School Comicbook Project Deals with Cancer, But Has Censorship Issues

Nandua Middle School English teacher Matt Bell, who created the Comics for Cancer program, displays one of his own works of art, a stylized depiction of The Hulk. Photo by Stefanie Jackson.


The Eastern Shore Post of Virginia talks about a local school’s Comics for Cancer fundraising project, and says the school’s also simultaneously imposing certain limits on what students can add to other content they’re doing:


Comics for Cancer provides an outlet for self-expression but also presents the middle school students with a challenge: how they can address relevant issues through their art while keeping the content appropriate.

The comics may not contain adult themes, weapons, vulgar language, or sex, Bell said.

Students may go to English or history class and learn about Edgar Allan Poe, the Holocaust, or Emmett Till (a Black teenager who was killed in Mississippi in 1955 after allegedly whistling at a White woman). However, they may not depict mature themes in their comics, Bell said.

It’s a challenge for students to create something “powerful and impactful” while censoring the material. They have to learn to stay within the “fine line” of what is appropriate for a school setting, Bell said.


“Kenny Koala,,” by student Virginia Tyler


Something unclear from this is whether they’re barred from depictions of physical violence in the comics they’re drawing. I suppose a school location is one thing, but even so, this whole censorship issue is getting out of hand. Notice the citation of weapons? Now that’s pretty weird. And if they can’t deal with mature themes, how would they be able to draw comics about the Holocaust or racial issues of the 1950s? This honestly makes little sense to me, and reeks of another example of “moralists” who don’t have the courage to deal with mature subjects. The topic of cancer is fine for a focus. It’s just a shame they can’t prove they have what it takes to deal with more than that in a school setting.



Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1