Yesterday, Bleeding Cool reported on an outraged mom from Washington who wants a book banned from the high school library in her hometown of Issaquah. The trouble started when she found what she described as "erotica" and "naked and sexual" images in the hands of her fourteen-year-old son, and the book in question is Mangaman, a 2012 graphic novel by Barry Lyga and Colleen Doran. The story made the local TV news when the school district refused to remove the book from the library, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is "watching this case closely."
In a statement to Bleeding Cool, Colleen Doran confessed to being baffled by the controversy, explaining that the complaints appear to miss the point of the scene in question:
I'm rather baffled by the entire situation. The book came out years ago. Barry Lyga and I had a lot of fun working on it. It did nice sales, we got some nice reviews, and moved on with our lives.
There's no sex in the book. In fact, the whole point of the supposedly offensive scene is that two teens make the mature decision not to have sex because they are not ready. I call that a good thing.
We've had no complaints about MANGAMAN in the years since it came out, and it's truly puzzling why one adult feels she has to ban a book from an entire library system because she does not feel her teenaged son is disciplined enough not to read something she tells him not to read. If she has a problem disciplining her son, then there is no call to take that problem out on the entire community via book banning.
There's nothing in the book you can't see on prime time network TV.
I sincerely hope the powers that be make the rational decision, and that they don't allow calls for censorship to prevail.
I've been cracking jokes with the family about it: a close relative used to teach seminars on pornography and the law. This isn't pornography.
It's not unusual to encounter people who want to ban books years after release: it's still happening to the work of Mark Twain and Balzac. It's just weird when your work is the target of the behavior and on the Comic Book Sexy Time Meter, I'd give this "erotica" a 2.
Barry Lyga also provided a statement to Bleeding Cool, saying:
There is literally nothing in Mangaman that you could not see on broadcast television in prime time. Nothing. This "controversy" is completely nonsensical.
In the spirit of comics, Lyga also offered a second, more sarcastic, limited edition variant statement:
Oh, good — it took five years, but people are FINALLY beginning to notice that Colleen and I are trying to sexualize pixels for the masses. You're welcome, people-who-are-aroused-by-static.
Mangaman is available for purchase on Amazon, pixelphiliacs. We'll keep you updated on this story.