Quick Hits | Graphic novels face scrutiny in Texas schools

Plus: Todd McFarlane wants ‘Batman/Spawn’ to be the biggest comic of the century! ‘Still Alive’ wins another award! And a look at Alan Moore’s funny funnybooks!

Book challenges | A police officer employed by Katy ISD, a suburb of Houston, Texas, removed a copy of the graphic novel Flamer by Mike Curato from high school shelves after a woman filed a criminal complaint alleging the district was providing “harmful” material to minors. The removal occurred last month, when school wasn’t in session, and was later returned to shelves after police concluded “the claim was unsubstantiated.”

The book had previously been challenged, reviewed and approved for high schools by a committee after earlier challenges by parents — although it was removed from junior high shelves at the time. The woman also threatened to report the district to the Texas Rangers if they didn’t remove the book.

Book challenges | The independent school district of Keller, Texas, a suburb in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, made headlines when they removed more than 40 books from library shelves prior to the beginning of the school year, including The Bible and a graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary, among many others.

The removals came as part of a new review policy enacted by the school board, which now includes several new members whose campaigns were financed by the conservative Patriot Mobile Action political action committee. The action led to push back and questions from many on social media, enough that the superintendent issued a statement clarifying why the books had been removed.

The review process for the two most mentioned books, The Bible and the OGN version of Anne Frank’s diary, progressed rapidly after the blowback, and both have been returned to shelves.

Interviews | In an interview that covers everything from comic sales to Ozzy Osbourne, Todd McFarlane tells The AV Club’s Bryan Reesman that he thinks the upcoming Batman/Spawn crossover he’s doing with Greg Capullo could be the biggest comic of the century and sell a million copies.

I keep telling DC people that this is going to be number one, by far. The question is, can we make it the number one book of the century? I think we can push a million copies of it. They’re like, “What?” Last year, the number one selling book was King Spawn. I sold half a million copies of it. Here’s what I didn’t have—the artist named Greg Capullo, who’s done both Spawn and Batman—he is the preeminent Batman artist. I didn’t have Batman, and I sold half a million. You give me Capullo and Batman, so why can’t I double the sales? That should be everybody’s goal. There hasn’t been a book with a million copies sold this century, so let’s do it. It’s a given we’re gonna have the biggest book of this year. Can we have the biggest of the century? Come on, everybody, let’s get geared up. Even if nobody makes an effort, we’re going to get close.

In a related article on the GRAMMYS website, McFarlane tells Ressman more about the “horror novella” he developed for Osbourne’s latest album, Patient Number 9. McFarlane also directed a video for the title track. The story rounds up several other comics/music connections, highlighting Z2 Comics and Opus Comics, and their various projects with Chuck D, Evanescence, Weird Al and more.

Passings | At The Comics Journal, Andrew Farago provides an in-depth obituary for cartoonist and MAD Magazine contributor Paul Coker Jr., who passed away in July at the age of 93.

Features | The Media India Group has a thoroughly interesting look at the comic market in India.

Commentary | Writing for NeoText Review, Chloe Maveal looks back at Alan Moore’s more humorous comics, like Bojeffries Saga and the comic strip Maxwell the Magic Cat.

Conventions | Both ICv2 and NPR look back at last weekend’s Emerald City Comic Con.

Awards | Still Alive by Safdar Ahmed has received the Eve Pownall Award from the Children’s Book Council of Australia, it’s fourth award this year. It will be published in the U.S. later this fall.

Awards | The nominees have been announced for the fourth annual Tripwire Awards, which are run by UK-based Tripwire Magazine. The awards include 18 categories across the spectrum of U.S. and UK comics, honoring creators, publishers and individual comics. Voting is open to anyone.

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