The Bizarre True Story Of The Comics Code Authority

Some of the rules of the Comics Code were not as simple as banning a particular word. As detailed in “The Ten-Cent Plague,” many of the rules attempted to ensure that the stories that comics told were moral. These could be subjective, and it was hard to know exactly what would get approved. As explained by History, there was no way to appeal something that was rejected.

One of the areas that the Comics Code took aim at was sexuality. Along with nudity, drawing women in a way that the Comics Code Authority deemed sexualized was forbidden (via Time). Per History, romance stories were allowed, but they were required to “emphasize the value of home and the sanctity of marriage.” The stories could include divorce, but they could never be depicted as positive. Sexual perversion was also not allowed, but what exactly fell into that category depended on what administrator for the Comics Code Authority happened to be working that day.

Authorities, like police, judges, or politicians had to be depicted as intelligent and effective, and while crime could still make up an element of the plot of a comic book, criminals couldn’t be sympathetic.

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