Talk:Comics Code Authority

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In 2001, Marvel Comics withdrew from the CCA in favor of their own ratings system which was yet another step in the organization's decline into irrelevance.

Er, Marvel's or the CCA's? I assume the latter, but it's not entirely clear. --Charles A. L. 18:24, Nov 20, 2003 (UTC)

Hayes Code reference?[edit]

I wonder if someone should add a mention or "see also" link to the (Hayes) Production Code that controlled the content of motion pictures from 1934-1967. It had many of the same themes: no drugs, no sex, villains must always be defeated, etc.

I hesitate to do this myself, have no experience with wikipedia aside from that as a reader.

- Nolan W., 2004-08-11

Banning of innocent words for fear of ink run[edit]

I remember reading that the words "FLICK" and "CLINT" were not used in comics as there was a high chance in strip text that the L and I would merge thus forming a naughty word in each case. I don't recall if this was an enforced regualtion or just something marvel and other groups had as internal policies. Does anyone know?

This must have been a problem for Clint Barton... -leigh (φθόγγος) 09:15, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)

Incidently what is the code the prescribes that all US telephone numbers in TV/film/comis should have the ficticious area code 555? Dainamo 08:08, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I bet there is probably an article referencing this somewhere, but I believe the 555 phone number was mandated, possibly by government, in the 1970s because of people being harassed when their phone numbers were used in a TV show or movie. Incidentally, it isn't a 555 area code, but rather a 555 exchange, as in 555-1234. The only real-life use of the 555 exchange that I know if is for directory assistance. 23skidoo 18:29, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC) P.S. I was right - see North American Numbering Plan for more information about 555.

Where were their offices?[edit]

Questions: So where did and does the code reside? Had to take up physical space somewhere. Anyone notable in their offices? What sort of person got the job of having to read unchosen comics ad nauseum? -AC 10/15/04

They are supposedly a part of the Comics Magazine Association of America, but I can't find an "official" site for either of them. It's good to see they're in decline, but I'd at least want the chance to contact some of their members to ask what they have to say for themselves. McCarthy was dead before he had to see the consequences of his self-righteousness, but they should have the decency not to hide and fade away after the damage they've done. -SJD 12/01/04


Can we get a copy of the CCA logo to put here? Is that fair use? DS 18:57, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The Code[edit]

I wonder if we can actually quote the code and it's revs on this page. The given likes are on a Geocities page that allows the host so many hits. --Discordian 20:28, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

  • Perhaps the best solution would be to create a seperate Comic Books Code (it currently redirects to the CCA page) with the full text. It's probably too long to add to this page, but worth including in the Wikipedia. Koweja 03:25, 9 February 2006 (UTC)



William Gaines, head of EC Comics — whose best selling titles included Crime SuspenStories, The Vault of Horror and The Crypt of Terror — complained about clauses prohibiting titles with the words "Terror", "Horror", or "Crime", as well as the clause banning vampires, werewolves, and zombies. <commented out portion: all seemed targeted to put DC out of business.--> Indeed, these restrictions quickly made EC unprofitable,...

Two issues. First, accuracy: DC did not have many, if any, titles with "Terror", etc. in the titles, nor much, if any, in the way of vampires, werewolves, etc. It was EC that had a plethora of such titles and characters.

Second: "all seemed targeted to put DC [or even EC] out of business" is speculation, as per the phrase "seemed targeted". This really needs a source & citation; for example only: "Max Gaines told the subcommittee he believed Wertham's book was designed to drive EC out of business," or "Gerard Jones in his book Men of Tomorrow contends that Wertham's book..." — Tenebrae 16:26, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

For a longer discussion of this, with a few source quotations, see my entry here:
--AC 18:49, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Actually, the Wikipedia guidelines don't allow us to use other Wiki articles as cites, but to include those other articles' citations in the article in question. Overall, I think this article could use more specific cites.--Tenebrae 16:09, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
That URL was not meant as a citation, rather it was in answer to your well-meaning assertion that certain text was speculative. Why burden two discussion threads quoting the same passages from Frank Jacobs' book about Gaines? 'Talk:' threads aside, you're right about the value of more citations in the article.
First however, I should learn enough citation syntax to add one. Citation pending... --AC 06:58, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Cool!--Tenebrae 23:41, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

OK, the Gaines cites are in, but please check the formatting, I don't yet grasp how Magazine cite formats work. Here's a quote from Comics Journal #81, (cited), if anyone's interested:

GAINES: ...After the Senate Subcommittee hearings, and this isn't very well known, but I can prove it again, I sent a letter to every comics publisher, invited them to a meeting and footed the bill for the hall. We took a big place somewhere, and all these people showed up and I tried to convince them that we should form an association and hire the Gleuks of Harvard or anybody else we could find who could do some sort of independent, honest research into whether comic books in truth were the horrendous things that people said they were. And since I really didn't think they were, I figured, such a study would exonerate us. None of these guys wanted to do that, and right away the whole thing was taken away from me, and they turned it into a situation where they wrote a Code, and the Code forbade the use of the words horror, terror, or crime -- this was all my books -- and weird, even weird, [laughter], so that would wipe me out.

--AC 06:25, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

"References" vs. "External links"[edit]

Hi, all. The reason I've changed "External links" to "References" comes from these sections of Wikipedia:Cite_sources, quoted verbatim below. (Please note in Item 2 below that the italics are theirs, and not inserted by me.) Thanks!


Complete citations in a "References" section
Complete citations, also called "references," are collected at the end of the article under a ==References== heading. Under this heading, list the comprehensive reference information as a bulleted (*) list, one bullet per reference work.


External links/Further reading
The ==External links== or ==Further reading== section is placed after the references section, and offers books, articles, and links to websites related to the topic that might be of interest to the reader, but which have not been used as sources for the article. Where there is a references section, editors may prefer to call the external links section "further reading," because the references section may also contain external links, and the further reading section may contain items that are not online.

So sources used to write an article go under "References", and other helpful citations go under "External links" if they're linkable and "Further reading" if they're not online. — Tenebrae 15:58, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Tobacco and knives too?[edit]

I was under the impression that those things weren't as taboo back then as they are now.

1954 Code highlights quote style[edit]

While reading the 1954 Code highlights the word werewolfism sorta jumped out at me. "Sounds like a political party for candidate Larry Talbot -- which Wikipedia editor coined that neologism?", I sneered, having assumed one of us wanted an ad hoc English synonym for lycanthropy. Mistakenly assumed: it turns out werewolfism is actually in the 1954 Code.

The current style of formatting for those highlights leaves it visually uncertain whether that text is an editors summary, (with recent paraphrasing and condensing), or actual quotations. The bullet listing format omits the section headings and numbering of the original text, which might add context if included. Either the 1954 text should be put in quotation marks, or formatted to better distinguish it from the article text proper. Is there a standard better way of formatting such quotes? --AC 06:52, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree that it would be very helpful to clarify that the text is actually excerpted from the code, in such a way that it is also clear that what is presented is a selection rather than the entired text of the code. Whatever formatting is done should probably also be applied to the Production Code article, which presents a very similar case. The articles for Magna Carta and the Ten Commandments suggest some formatting approaches. -- Shunpiker 12:26, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Good hints, I added the Magna Carta style formatting as per your advice. The pink background seems a bit upbeat though -- perhaps a more neutral background color would be apropriate? --AC (talk) 06:32, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Comics with "Terror" in title circa 1954[edit]

Lawrence Watt-Evans writes:

And when people suggest that the Comics Code was written specifically
to kill E.C. by banning the words ''horror,'' ''terror,'' ''crime,''
and ''weird'' from comic-book titles, I sometimes wonder whether 
they're really thinking about what they're saying. E.C. didn't have
a comic book with ''terror'' in the title in 1954; Crypt of Terror
had been changed to Tales from the Crypt back in '50.

But Harvey was still publishing Tomb of Terror. The Code was 
aimed at Harvey and others as well as E.C.

The current article reads (mostly my own text):

Publisher William Gaines believed[1][2] that clauses forbidding the words "crime", "horror" and "terror" in comic book titles had been deliberately aimed at his own best-selling titles Crime SuspenStories, The Vault of Horror and The Crypt of Terror.

So if LWE is correct, then the article is wrong about 'Crypt of Terror'.

I looked up on GCD comics up to 1955 with "Terror" in the title:

Title                  Series Issues  Publisher      Published
Black Terror, The      1942    27     Better

Adventures Into Terror 1950     2     Marvel         November
                                                     1950 -
Crypt of Terror, The   1950     3     EC

Adventures Into Terror 1951    29     Marvel         April 1951
                                                     - May 1954

Blue Bolt Weird Tales  1951     9     Star           November
of Terror                             Publications   1951 -
                                      [1949-1954]    May-June
Tales of Terror Annual 1951     3     EC             1951 -
Strange Terrors        1952     7     St. John       June 1952
                                                     - March
Terrors of the Jungle  1952     5     Star
Weird Terror           1952    13     Comic Media

Startling Terror Tales 1952     6     Star           May 1952 -
                                      Publications   February
                                      [1949-1954]    1953
Tomb of Terror         1952    16     Harvey

Beware! Terror Tales   1952     8     Fawcett

Tales of Terror        1953     1     Toby

Terrors of the Jungle  1953     7     Star
Startling Terror Tales 1953     8     Star           April 1953
                                      Publications   - 1954
House of Terror, The   1953     1     St. John

Terror Illustrated     1955     2     EC

Clearly there were several relatively long-running series that fit the bill. The longest being Marvel's Adventures Into Terror. Gaines also published Tales of Terror Annual (4 rebound comics) as late as 1953, so he still might have been publishing at least one 'Terror' title. Revision pending further thought, unless somebody does it first... --AC 05:44, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

DC still using Code?[edit]

I haven't seen the seal on any recent DC Comics. It was on Archie Comics last I can recall, but the claim says "As of 2007"--and I simply have not seen the seal on any 2007 DC covers. Can someone show an example, particularly from one not as part of a younger readers line? --Scottandrewhutchins 21:18, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Relevance of undergrounds to CCA?[edit]

The current article includes this vague paragraph:

In the late 1960s, the underground comics scene arose, with artists creating comics that delved into subject matter explicitly banned by the Code. However, these comics were distributed largely through unconventional channels, such as head shops, making CCA approval unnecessary for their success.

So if undergrounds never needed the code, then why mention them? I suspect some editor may have believed that it was somehow connected, as if the freedom of the undergrounds made mainstream comics producers envious and more liberal. But I'm just guessing at somebody else's speculation. Also puzzling is the "subject matter explicitly banned by the Code" bit, as said artists were never members of the CCA so its rules wouldn't apply to them.

Is there any merit in the above quoted underground text? If not, it should be removed. --AC 22:36, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I think you're right that the paragraph is poorly worded. I'd say it's relevant to note that comics did exist during this time that did not have the Comics Code seal, and rewrite this graf to which include both underground comics and the black-and-white comics magazines of Warren Publishing, Skywald Publications etc. I can tackle that later if someone else doesn't volunteer in the meantime; it's getting late where I am and I'm a bit tired. --Tenebrae 23:03, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
The CCA sells cover seals to subscribing publishers. (Is/was it a nonprofit?) These seals vouchsafed publishers lacking reputation (e.g. 1950s Marvel, EC...) to do business with timid, leery or cautious distributors. Even in the 1950s some "mainstream" publishers who had "good" reputations (e.g. Dell, Gilberton...) didn't need to buy, (and did not buy), memberships or seals. The CCA wasn't universal, just predominant. The article should make that clear, but details about undergrounds and head shops still seem irrelevant.
However, in an article on American Comic Book Distribution such info would be wholly relevant. It'd list the history of distributors, their fortunes, their policies and how these influenced the publishers. --AC (talk) 05:40, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps they are mentioned because people might assume that ALL American-made (or even sold? did foreign things like The Beano have to be approved retrospectively before they could be sold?) comics had to be approved before they could be sold at all, at the time (talk) 13:30, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Let's avoid hypothesizing and stick to facts. Regarding the notion that readers might assume the CCA applied to all comics -- if so, that would be the fault of vague writing in the article, rather than a plausible inference based on insufficient data. On Beano: as far as I know Beano never had newsstand distribution in the US, (or much US circulation at all), so the CCA wouldn't apply. --AC (talk) 21:12, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
"On Beano: as far as I know Beano never had newsstand distribution in the US, (or much US circulation at all)"-Then the USA is indeed a great country. This is irony, but it's not sarcasm.

Image copyright problem with Image:Astonishing30.jpg[edit]

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FUR added --Tenebrae (talk) 03:32, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Title of 1954 JD hearings?[edit]

This recent description seems a bit roundabout:

The Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency hearings in 1954, which focused specifically on comic books...

The article United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency refers to "1954 Comic Book Hearings", which is short and descriptive. The same article cites an OCL reference to Juvenile Delinquency (Comic Books) hearings before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency in the U.S., Eighty-Third Congress, second session, on Apr. 21, 22, June 4, 1954, which agrees with Coville's online edition . Is there an 'encyclopedic' way to construct or choose between such titles? --AC (talk) 07:18, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

I know of know authoritative rules, rather, there are myriads of conventions used by different encyclopedias. Seems like an area to use various re-directs? The idea would be to ensure that someone typing in something like "1954 Comic Book Hearings" or even just "Comic Book Hearings" would retrieve the appropriate entry. -- Quartermaster (talk) 13:41, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject Comics B-Class Assesment required[edit]

This article needs the B-Class checklist filled in to remain a B-Class article for the Comics WikiProject. If the checklist is not filled in by 7th August this article will be re-assessed as C-Class. The checklist should be filled out referencing the guidance given at Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment/B-Class criteria. For further details please contact the Comics WikiProject. Comics-awb (talk) 16:11, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Done - needs a lot more references, the founding section in particular has none (and neither does the 21st century section) and there needs to be more scattered throughout the article. I'm also pretty sure there must be an infobox that could work here. (Emperor (talk) 17:57, 17 February 2009 (UTC))

Wolfman section[edit]

This section remains flawed. Wolfman was never denied the right to have his name in the credit boxes by the CCA. The catch to this particular incident is that Wolfman and Conway found a way to reference the term "wolfman" within the context of a story since Marv penned the tale. There may be quotes from Marv Wolfman here, but they seem to be taken out of context. Just click the footnote that points to CBR for some additional clarity. I would add the following bit of speculation to Marv's telling of the tale. Dick Giordano took over editorship of House of Secrets from Joe Orlando with issue #82. His editorial policies probably had more to do with credits being given on this title going forward that this tale. In fact there is a Marv Wolfman story in issue #82, fully credited to him. He also has several fully credited stories in Teen Titans and elsewhere that predate this tale by several months.

Infobroker (talk) 22:46, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

It is definitely an exaggeration to claim that this tale was a key incident that opened up credit policy across the entire DC line. Too many creators were already being given credits, years before this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
According to WP:VERIFY, Wikipedia does not expect to provide "truth" — whatever that is, given different parties' accounts of the same event — but verification that information included here has appeared in a reliable source. The points in that section come from the source himself, in two instances decades apart. As an example of the CCA's reach and its effect on major comic-book publishers, it is pertinent.
I'm sure you understand that "probably" speculation isn't usable. Cocaine or heroin (I forgot which) slipped into the first Deadman story without the CCA noticing. Wolfman's name likewise may have appeared previously without the CCA's notice. The point of the example is the publisher's and CCA's reaction when use of the term "Wolfman" was then brought to the CCA's attention. -- Tenebrae (talk) 01:25, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
That said, the issue of writers credits is tangential and off-topic, so I've removed it. We do have common ground!   :-)  --Tenebrae (talk) 01:28, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

If you want a source for what actually happened, see Ken Arromdee (talk) 19:20, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

A footnote to that source has been in this Wikipedia article since January 2009. I'd like to take your comment in good faith; I note, however, you've added another link to that site further down on this page. Given that the link was already footnoted for nearly a year-and-a-half, and that you're linking multiple times to the same site, I think it's reasonable to question whether these edits are promotional linkspam.--Tenebrae (talk) 17:47, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
In other words, you're not going to assume good faith, however you're going to mention the good faith policy for plausible deniability that you're following the policy by not following it. Ken Arromdee (talk) 18:09, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Other non code comics[edit]

I have a collection of Gold Key comics going all the way back into the late 1960s and the one thing I noticed is there is no Comics Code Authority logo on any of them, even the stuff with Disney characters. If the code was supposedly so powerful how was Gold Key able to sale comics in general distribution outlets without the Code logo?--BruceGrubb (talk) 07:39, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Gold Key was even MORE powerful. They published adaptations of basically EVERYTHING: TV, movies, literature. They had comics, books, puzzles, etc. They were Disney before Disney was Disney. They had their own standards and the comics buying public knew what to expect from a Gold Key book. So, no code seal needed. Khajidha (talk) 17:41, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Tony Stark?[edit]

Clearly Iron Man does not seem to meet the codes original format (due to Tony's Alcoholic trait before and most likely after becoming Iron Man not sure I never read the comic or saw that movie)... Was it a non-code comic? Or was it a code comic as the subject was most likely not brought up again? (talk) 06:25, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Though Iron Man debuted in 1963, Tony Stark's alcoholism wasn't established until 1979, well after the Code had been revised. See WaxTadpole (talk) 16:22, 3 May 2011 (UTC)


I deleted text which says that MAD "was changed to magazine format to circumvent the code". There is no source for that claim and not only says that it's not true, but quotes an interview with William Gaines to back this up. Ken Arromdee (talk) 19:18, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Newer info?[edit]

Could we get some info on this from later than 2007? Is this still in effect at all? It's 2010, now, so this is 3 years out of date. (talk) 03:21, 1 June 2010

the spider-man section and DC overall[edit]

it's all bullshit, i mean i respect the story with spidey for what it is, but the statement by the DC guy is taken out of the companys context, because in august 71 they started the influential snowbirds don't fly story in green lantern / green arrow, and the big difference between the two storys is, and that's also why the DC story is more relevant overall, in thw words of dennis o neal:

"I went home and decided I really wanted to do the drug story," the artist recalls, "so I pencilled and inked the cover, and it's exactly as you've seen it, with Speedy and his works on the table. I took it into [editor] Julie Schwartz's office, put it on his desk, and he dropped it like a hot potato. "He was very clear that if we did the story, we would have to make Speedy into a heroin junkie. Not a pot smoker, not a pill popper like they did at Marvel; he would have to be a hard drug user. It was an interesting situation. Denny wanted to write the story, I wanted to draw it, Julie came around after he had calmed himself down. And then, Stan Lee did his Spider-Man story...

Within a few weeks, remembers Adams, while DC staffers debated the prospects of doing the drug story, Lee got the jump on them by publishing a drug abuse story in Spider-Man #96-98 (illustrated by Gil Kane) that was a first; originally rejected by the Comics Code Authority, Marvel published the story anyway without the seal of approval.

"We could have done it first and been the ones to make a big move. Popping a pill and walking off a roof isn't the sort of thing that really happens, but heroin addiction is; to have it happen to one of our heroes was potentially devastating. Anyway, the publishers at DC, Marvel and the rest called a meeting, and in three weeks, the Comics Code was completely rewritten. And we did our story."

here's the link for reference in the rewriting of this article, i hope somebody with better englich than me does it: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:26, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Is The Code Dead?[edit]

In light of the Tipper Gore putting lables on CDs and such and the TV rating system, would the code have to change again, or fold up?DLN7762 (talk) 23:30, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

for defying the code[edit]

In the Updating the Code section:

"Lee and Marvel drew criticism from DC head Carmine Infantino "for defying the code", stating that DC will not "do any drug stories unless the code is changed"."

Who is doing the "stating" - Lee and Marvel or Infantino? Could this be clarified? Heavenlyblue (talk) 22:39, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Larger Social Context[edit]

This article could use a section explicitly dealing in detail with the larger social context of the CCA's inception. The Founding section has only the overly vague "...was formed in September 1954 in response to a widespread public concern...". Who organised, motivated, and expressed this "widespread public concern"? There is no mention here of right-wing populism, the Red Scare, or any other movements, organisations, or social currents. This very much needs to be remedied. I suggest a section entitled Social and Political Context. Heavenlyblue (talk) 22:59, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

The whole thing definitely has aspects of a Moral panic. Heavenlyblue (talk) 23:10, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Top Importance?[edit]

There's a discussion on which comic-related articles should be listed as "Top Importance" on the importance scale, and I feel this article should not be included. If any user disagrees or wishes to contribute, please do so there. Argento Surfer (talk) 14:48, 1 February 2013 (UTC)


One section says distributors were the de facto enforcement arm of the CCA, refusing to carry comics without the seal. Yet the section immediately above says distributors carried Dell and Gold Key Comics without it. This needs to be explained, with citing. --Tenebrae (talk) 14:20, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

This has been addressed. Argento Surfer (talk) 17:30, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

A 1973 Chicago Tribune article that may be useful here[edit]

I found this article from July 28, 1973 on the Chicago Tribune archives site. It may be of some use to this article. Both Steve Englehart and Mike Royer are quoted in it.

Mtminchi08 (talk) 18:39, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

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