she describes and alludes to throughout the series. Mostly in the Black dossier.
Additionally, I don’t think an 11 year old is really going to understand how a character can physically switch from male to female and back again while embracing this dual sexuality.
society itself has a hard enough time accepting people who are gay or transgender. Imagine some parent who has a hard time accepting something like that trying to explain the character to thier kid.
What would likely happen is they would lash out at the library for exposing thier kid and others children to such foul material. (yes, there are people out ther who would actually do that)

I find it hard to believe that the librarians were fired simply for not allowing the girl to take our LoEG. While I agree that it is the parent’s responsibility to follow his/her child’s reading and viewing habits, firing them for this seems a little extreme. This is either not the first time they did something like this or they had other disciplinary problems at the library before this.

On the other hand….a lot of parents don’t realize how graphic the content of comic books can be. I could see the story just as easily being ‘Librarians Fired for Giving Pornographic Material to Minor” after an angry call from some ignorant parent.

Either way, they were clearly in the wrong simply because it is not their place to decide what is and isn’t appropriate for ANYBODY to read.

Since all I have is the information provided, I can only base my opinion of those facts.

My opinion: I find it very disturbing that LEG is identified as pornographic by these employees. Adult themes and scenes, certainly. But pornographic is a bit of a stretch and I’m almost sure material of that nature, if it were in a public library’s inventory, would not be easily accessible to children.

It all feels like an over reaction on behalf of all parties but being a elementary school teacher myself, when dealing with another person’s child (and what is right and what is not) especially with potential legal action as a possibility, it is usually best (and safest) to follow regulations to the letter and when in doubt err on the side of caution.

Regardless of what one feels about the whole mess, that’s simply the reality of this type of situation.

Given what usually happens in cases like this, part of me can’t help but wonder if the librarians aren’t better off making that decision. I mean sure they really have no right to decide what’s appropriate for the girl but I can easily picture a scenario where they’re fired and ARRESTED for distributing “porn” to minors so I couldn’t really fault them if their reasoning was a desire to cover their own butts instead of the “we know better than the parents what’s appropriate” rational they actually used.

I certainly don’t think League of Extraordinary Gentlemen qualifies as pornography, though I do agree that it is probably not appropriate for an eleven year old. Once almost immediately after I had praised it, I ended up discouraging a friend who is a nanny from buying it because she was of the mistaken impression that it was sort of like Tintin and planned to read it to her charges.

That said, I find it odd that people are fixated on the portrayals of sex and of Orlando’s gender changing.

The first thing that would have come to my mind as inappropriate for young people are the number of rapes and sexual assaults (both attempted and successful.) My feeling is that an eleven year old might be able cope with the sex scenes between Mina and Alan in Volume 2 (probably by skipping them) but the portrayal of rape might be difficult for a young reader not emotionally equipped to process it. Even the most mature of eleven year olds have a huge difficulty grasping irony and context: a kid might be able to process that Mina and Alan are having sex because they love each other, but that makes Griffin’s raping of the girls in the school, or Hyde’s rape of Griffin even more confusing to a kid.

I agree with arcee: in this sort of situation, i.e. dealing with other people’s children, it is best to act with caution. The point we also have to remember is that there are some stiff penalties for providing pornography to a minor, so if the librarians sincerely believed LOEG was pornographic (again, a proposition with which I disagree), then they would be understandably fearful of the repercussions of loaning the book out.

That said, the librarians, were they more graphic novel savvy, could have said, “This might be too grown up for you, but you might like Girl Genius!” which would have saved everyone a lot of trouble.

That’s cool about the manga library. There’s already one in Hiroshima. It’s pretty cool. Not huge like this one they’re planning, but it’s neat.

uncle joe mccarthy

October 24, 2009 at 12:29 pm

lotg pornographic????? dont make me guffaw

maybe too adult for an 11 year old, but far from pornography

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen pornographic?
Really?

It depends on which volume of the book the girl was checking out. The second minseries and the Black Dossier have some pretty explicit sex scenes (espcially the latter, which has a Fanny Hill story and a Tijuana bible in addition to the scene where you can see Alan Quatermain’s wang)..

First, these women are not librarians, they are support staff who were not authorized or trained to make decisions about collection development or readers’ advisory. If they had concerns that should have told their supervisor(s) and let those with authority make the decision. They had no right to make that decision.

The two women in question are indeed librarians, whether one has the degree or not is immaterial, if you check out books to people you are a librarian. Second, the two women in question were model employees and their absence has been felt dramatically by the public and by people that work there (yes I am from the county in question and love our library). there were no other discipline problems with the two, nor had they ever done anything like this before. It is the first time to my knowledge this issue had ever come up. Also, it should be noted that the women were willing to compromise when the issue of the book was first brought up (before the incident with the hold item for the 11 year old girl), they asked originally if the graphic novel section (which is technically in the adult section) could be moved away from the teen section of the library where it is currently housed. In fact, when looking at graphic novels all one has to do is turn around and find the Gossip Girl series. However, the library wasn’t willing to compromise even on that small detail.

“… if you check out books to people you are a librarian”

That’s incorrect.

Leave a Comment

 



Browse the Robot 6 Archives