Comic Book Shop Owner Offers Free Copies Of Banned Graphic Novel ‘Maus’, Causing Massive Sales

The topic of censorship has been a hot topic lately. The Texas book ban proposal is making headlines, with nearly 100 school districts calling for the removal of library books dealing with race, racism, sex, gender and sexuality.

NBC has listed 50 titles that parents have tried to ban in Texas, and the list includes such beloved works as “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky and “The Bluest Eye” by Toni. Morrison.

But it’s not just Texas. Book bans are spreading across the country so quickly you’d think we’re living through Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” Which, ironically, doesn’t seem forbidden yet (this time, at least).

A comic book store owner decided to take a stand by sending out free copies of a graphic novel deemed “too graphic” for eighth-grade curricula. And because of his actions, others are following his example.

When Ryan Higgins, owner of Sunnyvale’s Comics Conspiracy (cool store name), learned that Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize winner “Maus” had been pulled from the program by the McMinn County School Board in Tennessee, he was baffled.

“You can’t teach the Holocaust without showing the most graphic images humanity has ever seen,” Higgins told SFGATE. “[“Maus”] is nothing compared to reality. It’s just amazing that they take it away. It’s one of the most acclaimed graphic novels of all time, it’s just a landmark work. It’s been taught in schools, libraries and colleges for decades at this point.”

“Maus” depicts the story of Spiegelman’s parents who lived through the Holocaust and their imprisonment in Auschwitz. In the comic, Jews are represented by mice, Germans by cats, Poles by pigs, Americans by dogs, and Swedes by deer. Like “Watchmen” and “The Dark Knight Returns,” “Maus” played a pivotal role in bringing mature comics to mainstream audiences.

So why was it banned? No more profanity and nudity complaints. In particular, a dead naked female mouse, in a scene that mirrored the suicide of Spiegelman’s mother.

Writing in USA TODAY, Spiegelman himself called the decision “a culture war that got totally out of hand.”

In anti-Orwellian fashion, Higgins offered to donate up to 100 copies of “Maus” to any interested family in the McMinn County area.

Although Higgins has made similar offers in the past, this time the engagement went viral. And now it’s a movement in its own right. On Sunday, the complete edition of “Maus” had snagged the top spot on Amazon’s best-selling book list.

Nirvana Comics in Knoxville has created a fundraiser to help provide more copies to students. His goal was to raise $20,000. So far he has raised over $100,000.

On the fundraiser’s website, Nirvana Comics hailed Spiegelman’s work as a “masterpiece” and “one of the most important, impactful, and influential graphic novels of all time.” “.

“We think it’s a must-read for everyone,” the outlet said.

For Higgins, championing impactful artwork is more than fighting the status quo. It is about being a force for good.

The store owner told the Washington Post, “When thought-provoking comics and graphic novels are banned, it hits my world. I can send free copies of ‘Maus’. If even a child reads it and it changes their world, that’s a wonderful thing.

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Daniel K. Denny