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Saturday, March 05, 2022 

Is anyone worried about the censorship of Maus also worried about Will Eisner's GNs experiencing the same?

The University of British Columbia did their own take on the case of Art Spiegelman's GN Maus getting shunned by a school district in Tennessee:
The McMinn County’s Board of Education cited “rough, objectionable language” and the cartoon drawing of a nude woman as their primary objections.

However, with editions flying off the shelves and comic book stores giving away copies, the McMinn County school board has, in fact, improved Maus’s distribution, getting it into the hands of more readers. [...]

In an interview, Schallié said this focus was inspired by her son’s discovery of Maus as a reluctant reader at age 11. She explained how comics are foundational in Holocaust education and that Maus is an essential piece of graphic literature for both middle- and high-school curricula. According to Schallié, Spiegelman’s complex esthetic modes of representation complicate the genre of survivor testimony to draw attention to the multi-layered process of witnessing. “To ban Maus in the middle-school curriculum,” she said, “does a great disservice to students.”
Yes, but with that said, there's something else unmentioned here, as though only Spiegelman's GN matters: what about the late Will Eisner's The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion? As Eisner himself once mentioned to the NY Times before his death, Islamic antisemitism was one of the issues that encouraged him to develop his last GN. And it wouldn't shock me in the slightest if many schools across the USA and elsewhere have long banned such comics because it's been taboo for a long time to say anything even remotely negative about the Religion of Peace in such institutions. Does that not do a great disservice to students too, especially after September 11, 2001?

On which note, about 5 months ago, Polygon wrote about a special panel on the writings of Will Eisner at the NYCC, and the artist Gene Luen Yang was one of the attendants, along with veteran editor Danny Fingeroth:
Award-winning American Born Chinese author Gene Luen Yang, New Kid’s Jerry Craft, and Lavender Jack’s Dan Schkade joined moderator Danny Fingeroth, historian and former Marvel Comics writer and editor to discuss Eisner. The illustrator — or cartoonist, or sequential artist, however you want to put it — innovated the comics medium during the “golden age” of the 1940s with newspaper strip The Spirit, before breaking ground on what would later become known as “graphic novels” through works like A Contract With God. His 1985 book Comics and Sequential Art explored his philosophy of comics creation and introduced countless creators to a new way of thinking about comics as a medium.

Eisner was arguably one of the founding fathers of the medium, and the highest award in American comics is named after him. Going page by page, and occasionally panel by panel, through Eisner’s extensive back catalog, Fingeroth kicked things off with an overview of Eisner’s many fabulous titles, reminding viewers of the many reasons why Eisner’s visual storytelling still stands as one of the most pure forms of the medium.
Yet this article makes no mention whether such a GN as The Plot ever came up in discussion, and chances are it wasn't even spoken of at the NYCC at all. Considering there's only so much about Eisner's resume that would be considered un-PC by today's liberal standards, much like the case with Spiegelman's GN, that's why there's valid reason to wonder if one day, Eisner's comics could end up being censored in more ways than one, and all the while, neither leftists like Yang nor Fingeroth will lift even a finger in Eisner's defense. Why, who knows, even the Eisner Awards, which has already experienced its own problems with wokeness, could end up having its name abandoned out of contempt for the poor guy.

And all the while, as Daniel Greenfield notes, it's Critical Race Theorists who're banning books, and scapegoating conservatives wholesale for their own loathsome acts, while replacing better items with bad ones:
Much like erstwhile liberals went from celebrating Jefferson and Lincoln to toppling their statues, their educational counterparts who had once vocally championed Huck and Mockingbird, and shouted down any effort to keep them out of the classroom, now just as vocally want them out and replaced with the deranged hateful ravings of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Ibram X. Kendi.
And Coates, lest we forget, has tragically won favor with mainstream comicdom's leftist gatekeepers, all so he can market his revolting politics in the most major comics. While many more famous scribes have been sidelined, or obscured altogether for the sake of pushing these modern phonies upon the products and their audience. Yet is Spiegelman worried? Doesn't look that way to date. Nor has Spiegelman protested any ban on Eisner's GNs at schools imposing such censorship, last time I looked. In that case, how does he expect to make a case effectively, if he won't stand up for other authors whose works have experienced similar issues? A similar question could be asked of the California specialty store manager Ryan Higgins, who's stepped up to plate in defense of Maus, but no mention is made in that article over whether he thinks Eisner's work makes for crucial material to defend as well. So of course, I'm wondering why the focus is so limited to the most obvious of subjects.

Congratulations to those championing the cause of Maus. But if they won't stand up for the sake of other works of biography and literature that're facing similar dangers because their subject matter isn't PC enough, that's not improving the situation a single bit. For all we know, it's bound to make the fight against censorship a lot harder.

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Anything's possible in the future, I suppose, but has anyone ever suggested censoring any of Eisner'a books, ever? It seems like the reason :Spiegelman has not protested any ban on Eisner's GNs at schools imposing such censorship" is that there are no schools imposing such censorship and there is no ban to protest.

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