The 15th Rumour Awards – Censorship Of The Year

It's a long long time since the very first one of these. I was 28 when I decided that an annual look back at the rumours and scoops of the year would be a good thing. 15 years later, that's still to be determined. But here we go again with a self congratulatory pat on the back. Mostly.

But feel free to catch up with previous years by clicking on all these links.

Some people believe that censorship is the preserve of governmental bodies and can not be carried out by a private individual or private business. That's not true – while "censor" is an official government title, censorship means only acting "like" a censor, rather than acting in an official capacity. People now this when they say "self censor" but lose it when they talk about the actions of a publisher…

So for the purpose of this article, censorship will cover the actions of global publisher, distributor and seller Amazon as well as a small public library in the middle of nowhere.


I was told that in the wake of the Milo Manara Spider-Woman cover controversy from last year, Marvel became a lot more risk averse when it came to that kind of imagery. Which is why the appearance of Madelyne Pryor in the Secret Wars crossover Inferno saw her appearance censored by over-concerned editors.


Miracleman came under the censor again, first for the Alan Moore/John Totleben issue 15 for a similar reason to last year, as this…


…becomes this even when bagged and serious content warnings placed on the cover.

Image (23)

Though as we pointed out, this scene from Uncanny X-Men #196 is still published without any such restrictions.


And then the Gaiman/Buckingham issues met a similar fate.

unnamed (2)unnamed (1)

As one comic store also banned Paper Girls for using the F-word. Another store banned Fables – also drawn by Buckingham – for the comments made by its writer, Bill Willingham.

Grindhouse: Drive In Bleed Out found itself censored by Diamond Comic Distributors from being sent over the Canadian border. Richard Corben censored his own Rat God for its republication. And UKIP called for pro-Europe comics to be banned.

Google Play censored swathes of comics without adequate explanation or an appeal process on very spurious and not equally applied criteria.

Hey, remember how I said STORY OF OH and VLADRUSHKA were now available (as well as LULU Book 1, MARTHAand SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF, which still are available there) on Google Play?

PSYCHE! Banned again!

It was also the year in which Persepolis became the second most challenged book in US libraries.

But these are all piddly asides to the greatest attempt at censorship this year, partially successful, partially not. That would have been the murderous terrorist assault on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in January last year. The resultant furore on this assault on freedom of the press, targeting cartoonists no less, saw world leaders from all manner of regimes unite together, saw the magazine in demand all over the world and circulation hit the millions and still remain around 300,000, well over their previous 60,000 circulation. To that extent, the assault failed in every way other than the targeted cartoonists are still dead.

Happy New Year.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

twitter   facebook square   instagram   globe