Garth Ennis’ graphic novel “The Pro” is pushing boundaries. Its superhero is a hard-hitting prostitute, whose superpowers relate to her profession.. I believe that this book is entitled to be included in a library collection that hosts other graphic novels. This evaluation can be justified by, for example, the selection policy of Bellingham, the city, where I work. (The italicized texts below are quotes from the policy.)
Materials selected should be chosen for values of interest, information and enlightenment of all the people of the community. I presume that if the library has a graphic novel selection it exist because there was and is a demand for it. Therefore this book would be of interest as well, albeit possibly not for “all the people”. It would be hard to find any single work though that the whole community would find equally engaging.
The consensus of various comics related sites is that it is a parody of mainstream comics. Parodies provide insights into the culture that developed the topics they represent, in this case superheroism. The superpowers here are caricatures of better-known superheroes. But in the process of getting familiar with them the reader may learn about empowering women as well. There is still a gender balance amongst superheroes, so any work that helps the proportions this regard (by having a female hero) is welcome.
Libraries should provide books and other materials presenting all points of view concerning the problems and issues of our times Social progressives may look at this work as a presentation to support sex-workers’ rights. I may not take it that far, but it certainly is a work that is written and drawn from an unusual perspective. The perspective may not be that of the sex-workers themselves, but it is not the stereotypical negative representation we are used to in the media. It breaks the monotony of that, and that is a good, potentially enlightening thing. It presents a special point of view on “an issue of our times.”
The Bellingham policy also contains guidelines on how to select works for its adult fiction section:
It should contribute to the value of the library’s collection as a whole by representing all types and styles of literature.
I doubt that the library has anything like this in its collection, because this particular combination of theme and presentation is rather unique. Therefore it would greatly contribute to the collection’s diversity.
It should provide pleasure reading for recreation and the creative use of leisure time.
Even the reviews that were enthralled by the novel mentioned that it is a fun read. So for those who acquired the taste of reading (or is it viewing?) graphic novels would certainly get pleasure from its over the top depictions. It may inspire people to draw or come up with stories of their own.
I am aware that so far I only gave pro arguments, why The Pro should be included in a library. However when I think of con arguments I realize that they would be all moralistic and librarian should not impose her/his value system onto the patrons.