Friday, April 24, 2009

Seduction of the Innocent and the Comics Code Authority (Part III)

Some of the selected provisions of the Code are as follows:

· 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.

Many of the early comic book publishers had already folded by the mid-1950's or had moved on to such lighter fare as westerns, romance and funny animals. Superheroes were still around, primarily Superman, Batman and a handful of others, but tastes had largely shifted away from the long underwear crowd. However, EC Comics was getting lots of attention with their sci-fi, horror and mature fantasy titles, but as you can gather by looking at some of the Code's strictures above, the noose was beginning to tighten .

The conclusion of my look back at this period will be posted soon!

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