Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Alan Moore’s Neonomicon challenged in South Carolina

Neonomicon

Comics | The Greenville County (South Carolina) Library has removed two copies of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’ Neonomicon from its shelves after a mother filed an official challenge to the collection’s sexual content. Carrie Gaske said that although her 14-year-old daughter found the horror book in the adult section, she thought “it looked like a children’s comic,” and would be fine for her to check out. Daughter Jennifer soon discovered Neonomicon wasn’t the “murder mystery comic book” her mother believed it to be. “It was good at first,” she said. “Then it got nasty.” How “nasty”? “The more into I got the more shocked I was, I really had no idea this type of material was allowed at a public library,” Carrie Gaske said. “I feel that has the same content of Hustler or Playboy or things like that. Maybe even worse.”

The library allows children age 13 and older to check out books from the adult section with their parents’ permission. The library system’s two copies of Neonomicon have been removed from circulation while a committee reviews the content. [WSPA.com]

Creators | Darwyn Cooke takes questions about Before Watchmen head-on, politely disagreeing with those who think he shouldn’t have contributed to the prequels, and explaining why he did: “People say, ‘Oh, money this, money that.’ If it was about money I’d still be in L.A. doing cartoons. … This was an enormous challenge for me, and I took it knowing I was just as apt to fail. But it puts me out there, and that’s the only way to be going after something like this. And frankly I appreciate being a part of the things where the challenge is great.” [Comic Riffs]

The Mire

Creators | Becky Cloonan talks about self-publishing, her latest comic The Mire, and writing good fantasy: “I’m such a big fan of finding the little moments. When I grew up fantasy was almost all I read. But it’s common in fantasy to go big all the time, and that always feels like a mistake to me. When you see something like Game Of Thrones, the reason that show is so successful is because it takes the time to focus on character and conversation. The show gives you time to find these characters as people and live with them.” [The Beat]

Creators | Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction discuss collaborating in the kitchen, and cooking for their children, on a Food Network blog. [FN Dish]

Creators | Dick DeBartolo, the man behind the MAD satires, talks about his work, which has appeared in every issue of MAD Magazine since 1966. [The Paris Review]

Comics | Gary Phillips reminisces about the black superheroes he grew up reading about in Marvel comics in the 1960s: “The [Black] Panther was all regal wisdom and graceful power, the Sidney Poitier of the Marvel Universe; Luke Cage was street-savvy, stubborn and built for hellacious mayhem — Jim Brown without the referees.” [Hero Complex]

Retailing | Chuck Rozanski has more comics than Amazon in his Boulder, Colorado, comics shop, and he has lots of interesting opinions and observations, too: “Comic book stores are specialty stores that are testosterone-driven. The Internet has allowed women to see why comics are fun. Often, women start collecting by buying online, but one thing leads to another, and they come to the stores and to comic cons. At the San Diego Comic Con, it was 50-50 men and women.” [Denver Post]

Manga | David Brothers explains why he likes Akira Toriyama’s Dr. Slump, which he describes as a “smart dumb comic.” [4thletter!]

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Comments

32 Comments

Sounds to me like the Greeville County did all they needed to do, really. Comics are the easiest thing in the world to check the age appropriateness of, and I’d wager it would take less than 30 seconds to flip through “Neonomicon” and see it’s not appropriate for most 13 year olds. You’d think flipping through it’d be the first thing you’d do before handing something to a kid when the book is (1) in the adult section, and (2) all pictures.

On Neonomicon: I’ve read the comic; there’s some pretty graphic stuff in there. That’s why it was properly shelved in the adults section. I really don’t see the problem.

People need to stop looking for laws to do their parenting for them.

doesn’t sound like the mother DID look at it first, which is supposedly the process for kids to take out adult books
(“The library allows children age 13 and older to check out books from the adult section with their parents’ permission”). so either the mother didn’t check first, or the kid lied about her mother’s approval, or the librarian didn’t realize it was an adult comic and released it without approval.
pretty silly, but i guess it underscores how ingrained the idea “comics = kiddy fare” still is.

I’m with these fellows blessed with a bit of common sense (that’s you guys ^). It was correctly shelved, and if it requires a parent’s permission to check out, then the onus is completely on her to monitor what her daughter is reading. If she’s that concerned with what material her daughter reads or views, maybe she should take a slightly more active role in said control.

KaraokeFanboy

June 7, 2012 at 7:51 am

Indeed, this speaks to the overall topic — comics are NOT for kids. Will this mother, or others like her, feel the same way when her daughter picks up the New 52 Catwoman trade?

I can’t blame a parent for thinking that it would be OK for her kid. Yes, it was found in the adult section but 99% of the population still thinks comics are all ages. We like to tell others that most comics are not for kids but nobody is really grasping this. Libraries should do more to educate their visitors that comics are not exclusively for kids.

I read it; Neonomicon is pretty damn horrible. I wouldn’t let a kid read it, but

1) it looks NOTHING like a book for kids

2) it was properly filed in the ADULT section.

Bad parenting.

is the “adult section” just the non-kids section? or the section for books with “adult themes?”

“I feel that has the same content of Hustler or Playboy or things like that. Maybe even worse.”

Er yeah, I’m gonna go with “Maybe even worse.” If I started thumbing through a Playboy pictorial and it started in with demon fish rape, I must admit that would be a very unpleasant surprise.

Neonomicon is one of the few comics I’ve ever had to stop reading because the content was too horrifying.

That said? I could see removing it from the shelves of, say, a high school library, but I’m opposed to banning books from public libraries on principle.

“It was good at first” – with the really racist FBI agent? That was still appropriate for your daughter? I’ll assume that she never even reached the most “difficult” part of the book, the one that I can reasonably assume would upset any parent, but if she had bothered to flip through, even a little bit, some of the images would have raised her eyebrows enough to examine it a little closer. I completely agree that this is an abject failure on the part of the parent, but I put all of the blame where it squarely belongs: on the kid. You read or watch something that disturbs you? Put it down, take it back, say you didn’t like it and move on. If you tell your parents, you’ll never be allowed to take anything out of the grown-up section again. Honestly, Jennifer, what were you thinking? Your parents obviously don’t care enough about parenting you until after the fact, so you could have gotten away with it. Really, i am disappointed in you, young lady.

“I really had no idea this type of material was allowed at a public library,”

As someone with a Master’s Degree in Library Science, this kind of thing really pisses me off. Everything should be allowed in a library. That’s why it’s a library.

Judge Fred MANSON

June 7, 2012 at 8:56 am

A question: why this kind of book is not wrapped in a clear crystal plastic foil on the shelf and a copy is freely to be opened at the discretion of the LCS owner?

This is what it is done in France: the adult material is wrapped and with a big sticker “For Adults Only” on it, but a copy can be read at the discretion of all the CS owners with the same sticker applied on the cover of the book. So, no one is “punished” or “surprised” with such comic books/graphic novels.

Do not worry about the “public” books: they are sold after at very discounted prices!!!! :)

@jacob, you hit it on the head. This kid didn’t go behind the beaded section like in video stores of old. The adult section simply means books aimed towards adults, and isn’t off limits to kids. This story isn’t about good parenting or bad parenting; the mother simply thought it was a regular comic. The only difference between Moore’s book and other adult themed books is, instead of talking about sex, this book had visuals. And the mother isn’t calling for some sort of boycott, she just seemed genuinely surprised that of book of such nature is allowed in the library, and I think she has every right to be. Creepsters can also view pornography on computers in many libraries, and that’s somehow allowed. I think that surprised people too.

@Bill Reed – Everything, really? Should issues of Hustler be available in a public library? Are libraries suppose to be a depository for everything and anything ever printed?

Judge Fred MANSON

June 7, 2012 at 9:18 am

OOPS!!! I have made a mistake: the term “Library” in English is the same as “Librairie” in French but the definition here is “comic shop”. My mistake.

So, in our Libraries, the Adult section is not permitted to the young padawans else if these young padawans are with their parents.

The hard-core graphic novels are placed on the top of the shelves. All the books have a sticker on their cover, “For Adult Only”.

The librarians are also doing controls of the chosen books when children are with their parents. If there is a violation or a problem for this kind of books, the librarians have the last word.

@RunnerX13: onto the public computers, softwares provided by the Culture Dep., in coordination with the Security Dep. and with the control of parental associations, are installed with a lot of filters. To have no risk at all, all the computers must pass through a certified DNS provided by the same authorities.

If the parents want these softwares for their personal use, they can freely download them on the official websites of these authorities. But it is done only at the discretion of the parents.

Parents are responsible of their child(ren) education, readings, movies viewing and all. It is not into the attribution of a Gov. to substitute to the parents authority and education rules.

It is to the parents to have enough balls or guts to say “No!” to their child(ren).

The world might be a better place if librarians could shoot people who complain about content of books.*

*Not really. But kind of really. The fact that you have simply mated doesn’t mean the world should tailor itself for your children.

Youpuritanssickenme

June 7, 2012 at 9:32 am

“Creepsters can also view pornography”

Yeah, because obvisously anyone who views pornography is a “creepster”.

“Should issues of Hustler be available in a public library?”

Why on earth not?

@thecloser “The fact that you have simply mated doesn’t mean the world should tailor itself for your children.”

following that to the extreme, we could get rid of children’s sections in all public libraries. and public education in general.

If she really DID look through it, she would have quickly realized how inappropriate this was for a child in their early teens. I am so sick of parents who don’t parent, but instead expect entertainment to be a babysitter. Own up to it mom, you dropped the ball and now want to place blame on anyone but yourself for failing to live up to your responsibilities as a parent.

Neonomicon: The mother showed her stupidity by the comment she made indicating her belief that if it’s a comic book, then it must be okay for kids. When are people going to realize that “comics” are just as rich and diverse as any other story telling medium?! I tire of this kind of ignorane and stupidity!

So in South Carolina, a 13-year-old is considered an adult?

“following that to the extreme, we could get rid of children’s sections in all public libraries. and public education in general.”

Yeah because arguing that adults shouldn’t be exposed to art because people want the world to cater towards their kids is the same as arguing that kids shouldn’t be educated nor have books of their own.

The simple fact is that if you’re an adult, you shouldn’t have to suffer censorship on behalf of somebody else’s kids. The world shouldn’t have to babyproof itself for you

Rick Rottman:
No, they’re not. That’s why they need their guardian’s permission to check out a book from the adult section. Same way for parents and guardians being allowed to take their kids into an R-rated movie, but the kids can’t buy tickets themselves until they’re 17.

Why remove an adult comic book when it is properly placed in the first place? What an idiot this parent is, more so to the librarian who allowed a thirteen-year-old gal to the adult section! Some members of the world societies are still in the dark or parochial-mindedness about the multi-dimensional aspects of comics!

Hearing you guys describe the “bad” stuff in this comic just makes me want to go out and buy it

It sounds more interesting than any current comic I’ve read lately

And the racist FBI agent – yeah there are NO racists in law enforcement in real life

“Creepsters can also view pornography on computers in many libraries, and that’s somehow allowed. I think that surprised people too.”

Eh, the laws might be different in different states/communities, I suppose, but all of the libraries I’ve worked at (in the state of Ohio) forbid viewing pornography on their computers, and doing so will either get you kicked off for the day or have your card revoked, depending on the library and other circumstances.

Obligitory Backward South joke:

“So in South Carolina, a 13-year-old is considered an adult?”

Only if her husband says its okay.

As a kid I found the idea of an adult section at the library to be offensive. And I’m not talking about the sex books. I’m talking about all the other books I was not allowed to borrow because I was assumed to be too intellectually inferior to understand. (that’s the reason I was given when I was 10) Let the kids read what they want and maybe they’ll be less dumb than this mother when they grow up.

“Yeah because arguing that adults shouldn’t be exposed to art because people want the world to cater towards their kids is the same as arguing that kids shouldn’t be educated nor have books of their own.”

but unfortunately a lot of stupid people don’t see this as an issue of adults being exposed to art. they see this as an issue of “big government” spending tax payer money on weirdo pervert comic books to indoctrinate kids into some commie left wing homosexual cult. this story pops up every few months (there was a case involving trondheim’s dungeon series recently), the media loves it and it hurts libraries. and hurting libraries limits adults’ exposure to art.

should the mom have flipped through the book? yes. but, sadly, that’s expecting a lot from people. if libraries put stickers on certain graphic novels that say “contains adult themes” or “recommended for adults over 18″ they’d probably save themselves (and comic books) some bad press.

I don’t care about the stupid people. They’re stupid. I have a problem with people getting scared and giving into stupid people. I don’t care about a warning sticker. That’s not what this dummy wants. It is never what they want. They want to live in a world that considers them special because they have children and that the world should revolve around their little wee ones.

this is a quote from the “dummy:”

“I really think if they’re going to carry this type of material there needs to be a rating on it,” Gaske says. “There’s ratings on movies, music, video games. My daughter cannot go to the video game store and get a mature video game without me there.”

so that is what she wants. the library is against the ratings because “it’s up to each parent to read between the lines, and decide what’s appropriate for their child.” which is a great ideal but it’s not going to work out well for the library.

Someone took out a horror comic book in the adult section from their library and was shock to find out that it was a horror comic book mean for mature readers. I think those books should be back on the shelves, and the mom should have to take a course on understanding labels.

Also, I agree with Sirkowski; there’s nothing more infuriating than not being able to access a piece of literature, or art because of your age. I was never asked for ID at the library, but since I’ve turned 18, a new employee at my LCS has started asking me my age every time I buy something “for mature audiences.” A few years ago, I was refused entry to watch Watchmen, after having read the book four or five times, and having bought my ticket. Really, there’s a certain age where the parent shouldn’t even be involved with these kinds of things. If the kid was genuinely disgusted by this book, she should have stopped reading and returned it.

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