Comics Lowdown | More ‘Gender Queer’ controversy

Plus: Tanzanian cartoonist arrested, NYCC manga news, and more!

Detail of cartoon from Tanzania

Gender Queer Challenged and Defended: The Brevard, Florida, Public Schools have removed a book from the Melbourne High School public library because it contained “adult images that have no place in education.” While they did not name the book, Florida Today speculates that it was Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer, which was the subject of a recent discussion on a local Facebook page. Superintendent Mike Mullins said that “BPS staff immediately agreed that this book violates our guidelines and that it has no place in our school district,” and he added that he has instructed the staff to check that there are no other such books in the school libraries. Gender Queer was also removed from the Fairfax, Virginia, public school libraries, but local station WTOP reports that students have pushed back: Over 400 students from across the district have signed a letter protesting the removal of the book. And in Williamstown, Michigan, parents are objecting to their children getting library cards because the book is in the local public library, according to the Lansing CityPulse.

Cartoon by Tanzanian political cartoonist Optatus Fwema, showing President Samila Suluhu as a child playing in a basin of water while her mentor and predecessor, Jakaya Kikwete, tries to reassure a crowd of confused citizens.

Despite a pledge by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu to support freedom of the press in her country, police in Dar es Salaam arrested cartoonist Optatus Fwema on September 24 and have been holding him without charges ever since, according to Reporters Without Borders. The reason: A cartoon portraying Suluhu as a little girl playing in water, while one of her predecessors (who is also her mentor) hides her from a group of people and tries to reassure them. Despite Suluhu’s promise of greater openness, several members of her government have called for crackdowns on those who “insult the president” or are not “guided by patriotism towards the nation.”

Image from Yashahime anime

NYCC Manga Update: Both Viz Media and Yen Press announced new titles at New York Comic Con last weekend, including the Yashahime manga (sequel to Inuyasha) and a collection of Death Note short stories from Viz and a story from Tapas from Yen.

Below the Fold

Now Read This: In the New York Times, Junot Diaz reviews Douglas Wolk’s All the Marvels, in which the author reads all 27,000 Marvel comics published since 1961 and treats them as a single, very long but coherent narrative.

A cartoon showing, on the left side, a man holding a box marked "cabbages" with the caption "Vaccinated" and on the right side, a man holding a box of coronaviruses with the caption "Not Vaccinated"

Local Heroes: Cronkite News has a story on cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz and social scientist Gilberto Lopez’s educational campaign about COVID-19 targeted at the Latino community, particularly farmworkers in the Southwest.

Comics Culture: Thanks to the sequential arts program at SCAD, Savannah, Georgia, has become a Hot Comics Town, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Hot Dish: Most of us already knew about Marvel editor in chief CB Cebulski’s unfortunate decision to adopt a Japanese name and persona several years ago (before he became EIC), but it came as news to Daredevil showrunner Steven DeKnight, who Tweeted on Saturday that he will not do any more writing for Marvel until the issue is resolved.

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