The Comic Menace

Tom Tomorrow of This Modern World has posted an interesting story on his site about a teacher in Connecticut who was fired for giving a student a graphic novel for an assignment. Aside from the obvious injustice, it raises an interesting point about double standards for graphic novels. As the article points out, some books on the school reading list dealt with more controversial topics, and images containing nudity would not be uncommon to an art lesson.

What is it about graphic novels then, that make them more threatening to the delicate sensibilities of parents and administrators?

My guess is that its the connection that people make between comics, and their best known demographic audience in America, pre-teen boys. This bias creates the impression that all comics have to pass some kind of purity standard that makes them acceptable reading to young children- even if thats not their intended audience. It seems to be a clear example of an inability on behalf of a paranoid administration to distinguish the medium from the message.


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