Banned Books Week 2014: Experiencing the comic

Banned Books Week logo
Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

This year’s Banned Books Week (Sep. 21-27) features comics and graphic novels.  Ironically I covered comics last year.  This time I’ll discuss one graphic novel, Riyoko Ikeda’s The Rose of Versailles.

Oscar is a girl raised as a boy and trained as a soldier.  As Commander of France’s Royal Guard she faces both scheming nobles and a naive Marie Antoinette.  All the while revolution looms (Dezaki et al., 2013).

Though I had only heard about the novel, I thought it could engage some history students (Perry, 2006).  Recently I viewed the easier-to-borrow animated series (Dezaki et al., 2013).  Viewers could compare its plot and characters to real events and people.  We could say the same about other forms of storytelling: let’s not ignore this form.

Banned Books Week celebrates our right to experience books and related media.  Now I have experienced The Rose of Versailles for myself.


Dezaki, O., & Nagahama, T. (Directors), Ginya, S., Katoì, S., & Gero, K. (Producers), & Ikeda, R. (Original creator). (2013).  The rose of Versailles, Part 1 [Television series]. Grimes, IA: Nozomi Entertainment/Right Stuf.

Perry, M. (2006). In defense of comics and connected habits of mind. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Adult & Higher Education, University of Southern Maine, Gorham, ME.

P.S. At press time I didn’t find specific challenges to The Rose of Versailles.  Still, manga are often challenged.

P.P.S.  Thanks to our interlibrary loan staff for the amazing turnaround time on my DVD request!