15 Banned Comic Books

Comics are turning kids into criminal psychopaths! Superman inspires fascism! Batman turns kids gay! That nonsense was the thesis of Dr. Frederick Wertham’s 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent, and people believed it! The mass panic over how comics could be corrupting the children in the 1950s led to the creation of the Comics Code Authority censorship board. Today the Comics Code is dead, but calls for the censorship of comic books continue. Sometimes these calls actually lead to the books being pulled from schools or libraries (one was actually declared “obscene” in court!); but thankfully, more often than not, these challenges are rejected or overturned.

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Some of the banned and challenged comics on this list are clearly targeted at adult readers but because of the old “comics are for kids” stigma, get treated more harshly than prose literature of a comparable maturity level. Others are aimed at kids and teens, but treat their target audience with more respect and honesty than so-called moral guardians believe they deserve. For more information on cases of comic book censorship and how to combat such challenges, look into the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the American Library Association as resources.


Of all the comics you might expect people to try to ban, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man probably isn’t the first that comes to mind. But in Millard, Nebraska in 2009, a parent tried to get the second volume of J Michael Straczynski’s run of Amazing Spider-Man removed from her son’s elementary school.

Here’s a case where the parent almost has a point. The book’s violence is intense for an elementary school set, and Marvel rated it appropriate for ages 12 and up, so it would be better served moved to a middle school or high school. On the other hand, this wasn’t a complaint about the violence at all, but about “sexual…

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