Eric Stephenson on Banned Books: "Today We See Comics by Marginalized Voices as the Most Frequently Challenged"

In an unexpected move for the usually anti-censorship publisher, Image Comics sent out a press release Thursday urging readers to join them in celebrating banned books. Even more strangely, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, an organization which is dedicated to fighting censorship, is in on it too.

Image Comics is celebrating Banned Books Week with Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table of the American Library Association by producing a week of Library Livestreams featuring creators Nick Dragotta (EAST OF WEST), Grace Ellis (MOONSTRUCK, Lumberjanes), Pornsak Pichetshote (INFIDEL), Charles Soule (CURSE WORDS), and Skottie Young (I HATE FAIRYLAND, BULLY WARS, MIDDLEWEST). Libraries around the country are invited to welcome their patrons for these exciting creator conversations during Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, which runs from September 23rd-29th. Each Image Comics Library Livestream will be a freewheeling discussion on creativity, freedom of expression, and the power of storytelling that library patrons around the world will be able to enjoy.

Oh, we get it now. Banned Books Week is actually against banning books, and it's that fight which Image and the CBLDF are celebrating. That makes a lot more sense. Why didn't they just say that in the first place?

Image publisher Eric Stephenson released the following statement:

Freedom of expression is a core value at Image Comics. Banned Books Week is an important opportunity to reflect on why free speech matters, and why this year's Banned Books Week theme, 'Banning Books Silences Stories' is such a resonant one. Not too long ago, comics of all kinds were silenced, and today we see comics by marginalized voices as the most frequently challenged. We're proud of our creators who are participating in these Library Livestreams and thrilled to be a partner with CBLDF and the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table to advance the discussion about the power of free expression. In our challenging times, this conversation is one of the most important ones of all.

Here's the schedule of Twitch livestreams:

Presented by Image Comics with The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table of the American Library Association, the Image Comics Library Livestreams feature:
Pornsak Pichetshote – Tuesday, Sept. 25th
Nick Dragotta – Wednesday, Sept. 26th
Grace Ellis – Thursday, Sept. 27th
Charles Soule – Friday, Sept. 28th
Skottie Young – Saturday, Sept. 29th

Simply visit the Image Comics Twitch page at All webinars will run from 7-8pm EST and will include a discussion between moderator and creator for 40-45 minutes, followed by 15-20 minutes of Q&A participation with the live audience. No registration is required to view these livestreams.

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A prophecy once said that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero would come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events. Sadly, that prophecy was wrong. Oh, Jude Terror was right. For ten years. About everything. But nobody listened. And so, Jude Terror has moved on to a more important mission: turning Bleeding Cool into a pro wrestling dirt sheet!
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