Friday, 11 November 2011
The turning point for the Code, when it's rather draconian oppression was held up for scruitiny, came in 1971 after Marvel comics were asked to do an 'anti-drugs' story by the government. However, the Comics Code forbade the use of and the mention of drugs, so it would be next to impossible to accomplish the request. Stan Lee, editor at Marvel, decided to publish the story, (a rather heavy-handed and glib tale, as it turned out) in a 3 part Spider-man run, WITHOUT the seal of the Comics Code. And, as the world didn't end, the comic still sold, and garnered plenty of positive reaction, the Code was seen to be due a review, which in turn led to it's weakening and eventual termination.
Here are the published cover (top) of one of those Spider-man issues, and a rejected cover rough for the same issue. I guess it was deemed just TOO graphic! Note that the seal of the code is not present on the version that reached the shops, but IS on the rough, clearly done on a photostat of a cover template.
ALTER EGO is a fascinating read, as always, and you feel like you've just done an Open University degree module on the subject once you've digested everything, it's so detailled and backed up with notes, examples, opinions of those involved and direct reportage. That will not appeal to many, I know, but I find it endlessly interesting! Good on yer, Roy!