Friday, April 30, 2010

All is not Happy in Boneville

A challenge to a graphic novel series written for children is ironic because it is so close to Free Comic Book Day. A recent story in the Minnesota Sun explains that parent Ramona DeLay was shocked that Jeff Smith's popular "Bone" graphic novel series has illustrations related to drinking, smoking, and gambling, activities the DARE program taught him not to do. She had filed a request to have the materials reconsidered for inclusion in the library. She objected to the book's portrayal of gambling, alcohol and tobacco use, and "sexual situations between characters" and indicated that she wanted the book "withdrawn from all students."

An interview with author Jeff Smith was held by Publishers Weekly.
JS: [Laughs] I'm laughing because it doesn't seem like you could really find those things. To a degree. In general, the characters in Bone are all adults and there are not a lot of strange activities like that, but there are storylines, some of the unsavory characters will try to pull scams, try to rig bets and things, and it always goes wrong. So no one is rewarded for doing any unsavory behavior in Bone, and it's difficult for me to see how anyone could think Bone would encourage kids to do unsavory things. Also, none of the main characters do these things. My conclusion is that some people aren't smart enough to read comic books.

He explains why his character was smoking.
The smoking in Bone, it's kind of like a time capsule thing. I started Bone in 1991. In 1988 there was a big movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and there was a baby smoking a cigar [in that movie]. So a cigar to me was like a Groucho Marx vaudeville prop, it was an anachronism. When I created the dragon, it was not the evil it is now. When I quit smoking in the middle of Bone, the cigarette just disappeared from the dragon's mouth.

According to a Wikipedia article, "Bone has received numerous awards, among them ten Eisner Awards and eleven Harvey Awards. In 2005, Time chose the 1,342 page compilation as one of the 10 best English language, graphic novels ever written."

The review board has voted 10 to 1 to allow the series to remain, according to

Why not celebrate Free Comic Book day by adding a challenged comic book or graphic novel to the Banned Book Challenge? How many challenged books can you complete in one month?

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