Washington Mom Wants Mangaman Banned For “Naked And Sexual Images”

Posted by November 4, 2016 Comment

mangamanA woman from Issaquah, WA is righteously outraged after finding her 14-year-old son in possession of a graphic novel called Mangaman by Barry Lyga and Colleen Doran, which she learned he obtained from his local high school library. Page 86 of the comic reportedly contains images that are shocking, disturbing, and possibly even both shocking and disturbing at the same time, but even more shockingly and disturbingly, the school district refused to remove the book from the library at her request, forcing her to take her case to the court of public opinion.

“It’s just erotica. These are sexual images, they are not naked images.” Shirley Lopez told local news station KIRO7, clarifying, “They are naked and sexual. I don’t need this to be on the menu at school.”

In an award-worthy news report from the station that failed to mention the name of the artist of the book, reporter Alison Grande incredulously noted, “But she said she was told it wasn’t going to be taken out of the library.”

Instead, the librarian offered to “shoo” Lopez’s son away from the book, which did not result in a compromise, though it is unknown whether one could have been reached if the librarian agreed to also to stand near the book and brandish a rolled up newspaper. The district asked Lopez to fill out a form requesting a formal review.

Comics First Amendment advocacy organization the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) described the process that would occur if Lopez submits the form.

If and when Lopez does file a formal challenge to Mangaman, the book will be assessed by the standing Instructional Materials Committee, consisting of 17 members including eight teachers and three librarians from all school levels, five community members, and a non-voting chairperson. They will issue a recommendation within two weeks, and if Lopez is not satisfied with the decision she can appeal it to the school board which would have the final say. In the meantime, district policy says the book is to remain available in the library.Bravely, KIRO 7 posted the images in question, and Bleeding Cool can confirm that they are indeed both naked and sexual.

CBLDF argues that the images aren’t shocking and disturbing at all, but rather that the scene “actually speaks to teen manga fans with sly visual tropes they already understand about an awkward situation many of them probably recognize.” They cite several positive critical reviews and note that all available reviews rate the material as appropriate for high school aged children or even younger.

Want to judge for yourself? We wondered whether we should dare post these images, due to their naked and sexual nature, but then we remembered that over 30% of our advertising revenue comes from articles about Frank Cho artwork, the largest single segment by far across the entire website (the next largest segment comes from a hardcore group of Dan Wickline fans that read all of his articles twice – once for the information, and the second time to savor the experience). So we decided to go for it.

You may want to sit down for this, or at least make sure there’s a fainting couch within falling distance.

Oh, and, uh, NSFW, if that wasn’t obvious so far.

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The image of protagonist Ryoko’s pixelated genitals is a reference to Japanese censorship laws, according to CBLDF, so the images must be therefore considered not just naked and sexual, but also in fact naked, sexual, and subversive.

For members of the Pulitzer Prize committee, KIRO7’s video report can be viewed at this link. Mangaman can be purchased on Amazon. For the time being, it can also be borrowed from the Issaquah High School Library.

(Last Updated November 6, 2016 9:44 am )

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A prophecy says that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero will come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events.

Scourge of Rich Johnston, maker of puns, and seeker of the Snyder Cut, Jude Terror, sadly, is not the hero comics needs right now... but he's the one the industry deserves.

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