September 15, 2014 By: Andy Mansell Category: Comics Industry, EVENTS, Heroes Aren't Hard To Find, Looking Ahead, NEWS, Other Events, Out and About, This Just In

ABFFEAlong with the opening week of the Football season and the beginning of the new school term, each year September also brings us Banned Book Week. It is an annual reminder of our freedom to read.

Banned Book Week is officially scheduled Sept. 21 – 27 but there are a variety of events that will occur throughout the month. BBW is sponsored by local libraries, independent retailers along with a supportive legion of readers all over the world From the Banned Books Website: “BBW was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported.”

Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) publishes a Top Ten list of Frequently Challenged Books. This year’s list (published in April) includes the # 1 Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series for offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence. The list is rounded off with Jeff Smith’s Bone series at #10 for political viewpoint, racism, and violence

“This year we spotlight graphic novels because, despite their serious literary merit and popularity as a genre, they are often subject to censorship,” said Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee.

At this past summer’s HeroesCon, Prof. Craig Fischer created a panel that focused on the history of the Comic Book Defense League Fund as well as a roundtable about the local issues an NC school had with Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. This will be posted at the Dollar Bin site later this month.

Locally, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Libraries are offering dozens of Banned Book Week events—everything from Art contests to Reading groups. To see all of the events in your area go to:

This year, Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find is doing their part to support this noble and important movement.  Warehouse Manager Seth Peagler and Heroes Discussion Group leader Andy Mansell will be appearing at a number of branches this month to discuss Banned Books:

Seth will join UNCC Professors Robert Campbell (Graphic Design) and Dr. Erik Waterkotte (Print Media) to discuss the importance of comics and graphic novels and how they are susceptible to censorship. Audience: Adults, Teens (12-18) 9/18/2014 at 6:00 PM: Morrison Regional near South Park.

Andy will lead discussions at the following branches on why comics are particularly vulnerable to challenges and focus on some of the more frequently challenged titles.

9/18/2014 at 6:00 PM: Scaleybark  Audience: Teens (12-18), Adults, Seniors

9/24/2014 at 2:30 PM: Independence Regional   Audience: Teens (12-18)

9/25/2014 at 5:00 PM: Mountain Island Audience: Teens (12-18), Adults, Seniors

We hope to see you there and remember, reading is one of our greatest gifts. Never take it for granted!


HEROES DISCUSSION GROUP :: YOUR TURN!!!–Saturday December 14th at 1:00pm

November 15, 2013 By: Andy Mansell Category: DISCUSS, Discussion Group, EVENTS

discussion_groupWell, we made it!  50 discussion Groups with hardly any injuries and downright few fatalities.  With the December holiday season looming over our heads like the Savage Sword of Damocles, we thought it would be nice to give our Discussioneers a break. (That’s what we call you behind your backs). Originally we were going to select an expensive comic strip collection, but darn it all to heck, this is the holidays and we’ve all designated a portion of our hard earned comic money to spend on those pesky loved ones.  So we thought we’d all save our money for a few months (hint!) and do something a little special for ourselves.

Our store manager, all around great guy, and capable cartoonist (if we say so ourselves) Justin Crouse recommended we do the following:  invite everyone to bring their favorite comic (single issue or trade paperback) and provide participants with a 10 minute platform to explain to the group why this is a particularly important story to them.   Then we’d spend a few minutes discussing their choice before moving on to the next person.  This way, we can enjoy all the camaraderie and comic discussion without rupturing our wallets in this leather-stretching time of the year.  Think of this as your opportunity to have 10 uninterrupted minutes to talk about one of your all-time favorite, desert island comics – the one you turn to every year or so for rereading.09-0829_d-group_all

An example:  I think of my five favorite books—the ones I will without fail re-read every few years–the ones by which I measure any new books I read.  For the sake of example, I might select the Post War Spirit Comics from 1947 to 1952.  I’d bring along one (or two) of the volumes in the Will Eisner Archive Series and try to explain succinctly why I find the work indispensable.  I would cite Eisner’s growth as a story teller, the development of the modern splash page, the way Eisner used his superhero hook to tell a variety of stories crossing into a variety of genres.  Any questions?  And now it’s your turn.

SAVE THIS DATE: Saturday December 14th at 1:00pm.  We will meet at the store and then head over to the bakery (they serve good food and cocktails too– God bless ‘em!).  All we ask is that you bring along a copy of  the book you want to discuss.  We suggest you have an alternative on the ready in case  someone else already mentions your choice.  And if you want to join us for this discussion but are uncomfortable talking aloud — there is no pressure to participate. Just come for the food and the fun.

The idea is to offer an hour or two of vacation–an escape from all the stressful Holiday social obligations.  This is ‘ME’ time; this is comic book time!!!  So join us and let’s have some fun! See you on Saturday December 14th at 1:00pm.


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