Greenville County, SC — Alan Moore’s graphic novel, Neonomicon, was banned from a South Carolina library after it was checked out by a 14-year-old girl using an adult library card.
The graphic novel had been shelved in the adult section because of its content. But when the girl asked her mother, Carrie Gaske, about an unfamiliar word, Gaske filed an official challenge against the graphic novel in June. The library has now made an official decision to ban Neonomicon.
When the book was first challenged, it was removed from the library’s shelves and went to an internal committee for a review. The committee advised the Greenville County Library to keep the graphic novel in circulation. The head of the library system, however, disagreed and removed Neonomicon from the library’s collection.
“I can override their recommendation,” Beverly James said. “I’m ultimately responsible.”
The National Coalition Against Censorship and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund have defended Moore’s graphic novel. The coalition said that Moore’s “deliberately disturbing depictions of sexual violence are included as a critical comment on how such subject matter is handled elsewhere within the genre.”
Neonomicon deals with two FBI agents who are investigating a series of ritual murders. It takes a look at the works of HP Lovecraft, as well as issues of race and sexuality. It also contains a rape scene that goes on for several pages.
Gaske said when her daughter first showed her the graphic novel at the library, “It looked like a murder mystery comic book to me. It looked like a child’s book.” Gaske said she flipped through it and thought it was OK for her daughter to check out. Later, however, she gave it a second look.
“I feel that has the same content of Hustler or Playboy or things like that,” she said. “Maybe even worse.”
Have you read Neonomicon? Do you agree with the library’s decision to ban it?