Friday, January 21, 2011

So long Comics Code Authority!

Source: Wikipedia.
DC Comics announced yesterday that they would no longer be using the Comics Code Authority. Today, Archie Comics also announced that they too would be abandoning the system, signaling the end of a controversial era in comic book history. DC will be replacing the code with their own rating system, similar to what Marvel did a decade ago. Archie Comics meanwhile just saw it as pointless, since they don't publish anything risque anyway.

Hit the jump for a brief history of the CCA.

The Comics Code Authority was an act of self-censorship committed by comic companies back in 1954, during a time with comics were experiencing a backlash in society and investigations by Congress. The main opponent to comics and it's Joseph McCarthy was a psychologist named Fredric Wertham. He wrote a book called The Seduction of the Innocent, wherein he claimed that comics, specifically the more violent and mature comics of the day were responsible for juvenile delinquency. Possibly the book had some merit, comics of the late 40s and 50s were violent and mature. Superheroes were incredibly popular during the 30s and WWII, but had declined after the war ended. In their place came western, horror, scifi and crime comics. The horror comics in paticular were violent and graphic, featuring beheadings and gore. Seduction of the Innocent caused an uproar and even Congress got involved. Faced with the possibility of government censorship, publishers created the Comics Code Authority.

The rules it imposed were strict, including:

* Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.
* If crime is depicted it shall be as a sordid and unpleasant activity.
* Criminals shall not be presented so as to be rendered glamorous or to occupy a position which creates a desire for emulation.
* In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.
* Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gunplay, physical agony, gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated.
* No comic magazine shall use the word horror or terror in its title.
* All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism shall not be permitted.
* All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated.
* Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly, nor so as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.
* Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.
* Profanity, obscenity, smut, vulgarity, or words or symbols which have acquired undesirable meanings are forbidden.
* Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure.
* Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable.
* Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities.
* Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at nor portrayed. Violent love scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable.
* Seduction and rape shall never be shown or suggested.
* Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden.
* 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.

Source: Wikipedia. Thank god companies no longer have to obey those rules.

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