Comics Code Authority
The Comics Code Authority, otherwise known as the CCA, was a North American regulatory body for comic books, part of the Comics Magazine Association of America.
The CCA was created by the comic book industry in 1954 after Dr. Frederick Wertham wrote Seduction of the Innocent, which argued that comic books had a deleterious effect on children. The issue of the alleged effects on children of reading comic books was brought to a U.S Senate Committee.
Its purpose was to suppress parental outrage at what their children were reading in comic books. Although CCA approval was not required for comic books at the time, some shops would disallow comics without the CCA's stamp of approval rather than face angry mothers. Due to this, magazines, such as Tales from the Crypt quickly went out of business.
 Effects on art
Many of the CCA's rules were downright ridiculous, causing comics to become politically correct. Horror comics were completely banned. Comic depictions of good and evil became clear-cut, with no grey zones. Dialogue became squeaky clean. Supernatural characters such as vampires, ghouls, and lycanthropes were banned. The word "zombie" was banned. A dress code was enforced. Women had to be drawn "realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities." Comics had lost their depth.
 The Code weakens
In 1970, at the request of the Nixon administration, Marvel Comics published a Spider-Man story with an anti-drug message, portraying Spider-Man's friend Harry Osborn becoming addicted to otherwise unidentified "pills". The Code, at the time, forbade any depiction of illegal drug use, even a negative portrayal. The Code refused to approve the story, and Marvel published it anyway, with no repercussions. The Code was revised to allow anti-drug messages. Some months later, DC Comics published a much stronger anti-drug story in Green Lantern/Green Arrow, portraying Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy as an actual heroin addict, including depictions of hypodermic needles, which was published with Code approval. It was gradually relaxed over the years, to allow anti-drug stories, horror themes, and more adult sexual themes. Over a decade later, DC published an Alan Moore written Swamp Thing comic entitled "The Curse" (dealing with menstruation), which DC bravely put out without Comics Code review. The lack of code approval went almost completely unnoticed, though Swamp Thing was largely targeted at a mature audience, anyway. Further decisions by major publishers to not bother with code approval, coupled with the shift from newsstand distribution to comic book shops, led to the Code becoming a meaningless entity.
 Current state
By 2011, no big name publishers adhered to the CCA. Even squeaky-clean Archie Comics didn't submit for approval by then, and occasionally used the seal without submitting for approval.
At the end of September 2011, the Comics Magazine Association of America sold the intellectual property rights of the Comics Code Authority seal to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, an anti-censorship group.That marked the final demise of the CCA.
Note that Marvel and DC Comics (the "Big Two") both put warning labels on the covers of comics with "adult" content. Some smaller publishers also use warning labels.
 Connection to Mad magazine
On a lighter note, MAD magazine was created out of spite for the CCA. The restrictions placed on comics writers and artists by the CCA were also an important factor in the emergence of underground comics ("comix").
 See also
- Castillo v. Texas
- Moral panic
- Political correctness
- Parents Music Resource Center
- Fun:Death Note
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on Seduction of the Innocent.
- ↑ Leading to Marvel Comics to use otherwise indistinguishable "zuvembies" instead
- ↑ http://www.comicartville.com/comicscode.htm
- ↑ It also showed that author Stan Lee had zero knowledge of the drug culture
- ↑ Unlike the Spider-Man story, it was a realistic, for comic books, depiction of drug use
- ↑ http://www.sideroad.com/comics/column12.html
- ↑ page on their acquisition of the seal