Comic content ban call

Two graphic novels have been removed from the local government library after a campaign pressure. Picture: JEREMY COOK

By Lucy Waldron

Two books within the Southern Downs Regional Council Library have stirred up controversy, drawing attention from outside sources who claim the books contain ’explicit’ imagery.

Bernard Gaynor, known for his campaign against certain literary content in public libraries, raised objections to the books UQ Holder! by Ken Akamatsu and Preacher by Garth Ennis, both of which he claims contain nudity and sensitive content, including depictions of underage characters and homosexual themes.

Gaynor’s campaign, which began last year in Logan City, has now extended to libraries across Queensland, including the Southern Downs Regional Council Library.

“These books are not appropriate, public money should not be spent on them, and children should not have access to them,“ Gaynor asserted.

In response to Gaynor’s concerns, the Southern Downs Regional Council stated that it was awaiting advice from the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) before taking further action.

“The library item in question can be found in several other local government library collections across the state, and council has referred the matter to the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) for their review and feedback,“ a council spokesperson said.

However, Gaynor remains sceptical of ALIA’s impartiality, accusing the association of promoting left-wing agendas and dismissing complaints as homophobic.

His claims are based on alleged internal documents from ALIA, which outline strategies for managing contentious issues within libraries.

ALIA’s guidelines suggest filtering or temporarily blocking incoming communications to limit negative impacts on library staff, a measure Gaynor interprets as an attempt to stifle dissenting voices.

The controversy raises broader questions about censorship, freedom of expression, and the depiction of sensitive topics in literature, particularly in the context of Manga, a popular style of Japanese comic and graphic novels.

Ken Akamatsu, author of UQ Holder!, has defended the inclusion of explicit content in Manga, arguing that a total ban would stifle creativity and harm the industry as a whole.

Meanwhile, a scrutiny of the comic section at the SDRC Library revealed that the books are no longer on the shelves. Whether they will return following discussions with ALIA remains uncertain.