Press release today...



Thursday, January 20th, 2011
By Jim Lee

As of January 2011, DC Comics titles will no longer carry the Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval. In 2011, DC Comics will employ a rating system consistent with that of the rest of the industry, as well as with our digital releases, which already utilize a rating system. As for our Vertigo comic books, they will not utilize the rating system, because they will continue to be labeled as “For Mature Readers”.

Beginning with our April 2011 titles, all DC comic book covers will utilize the following rating system:
Appropriate for readers of all ages. May contain cartoon violence and/or some comic mischief.
Appropriate for readers age 12 and older. May contain mild violence, language and/or suggestive themes.
Appropriate for readers age 16 and older. May contain moderate violence, mild profanity, graphic imagery and/or suggestive themes.
Appropriate for readers age 18 and older. May contain intense violence, extensive profanity, nudity, sexual themes and other content suitable only for older readers.

Jim and Dan

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My first thought: "Huh? They had still been using that thing?"


My second thought: "Huh? They had still been using that thing?"

I'm just surprised they waited so long after Marvel.  Glad to see that Vertigo will be unaffected, since it's most of what I read from DC.

I have a correction on my own post -- ICv2 reports Bongo dropped the Code a year ago. So it's just Archie now.
What he said.

Philip Portelli said:

With merchandising and other media opportunities, it's in the major companies' best interest to have an internal control over their books' contents. That doen't mean censorship or dumbing down comics, it means subtlety and ingenuity. Excessive profanity, violence, sexual situations and vice aren't needed in every story!

Archie announces that it, too, is dropping the Comics Code!


"Archie Drops the Comic Code ... Wertham Dead Forever"


"Archie Dropping COMIC CODE AUTHORITY Seal in February"


They say they haven't submitted any books for Code approval in a year, but aren't changing their content.

That explains so much over at Archie's!

Philip Portelli said:
That explains so much over at Archie's!
What are you saying exactly?
Nothing sinister, just seeing the difference between internal control and external guidelines!

Doc Beechler said:

Philip Portelli said:
That explains so much over at Archie's!
What are you saying exactly?
Actually, the Comics Code operated out of Archie Comics headquarters for the bulk of its existence, so it's hardly "external." (The last time I looked up who was in charge of the Code, it was the late Louis Silberkleit, who was simultaneously the publisher of Archie Comics.) What changed at Archie -- if you're referring to its new experiments -- is that the last of the old guard died, and Jon Goldwater took over as CEO. According to Co-publisher Victor Gorelick, who I interviewed a couple of weeks ago, he's a "hands on" CEO, and according to another interview I read, one with Goldwater himself, he said he told his writers to suggest whatever they could think of -- the wilder the better. Evidently the new guy wants to drag Archie into the 21st century, which I applaud.

Read David Hajdu's book, "The Ten-Cent Plague," for a well-researched and VERY in-depth look at how the Code came to be, and why it might have been necessary at the time.


What's often forgotten now is that comics in the late '40s/early '50s were less censored than movies, TV, radio or any other form of pop culture. Parents were not happy to find their kids reading material that was not even deemed suitable for adult entertainment. The closest parallel to the crime and horror comics were the "hard-boiled" paperback books -- the works of Mickey Spillane, Jim Thompson, John D. MacDonald, etc.


It was a different world in 1954. Without the Code, there might have been government censorship of comics (which had already happened at the state and local levels). I agree it outlived its usefulness some time ago. The Code was designed to assure parents that their tots weren't reading anything sexy or gory. But as Paul Levitz said in a recent NPR interview, it's been at least 25 years since comics were primarily a medium for children.

I think it's interesting that they're splitting teen readers into so many categories. At 11 you can read one category, at 12 you can read two categories, four years later you get a third category, and two years after that you can read everything.

Are there really so many comics readers between 11-18 that they need four ratings categories to define what they can read? Is there any chance a retailer won't be selling those M books to whoever wants to buy one? Is it only the parent who's supposed to understand the nuance between a T and T+?

Then, of course, there's the question of who does the rating and whether there'a any appeal process for those writers who are shocked to discover their comic got a T+ and they're devastated to learn they'll be losing that 13-15 year demographic. Not to mention if they'll do whatever they want and slap a E, T, T+ or M on each individual issue depending on the contents, so some poor 15 year old has to miss an issue.

For instance, do most issues of Adventure Comics get a T, but the one showing Saturn Girl waking up in bed next to Cosmic Boy and regretting having sex with him so much that she wiped his brain of the event suddenly get an M? I'll be curious to see the distinction between an E, a T and a T+. I assume they've got some criteria.

My favorite examples of Code ridiculousness:


1. "Zuvembies"


2. Macho man Luke Cage saying "Sweet Christmas!" and "Holy Spit!"


3. A 1959 Aquaman story set in an island city that's obviously American. But the story says it's a foreign country. Why? Because the story deals with political corruption. And, according to the Code, political corruption didn't exist in America.

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