The Comics Code Authority
Blood, guns, killing, and death. These things were very limited in comics in the “silver age” of comics from 1956 to 1970 and into the “bronze age” from 1970 to 1985. Comics approved by the Comics Code Authority had a seal of approval much like the parental advisory seal on CDs that are not suitable for children. Unlike the parental advisory seal, the Comics Code Authority regulated whether or not a comic book was appropriate for children or people of a certain age. When buying a comic, a parent could easily distinguish if a comic was appropriate for his or her child (Nyberg).
Under the Comics Code Authority, it was difficult to show blood or guns and the violence was severely limited. An example of how comics changed under the Code Authority is the Joker from the Batman comics. In his first appearance the Joker announces over the radio that he is going to kill someone and then he kills that person, this was a “darker” version of the Joker. Under the Code Authority the Joker rarely killed in traditional ways and most of his weapons were jokes and gags such as gag guns and electric joy buzzers. The Adam West “Batman” television show, with Cesar Romero as the Joker, gives the best example of this. (Nyberg).
In 1971 the code was revised and relaxed the bans on crime and lifted the ban on horror comics allowing for Marvel Comics to release a Spiderman story arc about drug abuse. The use of terror and horror in titles was still prohibited for comics. Under the Code Authority in the 1970s and 1980s only a handful of comic companies stayed in business. The comic companies that stayed in business were DC, Marvel, the popular Archie comic series, and Harvey comics. Marvel, DC, and Archie comics are still ve...
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...w writers to explore bigger issues such as substance abuse and violence between characters. Many stories that are very popular are the more controversial storylines which would have been banned under the Comics Code Authority. However, without the Comics Code Authority the writers may not have been motivated to write on such touchy subjects.
In the end the Comics Code Authority was beneficial with the ability for character development giving the characters more dimension and the creation of villains that are more complex than just armed thugs. The most influential outcome of the Comics Code Authority was the comics that have the seal on them that show that they were approved by a strict rating system and they still managed to be stories. In the comic industry the Comics Code authority was influential in many ways and continues to show its effects in comics today.
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