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One final irony: Frederic Wertham, whose book started the whole moral panic in the first place, later denounced the Code as a whitewash that made comics worse -- because it allowed comics to depict violence [[BloodlessCarnage without realistic consequences]].

to:

One final irony: Frederic Wertham, whose book started the whole moral panic in the first place, later denounced the Code as a whitewash that made comics worse -- because it allowed comics to depict violence [[BloodlessCarnage without realistic consequences]].
consequences]]. (He had wanted a ratings system in the first place.)


Numerous publishing houses folded after the formation of the CCA because their more adult-themed subject matter could not pass the Code... which ''[[SarcasmMode coincidentally]]'' happened to cut down the amount of competition to Archie, DC, and DC-owned Independent News (then the largest distributor in the CMAA). William Gaines's Creator/ECComics, the industry's most notorious publisher during the backlash, tried to operate under Code compliance despite mounting frustration, but gave up within a year when a planned reprint of the {{Aesop}}-heavy [[http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_daily/54803.html "Judgement Day"]] was vetoed anyway... because the main character was a black man. That objection had no basis whatsoever in the Code; it was blatantly motivated by Comics Code Administrator Judge Charles Murphy's own racist views, and it confirmed EC editors' suspicions that they were being deliberately harassed into oblivion. Ultimately, EC won the battle (it reprinted "Judgement Day" unedited -- largely thanks to threats of legal action and bad publicity), but only to lose the war: the story appeared in the final issue of their last comic title, after which they abandoned the newsstand comics business altogether. Instead, EC altered its focus exclusively onto ''Magazine/{{MAD}} Magazine''. [[note]]''MAD'' was originally published as a comic book before EC changed it to a magazine format. According to William Gaines, the change was done NOT to escape the Code, but [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/04/06/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-45/ to keep editor Harvey Kurtzman from jumping ship to work on another magazine]]. Although he still ended up leaving about a year later, the format change thus protected ''MAD'' from CCA interference.[[/note]]

to:

Numerous publishing houses folded after the formation of the CCA because their more adult-themed subject matter could not pass the Code... which ''[[SarcasmMode coincidentally]]'' happened to cut down the amount of competition to Archie, DC, and DC-owned Independent News (then the largest distributor in the CMAA). William Gaines's Creator/ECComics, the industry's most notorious publisher during the backlash, tried to operate under Code compliance despite mounting frustration, but gave up within a year when a planned reprint of the {{Aesop}}-heavy [[http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_daily/54803.html "Judgement Day"]] was vetoed anyway... because the main character was a black man. That objection had no basis whatsoever in the Code; it was blatantly motivated by Comics Code Administrator Judge Charles Murphy's own racist views, and it confirmed EC editors' suspicions that they were being deliberately harassed into oblivion. Ultimately, EC won the battle (it and reprinted "Judgement Day" unedited -- largely (largely thanks to threats of legal action and bad publicity), but only to lose the war: the story appeared in the final issue of their last comic title, after which they abandoned the newsstand comics business altogether. Instead, EC altered its focus exclusively onto ''Magazine/{{MAD}} Magazine''. [[note]]''MAD'' was originally published as a comic book before EC changed it to a magazine format. According to William Gaines, the change was done NOT to escape the Code, but [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/04/06/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-45/ to keep editor Harvey Kurtzman from jumping ship to work on another magazine]]. Although he still ended up leaving about a year later, the format change thus protected ''MAD'' from CCA interference.[[/note]]



The outcome of "Green Goblin Reborn!" became something of a wake-up call to the CCA: they had found out just how far they had fallen out of touch with the industry, and with society in general. In an attempt to catch up, the CCA issued two major revisions to the Code, which either relaxed or dropped many of the Code's more archaic rules. A revision in 1971, after "Green Goblin Reborn!" was published, tried to update the original Code without altering the basic structure. A second revision in 1989 combined notably fewer and looser restrictions with PoliticallyCorrect injunctions against stereotyping minority characters.

to:

The outcome of "Green Goblin Reborn!" became This all was something of a wake-up call to the CCA: they had found out just how far they had fallen out of touch not only with the industry, and industry but with society in general. In an attempt to catch up, the CCA Thus they issued two major revisions to the Code, which either relaxed or dropped many of the Code's its more archaic rules. A revision in 1971, after "Green Goblin Reborn!" was published, tried to update the original Code without altering the basic structure. A second revision in 1989 combined notably fewer and looser restrictions with PoliticallyCorrect injunctions against stereotyping minority characters.



In January 2011, DC formally abandoned the Code in favor of an in-house rating system. Archie Comics, the Code's sole remaining participant and administrator, decided the Code no longer served a purpose in light of the company's publishing standards -- "We aren't about to start [[StuffedIntoTheFridge stuffing bodies into refrigerators!]]"[[note]]No, they were going to have their iconic wholesome namesake star [[ComicBook/LifeWithArchieTheMarriedLife brutally gunned down]] right out in the open...[[/note]] -- so it abandoned the Code just a day after DC. With that, the Comics Code Authority was gone once and for all... and almost immediately thereafter, Archie debuted ''Afterlife with Archie'', the company's first "direct market" title. ''Afterlife'' featured a full-on ZombieApocalypse, something the CCA of old would probably say the Code was created to prevent being published. As further proof that the Code had lost any semblance of relevancy, consider: The first issue of ''Afterlife'' sold out -- twice.

to:

In January 2011, DC formally abandoned the Code in favor of an in-house rating system. Archie Comics, the Code's sole remaining participant and administrator, decided the Code no longer served a purpose in light of the company's publishing standards -- "We aren't about to start [[StuffedIntoTheFridge stuffing bodies into refrigerators!]]"[[note]]No, they were going to have their iconic wholesome namesake star [[ComicBook/LifeWithArchieTheMarriedLife brutally gunned down]] right out in the open...[[/note]] -- so it abandoned the Code just a day after DC. With that, the Comics Code Authority was gone once and for all... and almost immediately thereafter, Archie debuted ''Afterlife with Archie'', the company's first "direct market" title. ''Afterlife'' featured a full-on ZombieApocalypse, something the CCA of old which would probably say never have been allowed under the Code was created to prevent being published. As further proof that the Code had lost any semblance of relevancy, consider: Code. The first issue of ''Afterlife'' sold out -- twice.


The effect of the Code's harsh censorship on the minds of young comic readers remains unknown, but it definitely worked to the detriment of the medium's artistic maturity. The "wholesome" entertainment created in the Code's wake stereotyped graphic storytelling (of any kind, regardless of whether they were CCA approved or not) as silly fluff fit only for children -- a stigma that, at least in the United States, persists to this day. In addition, any reader trained in rudimentary critical analysis will likely take note of all the Code requirements and realize that the Code led to stories with a very ''particular'' message -- one of a highly conservative, pro-authoritarian philosophy.[[note]]As a further note: this is considered, in retrospect, one of the elements that badly damaged ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' long-term, because DC's ''Superman'' titles hewed ''very'' close to the code as he was one of DC's breadwinners... which had the effect of making him a flawless ubermensch for much of the '50s and '60s and making him an icon of mid-century conservative America, with all the baggage that would later entail. Later writers -- starting with Mark Waid's ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'' and onward -- would grapple ''heavily'' with this legacy, and it would dog Supes well into the [=21st=] century.[[/note]] The medium's most talented writers and artists of the period, growing frustrated because they could not tell stories the way they wanted, soon resorted to GettingCrapPastTheRadar in increasingly creative ways.

to:

The effect of the Code's harsh censorship on the minds of young comic readers remains unknown, but it definitely worked to the detriment of the medium's artistic maturity. The "wholesome" entertainment created in the Code's wake stereotyped graphic storytelling (of any kind, regardless of whether they were CCA approved or not) as silly fluff fit only for children -- a stigma that, at least in the United States, persists to this day. In addition, any reader trained in rudimentary critical analysis will likely take note of all As a side effect, the Code requirements and realize that the Code led was designed to favour stories with a very ''particular'' message -- one of a highly conservative, pro-authoritarian philosophy.message.[[note]]As a further note: this is considered, in retrospect, one of the elements that badly damaged ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' long-term, because DC's ''Superman'' titles hewed ''very'' close to the code as he was one of DC's breadwinners... which had the effect of making him a flawless ubermensch for much of the '50s and '60s and making him an icon of mid-century conservative America, with all the baggage that would later entail. Later writers -- starting with Mark Waid's ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'' and onward -- would grapple ''heavily'' with this legacy, and it would dog Supes well into the [=21st=] century.[[/note]] The medium's most talented writers and artists of the period, growing frustrated because they could not tell stories the way they wanted, soon resorted to GettingCrapPastTheRadar in increasingly creative ways.


** Comics could not have large-breasted female characters -- the CCA decided what was "large", of course -- nor could any depiction of women focus on breasts.[[note]]This rule is part of what led to the urban legend of Creator/PowerGirl's original artist, Wally Wood, increasing the size of her bust with every subsequent issue just to see how far he can go before the editors took notice.[[/note]]

to:

** Comics could not have large-breasted female characters -- the CCA decided what was "large", of course -- nor could any depiction of women focus on breasts.[[note]]This rule is part of what led to the urban legend of Creator/PowerGirl's ComicBook/PowerGirl's original artist, Wally Wood, increasing the size of her bust with every subsequent issue just to see how far he can go before the editors took notice.[[/note]]


** Comics could not have large-breasted female characters -- the CCA decided what was "large", of course -- nor could any depiction of women focus on breasts.

to:

** Comics could not have large-breasted female characters -- the CCA decided what was "large", of course -- nor could any depiction of women focus on breasts.[[note]]This rule is part of what led to the urban legend of Creator/PowerGirl's original artist, Wally Wood, increasing the size of her bust with every subsequent issue just to see how far he can go before the editors took notice.[[/note]]


** Comics could not run classic monster stories or stories featuring zombies.



** Comics could not display vulgar words or offensive imagery.
* "Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure."
** Comics could not display nudity or have characters dress in [[{{Stripperiffic}} skimpy]] outfits.

to:

** Comics could not display vulgar words or offensive imagery.
* "Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure."
** Comics could not display nudity or have characters dress in
[[{{Stripperiffic}} skimpy]] outfits.indecent or undue exposure]]."



** Comics could not even show characters sitting around and looking sexy.



** This rule limited who the hero could have a romantic relationship with, and what kind of relationship it could be. Comics could not show homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, pedophilia, open relationships, sadomasochistic relationships, incestuous relationships, relationships with transvestites or transsexuals, or [[MalignedMixedMarriage interracial relationships]]. Note that, like with depictions of drug use, no depictions were allowed ''at all.'' They could not show such relationships even if the bad guys were the ones in them!

to:

** This rule limited who the hero could have a romantic relationship with, and what kind of relationship it could be. Comics could not show homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, pedophilia, open relationships, sadomasochistic relationships, incestuous relationships, relationships with transvestites or transsexuals, or [[MalignedMixedMarriage interracial relationships]]. Note that, like with depictions of drug use, no depictions were allowed ''at all.'' They could not show such relationships even if the bad guys were the ones in them!



* "[[{{Fanservice}} Nudity with meretricious purpose and salacious postures]] shall not be permitted in the advertising of any product; clothed figures shall never be presented in such a way as to be offensive or contrary to good taste or morals."
** This rule was a forced aversion of SexSells.

to:

* "[[{{Fanservice}} Nudity with meretricious purpose and salacious postures]] shall not be permitted [[SexSells in the advertising of any product; product]]; clothed figures shall never be presented in such a way as to be offensive or contrary to good taste or morals."
** This rule was a forced aversion of SexSells.


Numerous publishing houses folded after the formation of the CCA because their more adult-themed subject matter could not pass the Code... which ''[[SarcasmMode coincidentally]]'' happened to cut down the amount of competition to Archie, DC, and DC-owned Independent News (then the largest distributor in the CMAA). William Gaines's Creator/ECComics, the industry's most notorious publisher during the backlash, tried to operate under Code compliance despite mounting frustration, but gave up within a year when a planned reprint of the {{Aesop}}-heavy [[http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_daily/54803.html "Judgement Day"]] was vetoed anyway... because the main character was a black man. That objection had no basis whatsoever in the Code; it was blatantly motivated by Comics Code Administrator Judge Charles Murphy's own racist views, and it confirmed EC editors' suspicions that they were being deliberately harassed into oblivion. Ultimately, EC won the battle (it reprinted "Judgement Day" unedited -- largely thanks to threats of legal action and bad publicity), but only to lose the war: the story appeared in the final issue of their last comic title, after which they abandoned the newsstand comics business altogether. Instead, EC altered it's focus exclusively onto ''Magazine/{{MAD}} Magazine''. [[note]]''MAD'' was originally published as a comic book before EC changed it to a magazine format. According to William Gaines, the change was done NOT to escape the Code, but [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/04/06/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-45/ to keep editor Harvey Kurtzman from jumping ship to work on another magazine]]. Although he still ended up leaving about a year later, the format change thus protected ''MAD'' from CCA interference.[[/note]]

to:

Numerous publishing houses folded after the formation of the CCA because their more adult-themed subject matter could not pass the Code... which ''[[SarcasmMode coincidentally]]'' happened to cut down the amount of competition to Archie, DC, and DC-owned Independent News (then the largest distributor in the CMAA). William Gaines's Creator/ECComics, the industry's most notorious publisher during the backlash, tried to operate under Code compliance despite mounting frustration, but gave up within a year when a planned reprint of the {{Aesop}}-heavy [[http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_daily/54803.html "Judgement Day"]] was vetoed anyway... because the main character was a black man. That objection had no basis whatsoever in the Code; it was blatantly motivated by Comics Code Administrator Judge Charles Murphy's own racist views, and it confirmed EC editors' suspicions that they were being deliberately harassed into oblivion. Ultimately, EC won the battle (it reprinted "Judgement Day" unedited -- largely thanks to threats of legal action and bad publicity), but only to lose the war: the story appeared in the final issue of their last comic title, after which they abandoned the newsstand comics business altogether. Instead, EC altered it's its focus exclusively onto ''Magazine/{{MAD}} Magazine''. [[note]]''MAD'' was originally published as a comic book before EC changed it to a magazine format. According to William Gaines, the change was done NOT to escape the Code, but [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/04/06/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-45/ to keep editor Harvey Kurtzman from jumping ship to work on another magazine]]. Although he still ended up leaving about a year later, the format change thus protected ''MAD'' from CCA interference.[[/note]]


** MonsterMash comics were allowable again, [[NotUsingTheZWord but zombies remained banned]], since they had no accepted "literary" pedigree. Marvel got around this restriction with [[OurZombiesAreDifferent the Zuvembie]], a voodoo-zombie in all but name.[[note]]The "zuvembie" name also had a Creator/RobertEHoward pedigree, though apparently that was neither here nor there with regard to the Code administrators. "They're zuvembies, not zombies" was a strong enough argument for them, apparently.[[/note]]

to:

** MonsterMash comics were allowable again, [[NotUsingTheZWord but zombies remained banned]], since they had no accepted "literary" pedigree. Marvel got around this restriction with [[OurZombiesAreDifferent the Zuvembie]], a voodoo-zombie in all but name.[[note]]The "zuvembie" name also had a Creator/RobertEHoward pedigree, though apparently that was neither here nor there with regard to the Code administrators. "They're "They are zuvembies, not zombies" was a strong enough argument for them, apparently.[[/note]]


** Comics could not even show characters sitting around looking sexy.

to:

** Comics could not even show characters sitting around and looking sexy.



** This rule limited who the hero could have a romantic relationship with and what kind of relationship it could be. Comics could not show homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, pedophilia, open relationships, sadomasochistic relationships, incestuous relationships, relationships with transvestites or transsexuals, or [[MalignedMixedMarriage interracial relationships]]. Note that, like with depictions of drug use, no depictions were allowed ''at all.'' They could not show such relationships even if the bad guys were the ones in them!

to:

** This rule limited who the hero could have a romantic relationship with with, and what kind of relationship it could be. Comics could not show homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, pedophilia, open relationships, sadomasochistic relationships, incestuous relationships, relationships with transvestites or transsexuals, or [[MalignedMixedMarriage interracial relationships]]. Note that, like with depictions of drug use, no depictions were allowed ''at all.'' They could not show such relationships even if the bad guys were the ones in them!


** Shallow villains popped up out of nowhere with little backstory because otherwise risked giving them sympathetic pasts.

to:

** Shallow villains popped up out of nowhere with little backstory backstory, because otherwise the writers risked giving them sympathetic pasts.


** Law enforcement officers could not be depicted as [[PoliceAreUseless incompetent]] [[BadCopIncompetentCop or]] [[DirtyCop corrupt]], so criminals often had little previous success. Oh, and there was no such thing as a PunchClockVillain.

to:

** Law enforcement officers could not be depicted as [[PoliceAreUseless incompetent]] [[BadCopIncompetentCop or]] [[DirtyCop corrupt]], so criminals often had little previous success.success (as this would imply the police weren't capable of catching them). Oh, and there was no such thing as a PunchClockVillain.


->''"Comics were investigated after a certain Doctor Fredric Wertham brought out a book called '''Seduction of the Innocent''' in 1954, calling for the introduction of a self-regulating body known as the Comic Code Authority, that had such ridiculous rules as, you could not use the word 'flick' in a comic for fear that the 'L' would run into the 'I' and ComicBook/SpiderMan would be saying, 'Look, he's got a fuck knife!'"'' [[note]] In America, flick knives are better known as switchblade knives. The specific alleged rule is actually [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/07/23/comic-book-legends-revealed-217/ just an urban legend]]. Spider-Man didn't exist when the Code was created, though comics editors were by that time quite aware of TheProblemWithPenIsland.[[/note]]

to:

->''"Comics were investigated after a certain Doctor Fredric Wertham brought out a book called '''Seduction ''Seduction of the Innocent''' Innocent'' in 1954, calling for the introduction of a self-regulating body known as the Comic Code Authority, that had such ridiculous rules as, you could not use the word 'flick' in a comic for fear that the 'L' would run into the 'I' and ComicBook/SpiderMan would be saying, 'Look, he's got a fuck knife!'"'' [[note]] In America, flick knives are better known as switchblade knives. The specific alleged rule is actually [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/07/23/comic-book-legends-revealed-217/ just an urban legend]]. Spider-Man didn't exist when the Code was created, though comics editors were by that time quite aware of TheProblemWithPenIsland.[[/note]]



For decades, the Comics Code Authority--keepers of the Comics Code--served as one of America's premier {{Censorship Bureau}}s. This site even named said page after the Code for a time.

In [[TheFifties the early 1950s]], a moral panic centred around crime and horror comics swept North America, thanks in significant part to psychologist Frederic Wertham and his book '''Seduction of the Innocent''', a scholarly study which supposedly demonstrated an influential connection between severely troubled children and the comic books they read. (It wasn't until many years later that researchers discovered Wertham had based his conclusions almost exclusively on data that was [[https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140804/08494028095/learning-history-how-one-lying-liar-almost-screwed-comic-book-industry.shtml distorted or selective at best, and outright fabricated at worst]]).

In 1954, the U.S. comic book industry, trying to head off growing backlash and subsequent calls for government regulation, formed the Comics Magazine Association of America. The CMAA was initially led by major publishing houses Franchise/ArchieComics (protected by an image of "wholesome American youth")[[note]]In fact, throughout the entire existence of the CMAA and the Comics Code Authority, it was run by Archie Comic's administration - a blatant conflict of interest.[[/note]] and Creator/DCComics (which made a lot of money from kid-friendly romance and science fiction titles during this time period). The group subsequently set up the Comics Code Authority, or CCA, as a self-imposed censorship bureau; in hindsight, this move likely led to tighter censorship than was actually necessary to get their rules approved by the government.

to:

For decades, the Comics Code Authority--keepers Authority -- keepers of the Comics Code--served Code -- served as one of America's premier {{Censorship Bureau}}s. This site even named said page after the Code for a time.

In [[TheFifties the early 1950s]], a moral panic centred around crime and horror comics swept North America, thanks in significant part to psychologist Frederic Wertham and his book '''Seduction ''Seduction of the Innocent''', Innocent'', a scholarly study which supposedly demonstrated an influential connection between severely troubled children and the comic books they read. (It wasn't until many years later that researchers discovered Wertham had based his conclusions almost exclusively on data that was [[https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140804/08494028095/learning-history-how-one-lying-liar-almost-screwed-comic-book-industry.shtml distorted or selective at best, and outright fabricated at worst]]).

In 1954, the U.S. comic book industry, trying to head off growing backlash and subsequent calls for government regulation, formed the Comics Magazine Association of America. The CMAA was initially led by major publishing houses Franchise/ArchieComics (protected by an image of "wholesome American youth")[[note]]In fact, throughout the entire existence of the CMAA and the Comics Code Authority, it was run by Archie Comic's administration - -- a blatant conflict of interest.[[/note]] and Creator/DCComics (which made a lot of money from kid-friendly romance and science fiction titles during this time period). The group subsequently set up the Comics Code Authority, or CCA, as a self-imposed censorship bureau; in hindsight, this move likely led to tighter censorship than was actually necessary to get their rules approved by the government.



The effect of the Code's harsh censorship on the minds of young comic readers remains unknown, but it definitely worked to the detriment of the medium's artistic maturity. The "wholesome" entertainment created in the Code's wake stereotyped graphic storytelling (of any kind, regardless of whether they were CCA approved or not) as silly fluff fit only for children--a stigma that, at least in the United States, persists to this day. In addition, any reader trained in rudimentary critical analysis will likely take note of all the Code requirements and realize that the Code led to stories with a very ''particular'' message - one of a highly conservative, pro-authoritarian philosophy.[[note]]As a further note: this is considered, in retrospect, one of the elements that badly damaged ''{{Franchise/Superman}}'' long-term, because DC's ''Superman'' titles hewed ''very'' close to the code as he was one of DC's breadwinners... which had the effect of making him a flawless ubermensch for much of the [=50s=] and [=60s=] and making him an icon of mid-century conservative America, with all the baggage that would later entail. Later writers - starting with Mark Waid's ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'' and onward - would grapple ''heavily'' with this legacy, and it would dog Supes well into the [=21st=] century.[[/note]] The medium's most talented writers and artists of the period, growing frustrated because they could not tell stories the way they wanted, soon resorted to GettingCrapPastTheRadar in increasingly creative ways.

Numerous publishing houses folded after the formation of the CCA because their more adult-themed subject matter could not pass the Code... which ''[[SarcasmMode coincidentally]]'' happened to cut down the amount of competition to Archie, DC, and DC-owned Independent News (then the largest distributor in the CMAA). William Gaines's Creator/ECComics, the industry's most notorious publisher during the backlash, tried to operate under Code compliance despite mounting frustration, but gave up within a year when a planned reprint of the {{Aesop}}-heavy [[http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_daily/54803.html "Judgement Day"]] was vetoed anyway... because the main character was a black man. That objection had no basis whatsoever in the Code; it was blatantly motivated by Comics Code Administrator Judge Charles Murphy's own racist views, and it confirmed EC editors' suspicions that they were being deliberately harassed into oblivion. Ultimately, EC won the battle (it reprinted "Judgement Day" unedited - largely thanks to threats of legal action and bad publicity), but only to lose the war: the story appeared in the final issue of their last comic title, after which they abandoned the newsstand comics business altogether. Instead, EC altered it's focus exclusively onto ''Magazine/{{MAD}} Magazine''. [[note]]''MAD'' was originally published as a comic book before EC changed it to a magazine format. According to William Gaines, the change was done NOT to escape the Code, but [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/04/06/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-45/ to keep editor Harvey Kurtzman from jumping ship to work on another magazine]]. Although he still ended up leaving about a year later, the format change thus protected ''MAD'' from CCA interference.[[/note]]

Two publishers, Creator/DellComics and Gilberton (publisher of ''Classics Illustrated''), never bothered to submit to the CCA - there was no actual ''legal'' obligation to.[[note]]What gave the CCA any teeth at all was pressure that newsstands would not carry books not Code compliant.[[/note]] Dell believed their company brand and reputation would reassure parents, as per their slogan, "Dell Comics are ''Good'' Comics." Neither publisher's lack of a CCA stamp harmed their profits for most of the Code's heyday. In an ironic twist, this situation allowed Dell (and Creator/GoldKeyComics, which "spun off" from Dell in 1962) to occasionally publish comics the Code would not allow, such as an adaptation of ''Series/DarkShadows'' featuring vampire Barnabas Collins.[[note]]But even then, restraint was shown--for example, the artwork implied vampire bites without ever showing them.[[/note]]

to:

The effect of the Code's harsh censorship on the minds of young comic readers remains unknown, but it definitely worked to the detriment of the medium's artistic maturity. The "wholesome" entertainment created in the Code's wake stereotyped graphic storytelling (of any kind, regardless of whether they were CCA approved or not) as silly fluff fit only for children--a children -- a stigma that, at least in the United States, persists to this day. In addition, any reader trained in rudimentary critical analysis will likely take note of all the Code requirements and realize that the Code led to stories with a very ''particular'' message - -- one of a highly conservative, pro-authoritarian philosophy.[[note]]As a further note: this is considered, in retrospect, one of the elements that badly damaged ''{{Franchise/Superman}}'' ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' long-term, because DC's ''Superman'' titles hewed ''very'' close to the code as he was one of DC's breadwinners... which had the effect of making him a flawless ubermensch for much of the [=50s=] '50s and [=60s=] '60s and making him an icon of mid-century conservative America, with all the baggage that would later entail. Later writers - -- starting with Mark Waid's ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'' and onward - -- would grapple ''heavily'' with this legacy, and it would dog Supes well into the [=21st=] century.[[/note]] The medium's most talented writers and artists of the period, growing frustrated because they could not tell stories the way they wanted, soon resorted to GettingCrapPastTheRadar in increasingly creative ways.

Numerous publishing houses folded after the formation of the CCA because their more adult-themed subject matter could not pass the Code... which ''[[SarcasmMode coincidentally]]'' happened to cut down the amount of competition to Archie, DC, and DC-owned Independent News (then the largest distributor in the CMAA). William Gaines's Creator/ECComics, the industry's most notorious publisher during the backlash, tried to operate under Code compliance despite mounting frustration, but gave up within a year when a planned reprint of the {{Aesop}}-heavy [[http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_daily/54803.html "Judgement Day"]] was vetoed anyway... because the main character was a black man. That objection had no basis whatsoever in the Code; it was blatantly motivated by Comics Code Administrator Judge Charles Murphy's own racist views, and it confirmed EC editors' suspicions that they were being deliberately harassed into oblivion. Ultimately, EC won the battle (it reprinted "Judgement Day" unedited - -- largely thanks to threats of legal action and bad publicity), but only to lose the war: the story appeared in the final issue of their last comic title, after which they abandoned the newsstand comics business altogether. Instead, EC altered it's focus exclusively onto ''Magazine/{{MAD}} Magazine''. [[note]]''MAD'' was originally published as a comic book before EC changed it to a magazine format. According to William Gaines, the change was done NOT to escape the Code, but [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/04/06/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-45/ to keep editor Harvey Kurtzman from jumping ship to work on another magazine]]. Although he still ended up leaving about a year later, the format change thus protected ''MAD'' from CCA interference.[[/note]]

Two publishers, Creator/DellComics and Gilberton (publisher of ''Classics Illustrated''), never bothered to submit to the CCA - -- there was no actual ''legal'' obligation to.[[note]]What gave the CCA any teeth at all was pressure that newsstands would not carry books not Code compliant.[[/note]] Dell believed their company brand and reputation would reassure parents, as per their slogan, "Dell Comics are ''Good'' Comics." Neither publisher's lack of a CCA stamp harmed their profits for most of the Code's heyday. In an ironic twist, this situation allowed Dell (and Creator/GoldKeyComics, which "spun off" from Dell in 1962) to occasionally publish comics the Code would not allow, such as an adaptation of ''Series/DarkShadows'' featuring vampire Barnabas Collins.[[note]]But even then, restraint was shown--for shown -- for example, the artwork implied vampire bites without ever showing them.[[/note]]



In January 2011, DC formally abandoned the Code in favor of an in-house rating system. Archie Comics, the Code's sole remaining participant and administrator, decided the Code no longer served a purpose in light of the company's publishing standards--"We aren't about to start [[StuffedIntoTheFridge stuffing bodies into refrigerators!]]"[[note]]No, they were going to have their iconic wholesome namesake star [[ComicBook/LifeWithArchieTheMarriedLife brutally gunned down]] right out in the open...[[/note]]--so it abandoned the Code just a day after DC. With that, the Comics Code Authority was gone once and for all... and almost immediately thereafter, Archie debuted ''Afterlife with Archie'', the company's first "direct market" title. ''Afterlife'' featured a full-on ZombieApocalypse, something the CCA of old would probably say the Code was created to prevent being published. As further proof that the Code had lost any semblance of relevancy, consider: The first issue of ''Afterlife'' sold out - twice.

to:

In January 2011, DC formally abandoned the Code in favor of an in-house rating system. Archie Comics, the Code's sole remaining participant and administrator, decided the Code no longer served a purpose in light of the company's publishing standards--"We standards -- "We aren't about to start [[StuffedIntoTheFridge stuffing bodies into refrigerators!]]"[[note]]No, they were going to have their iconic wholesome namesake star [[ComicBook/LifeWithArchieTheMarriedLife brutally gunned down]] right out in the open...[[/note]]--so [[/note]] -- so it abandoned the Code just a day after DC. With that, the Comics Code Authority was gone once and for all... and almost immediately thereafter, Archie debuted ''Afterlife with Archie'', the company's first "direct market" title. ''Afterlife'' featured a full-on ZombieApocalypse, something the CCA of old would probably say the Code was created to prevent being published. As further proof that the Code had lost any semblance of relevancy, consider: The first issue of ''Afterlife'' sold out - -- twice.



One final irony: Frederic Wertham, whose book started the whole moral panic in the first place, later denounced the Code as a whitewash that made comics worse--because it allowed comics to depict violence [[BloodlessCarnage without realistic consequences]].

-----

to:

One final irony: Frederic Wertham, whose book started the whole moral panic in the first place, later denounced the Code as a whitewash that made comics worse--because worse -- because it allowed comics to depict violence [[BloodlessCarnage without realistic consequences]].

-----
----



** This rule--the pettiest provision of the Code--was likely implemented to drive Creator/ECComics, known for publishing a litany of horror comics, out of business.

to:

** This rule--the rule -- the pettiest provision of the Code--was Code -- was likely implemented to drive Creator/ECComics, known for publishing a litany of horror comics, out of business.



** Comics could not have large-breasted female characters--the CCA decided what was "large", of course--nor could any depiction of women focus on breasts.

to:

** Comics could not have large-breasted female characters--the characters -- the CCA decided what was "large", of course--nor course -- nor could any depiction of women focus on breasts.



** Corrupt government officials and cops were allowed, but the heroes always had to catch these evildoers so they would not become recurring characters--in other words, they were isolated aberrations in an otherwise honest system.

to:

** Corrupt government officials and cops were allowed, but the heroes always had to catch these evildoers so they would not become recurring characters--in characters -- in other words, they were isolated aberrations in an otherwise honest system.



* One issue of ''Deadpool'' shows the eponymous merc-with-a-mouth in the upper left corner of the cover, giving a thumbs-up and a wink with the Comics Code's famous stamp displayed in his word balloon. This happened at a point when Marvel had decided to stop using the Code completely--and done with a character that would have never received approval from the CCA when the Code was in full force.

to:

* One issue of ''Deadpool'' shows the eponymous merc-with-a-mouth in the upper left corner of the cover, giving a thumbs-up and a wink with the Comics Code's famous stamp displayed in his word balloon. This happened at a point when Marvel had decided to stop using the Code completely--and completely -- and done with a character that would have never received approval from the CCA when the Code was in full force.



** In Dan Slott's run, the Comics Code is an essential in-universe part of the narrative. Creator/MarvelComics [[RecursiveCanon exists within the]] Franchise/MarvelUniverse--yes, really!--and publishes comics of the "real life" superheroes and their true adventures. Because their comics are screened by the CCA, said comics are recognized as legal government-approved documents. In other words: Within the Marvel Universe, ''Marvel comics can be submitted as legal evidence at a trial''.

to:

** In Dan Slott's run, the Comics Code is an essential in-universe part of the narrative. Creator/MarvelComics [[RecursiveCanon exists within the]] Franchise/MarvelUniverse--yes, really!--and Franchise/MarvelUniverse -- yes, really! -- and publishes comics of the "real life" superheroes and their true adventures. Because their comics are screened by the CCA, said comics are recognized as legal government-approved documents. In other words: Within the Marvel Universe, ''Marvel comics can be submitted as legal evidence at a trial''.


* The 2018 animated film ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManIntoTheSpiderVerse'' opens on an "Approved by the Comics Code Authority" stamp before showing the rest of the production logos, likely as [[TakeThat a jab]] referencing Spider-Man's role in the organization's fall from power.

to:

* The 2018 animated film ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManIntoTheSpiderVerse'' opens on an "Approved by the Comics Code Authority" stamp before showing the rest of the production logos, logos. Possibly it's included as a throwback reference to older versions of Spider-Man (given that the main character, Miles Morales, was created post-Code), but likely as [[TakeThat a jab]] referencing Spider-Man's role in the organization's Comics Code Authority's fall from power.


** This rule limited who the hero could have a romantic relationship with and what kind of relationship it could be. Comics could not show homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, pedophilia, open relationships, sadomasochistic relationships, incestuous relationships, relationships with transvestites or transsexuals, or [[MalignedMixedMarriage interracial relationships]]. They could not show such relationships even if the bad guys were the ones in them!

to:

** This rule limited who the hero could have a romantic relationship with and what kind of relationship it could be. Comics could not show homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, pedophilia, open relationships, sadomasochistic relationships, incestuous relationships, relationships with transvestites or transsexuals, or [[MalignedMixedMarriage interracial relationships]]. Note that, like with depictions of drug use, no depictions were allowed ''at all.'' They could not show such relationships even if the bad guys were the ones in them!


In [[TheFifties the early 1950s]], a moral panic centred around crime and horror comics swept North America, thanks in significant part to psychologist Frederic Wertham and his book ''Seduction of the Innocent'', a scholarly study which supposedly demonstrated an influential connection between severely troubled children and the comic books they read. (It wasn't until many years later that researchers discovered Wertham had based his conclusions almost exclusively on data that was [[https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140804/08494028095/learning-history-how-one-lying-liar-almost-screwed-comic-book-industry.shtml distorted or selective at best and fabricated at worst]]).

In 1954, the U.S. comic book industry, trying to head off the growing backlash and subsequent calls for government regulation, formed the Comics Magazine Association of America. The CMAA was initially led by major publishing houses Franchise/ArchieComics (protected by an image of "wholesome American youth")[[note]]An Archie employee even supervised the Code up until the end. What conflict of interest?[[/note]] and Creator/DCComics (which made a lot of money from kid-friendly romance and science fiction titles during this time period). The group subsequently set up the Comics Code Authority, or CCA, as a self-imposed censorship bureau; in hindsight, this move likely led to tighter censorship than was actually necessary to get their rules approved by the government.

The CCA's charter, known simply as the Comics Code, prohibited (amongst other things) the questioning of public authority figures, displays of moral ambiguity, any suggestion of sexuality (up to and including seductive posing), and any display of narcotics in any possible context. Every story had to have a happy ending (i.e., one in which evil was punished and good was rewarded); multi-part stories with cliffhangers had to be specially approved by the CCA before publication. The Code regulated what could be ''advertised'' in comic books as well, but most of those types of restrictions (e.g., liquor, tobacco, weapons, fireworks, gambling equipment) are the sole bit of self-regulation that actually seems sensible even in the [=21st=] century.

The effect of the Code's harsh censorship on tender young minds remains unknown, but it definitely worked to the detriment of the medium's artistic maturity. The "wholesome" entertainment created in the Code's wake stereotyped graphic storytelling of any kind as silly fluff fit only for children--a stigma that, at least in the United States, persists to this day. In addition, any reader trained in rudimentary critical analysis will likely take note of all the Code requirements and realize that the Code led to stories with a very ''particular'' message - one of a highly conservative, pro-authoritarian philosophy.[[note]]As a further note: this is considered, in retrospect, one of the elements that badly damaged ''{{Franchise/Superman}}'' long-term, because DC's ''Superman'' titles hewed ''very'' close to the code as he was one of DC's breadwinners... which had the effect of making him a flawless ubermensch for much of the [=50s=] and [=60s=] and making him an icon of mid-century conservative America, with all the baggage that would later entail. Later writers - starting with Mark Waid's ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'' and onward - would grapple ''heavily'' with this legacy, and it would dog Supes well into the [=21st=] century.[[/note]] The medium's most talented writers and artists of the period, growing frustrated because they could not tell stories the way they wanted, soon resorted to GettingCrapPastTheRadar in increasingly creative ways.

Numerous publishing houses folded after the formation of the CCA because their more adult-themed subject matter could not pass the Code... which ''[[SarcasmMode coincidentally]]'' cut down the amount of competition to Archie, DC, and DC-owned Independent News (then the largest distributor in the CMAA). William Gaines's Creator/ECComics, the industry's most notorious publisher during the backlash, tried to operate under Code compliance despite mounting frustration, but gave up within a year when a planned reprint of the {{Aesop}}-heavy [[http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_daily/54803.html "Judgement Day"]] was vetoed anyway... because the main character was a black man. That objection had no basis whatsoever in the Code; it was blatantly motivated by the Comics Code Administrator Judge Charles Murphy's own racist views, and it confirmed EC editors' suspicions that they were being deliberately harassed into oblivion. Ultimately, EC won the battle (it reprinted "Judgement Day" unedited - largely thanks to threats of legal action and bad publicity), but only to lose the war: the story appeared in the final issue of their last comic title, after which they abandoned the newsstand comics business altogether. Instead, EC altered it's focus exclusively onto ''Magazine/{{MAD}} Magazine''. [[note]]The company originally published ''MAD'' as a comic book before changing it to a magazine format. This was done partially to escape the Code, but mainly [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/04/06/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-45/ to keep editor Harvey Kurtzman on board]].[[/note]]

Two publishers, Creator/DellComics and Gilberton (publisher of ''Classics Illustrated''), never bothered to submit to the CCA - there was no actual ''legal'' obligation to, after all. Dell believed their company brand and reputation would reassure parents, as per their slogan, "Dell Comics are ''Good'' Comics." Neither publisher's lack of a CCA stamp harmed their profits for most of the Code's heyday. In an ironic twist, this situation allowed Dell (and Creator/GoldKeyComics, which "spun off" from Dell in 1962) to occasionally publish comics the Code would not allow, such as an adaptation of ''Series/DarkShadows'' featuring vampire Barnabas Collins.[[note]]But even then, restraint was shown--for example, the artwork implied vampire bites without ever showing them.[[/note]]

to:

In [[TheFifties the early 1950s]], a moral panic centred around crime and horror comics swept North America, thanks in significant part to psychologist Frederic Wertham and his book ''Seduction '''Seduction of the Innocent'', Innocent''', a scholarly study which supposedly demonstrated an influential connection between severely troubled children and the comic books they read. (It wasn't until many years later that researchers discovered Wertham had based his conclusions almost exclusively on data that was [[https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140804/08494028095/learning-history-how-one-lying-liar-almost-screwed-comic-book-industry.shtml distorted or selective at best best, and outright fabricated at worst]]).

In 1954, the U.S. comic book industry, trying to head off the growing backlash and subsequent calls for government regulation, formed the Comics Magazine Association of America. The CMAA was initially led by major publishing houses Franchise/ArchieComics (protected by an image of "wholesome American youth")[[note]]An youth")[[note]]In fact, throughout the entire existence of the CMAA and the Comics Code Authority, it was run by Archie employee even supervised the Code up until the end. What Comic's administration - a blatant conflict of interest?[[/note]] interest.[[/note]] and Creator/DCComics (which made a lot of money from kid-friendly romance and science fiction titles during this time period). The group subsequently set up the Comics Code Authority, or CCA, as a self-imposed censorship bureau; in hindsight, this move likely led to tighter censorship than was actually necessary to get their rules approved by the government.

The CCA's charter, known simply as the Comics Code, prohibited (amongst other things) the questioning of public authority figures, displays of moral ambiguity, any suggestion of sexuality (up to and including seductive posing), and any display of narcotics in any ''any'' possible context. Every story had to have a happy ending (i.e., one in which evil was acts were punished and good was acts rewarded); multi-part stories with cliffhangers had to be specially approved by the CCA before publication. The Code also regulated what could be ''advertised'' in comic books as well, but most of those types of restrictions (e.g., liquor, tobacco, weapons, fireworks, gambling equipment) are were fairly common-sense, the sole bit of self-regulation that actually seems sensible even in the [=21st=] century.

The effect of the Code's harsh censorship on tender the minds of young minds comic readers remains unknown, but it definitely worked to the detriment of the medium's artistic maturity. The "wholesome" entertainment created in the Code's wake stereotyped graphic storytelling of (of any kind kind, regardless of whether they were CCA approved or not) as silly fluff fit only for children--a stigma that, at least in the United States, persists to this day. In addition, any reader trained in rudimentary critical analysis will likely take note of all the Code requirements and realize that the Code led to stories with a very ''particular'' message - one of a highly conservative, pro-authoritarian philosophy.[[note]]As a further note: this is considered, in retrospect, one of the elements that badly damaged ''{{Franchise/Superman}}'' long-term, because DC's ''Superman'' titles hewed ''very'' close to the code as he was one of DC's breadwinners... which had the effect of making him a flawless ubermensch for much of the [=50s=] and [=60s=] and making him an icon of mid-century conservative America, with all the baggage that would later entail. Later writers - starting with Mark Waid's ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'' and onward - would grapple ''heavily'' with this legacy, and it would dog Supes well into the [=21st=] century.[[/note]] The medium's most talented writers and artists of the period, growing frustrated because they could not tell stories the way they wanted, soon resorted to GettingCrapPastTheRadar in increasingly creative ways.

Numerous publishing houses folded after the formation of the CCA because their more adult-themed subject matter could not pass the Code... which ''[[SarcasmMode coincidentally]]'' happened to cut down the amount of competition to Archie, DC, and DC-owned Independent News (then the largest distributor in the CMAA). William Gaines's Creator/ECComics, the industry's most notorious publisher during the backlash, tried to operate under Code compliance despite mounting frustration, but gave up within a year when a planned reprint of the {{Aesop}}-heavy [[http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_daily/54803.html "Judgement Day"]] was vetoed anyway... because the main character was a black man. That objection had no basis whatsoever in the Code; it was blatantly motivated by the Comics Code Administrator Judge Charles Murphy's own racist views, and it confirmed EC editors' suspicions that they were being deliberately harassed into oblivion. Ultimately, EC won the battle (it reprinted "Judgement Day" unedited - largely thanks to threats of legal action and bad publicity), but only to lose the war: the story appeared in the final issue of their last comic title, after which they abandoned the newsstand comics business altogether. Instead, EC altered it's focus exclusively onto ''Magazine/{{MAD}} Magazine''. [[note]]The company [[note]]''MAD'' was originally published ''MAD'' as a comic book before changing EC changed it to a magazine format. This According to William Gaines, the change was done partially NOT to escape the Code, but mainly [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/04/06/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-45/ to keep editor Harvey Kurtzman from jumping ship to work on board]].another magazine]]. Although he still ended up leaving about a year later, the format change thus protected ''MAD'' from CCA interference.[[/note]]

Two publishers, Creator/DellComics and Gilberton (publisher of ''Classics Illustrated''), never bothered to submit to the CCA - there was no actual ''legal'' obligation to, after all. to.[[note]]What gave the CCA any teeth at all was pressure that newsstands would not carry books not Code compliant.[[/note]] Dell believed their company brand and reputation would reassure parents, as per their slogan, "Dell Comics are ''Good'' Comics." Neither publisher's lack of a CCA stamp harmed their profits for most of the Code's heyday. In an ironic twist, this situation allowed Dell (and Creator/GoldKeyComics, which "spun off" from Dell in 1962) to occasionally publish comics the Code would not allow, such as an adaptation of ''Series/DarkShadows'' featuring vampire Barnabas Collins.[[note]]But even then, restraint was shown--for example, the artwork implied vampire bites without ever showing them.[[/note]]

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