Dear Comics Readers,
We here at the Comics Code Authority would like to take a moment to “rap” with you all about recent statements made by representatives of various Comics publishing firms.
You may have heard them:
“The Comics Code is an outdated dinosaur!”
“We don’t need the Comics Code!”
“Look here, where it says women must be portrayed as submissive and obedient!”
“The whole Code was just a self-censoring plan to force EC Comics out of business!”
“We’re leaving the Code and taking our submission fees with us!”
Frankly, it’s that last one that hurts us. It’s just so unfair.
But never let it be said that the COMICS CODE is a rigid, unyielding organization! We understand the concerns of Marvel Comics, and other publishers, who say that the CCA is arbitrary, vague, out-of-touch, and stuck in the nineteenth century. So, rather than lose one of the largest publishers in the country, we’ve decided to shake this musty office out of it’s doldrums, much like Kevin Bacon in the popular youth musical, “Footless!”
Below, please find attached the “Fresh” and “Fly” attachment #1a, our new revised guidelines, as arrived at after an intensive two-hour study of the youth “music video” television channel VH1 .
We feel that this document shows that we’re not the stuffy senior citizens we’ve been painted to be by rabble-rousing journalists on the World Wide Web. We strongly feel that these revised rules for editorial content will allow Marvel and other companies to enjoy tremendous creative freedom, while at the same time addressing the concerns of censors and snake-handling fundamentalists. As popular heavy-metal artist Robert Dylan says, “The Times Which Are A’Changing!” So, chill up, hobies, and “dig” these newly-expanded guidelines and standards in the following subsections! For comparison, HERE is the original version of our beloved Code guidelines.
The Break-Dancin’, Hippity-Hoppin’ Comics Code Authority: There’s No Stoppin’ Us Now!
Anonymous CCA Flack
GENERAL STANDARDS PART A:
1) 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, HOWEVER, criminals are now allowed to occasionally express remorse before being pummeled and killed.
2) Policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority, HOWEVER, amusing hairstyles are now acceptable.
3) If crime is depicted it shall be as a sordid and unpleasant activity, HOWEVER, the depiction of children ingesting narcotics will now be allowed, providing they immediately jump off a building under the mistaken assumption that they are able to fly.
4) In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal shall be punished for his misdeeds, and no, interesting disfigurements and metal additional arms do not count.
5) No Garth Ennis shall be permitted.
6) Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gun play, physical agony, gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated, even though, frankly, I’m getting hot thinking about it.
7) No unique or unusual methods of concealing weapons shall be shown. In fact, it’s better just to avoid the rectal area entirely.
8) The letters of the word “crime” on a comics magazine shall never be appreciably greater than the other words contained in the title. The word “crime” shall never appear alone on a cover. The letters “C” and “M” shall not appear on any cover at the same time. Words that rhyme with crime are not permitted, and spelling crime backwards is equally bad. No reference shall be made to the Crimean War, and the well-known phrase shall be altered to “BLANK does not pay.” Wolverine stabbing ten guys is okay.
9) No reference shall ever be made to a non-code-approved book being “cool.”
10) With discretion, Negroes are now acceptable.
GENERAL STANDARDS PART B:
1) No comic magazine shall use the word “horror” or “terror” in its title. Alternate suggestions: “Spooky,” “Mildly Anxiety-Producing,” and “Distasteful,” as in, “Tales From The Distasteful and Mildly Anxiety-Producing Spooky Crypt of Distastefulness.”
2) All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism shall not be permitted, unless, as noted previously, they are hot.
3) All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated. If there’s one thing children hate, it’s lurid, unsavory and gruesome illustrations.
4) Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited. Angry bus drivers, rude postal clerks, and older brothers with mild skin conditions are acceptable substitutions.
5) Scenes depicting women up on the table with some Nazi doctor performing horrifying experiments will be submitted immediately, even if they’re not inked yet, and the CCA reserves the right to keep them for extended review, possibly in the CCA restroom.
6) The word “evolution” must be immediately paired with the words, “crackpot” and “theory.”
GENERAL STANDARDS PART C:
All elements or techniques not specifically mentioned herein, but which are contrary to the spirit and intent of the Code, and are considered violations of good taste or decency, shall be prohibited. Avoid anything fun or entertaining.
1) Excessive profanity, obscenity, smut, vulgarity, or words or symbols which have acquired undesirable meanings are forbidden, HOWEVER, milder profanity, such as “drat,” and “curses!” shall be permitted, with discretion.
2) In response to Marvel Comics’ complaints, the following list of profanities are now grudgingly allowed: Ass, butt, can, derriere, rump, caboose, keister, booty, cheeks, tokus, duff, kazoo, tush, beer shelf, fine-ass backside, and sweet-tater scooter pie.
3) Although slang and colloquialisms are acceptable, excessive use should be discouraged and wherever possible good grammar shall be employed, just as in real-life.
1) Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure. In acknowledging changing social trends, women may now show a portion of skin rising no more than three inches above the ankle. Boobs can hang out all over the place, though.
2) Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable, if the characters depicted are ugly.
3) Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities. Exceptions to this rule include the hooters and the sweet-tater scooter pie, which can, nay, should be exaggerated. No amount of exaggeration is too much, in fact. Go wild! Have fun! Wouldn’t it be funny if she fell over, but bounced right back up, due to excessive pulchritude? You can use that.
4) Nazi doctors will not be depicted in a bondage-type scenario with attractively-drawn females without due consideration to close-ups and good lighting.
MARRIAGE AND SEX
1) Divorce shall not be treated humorously nor shall be represented as desirable. Remember, this is fiction.
2) Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at or portrayed. Violent love scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable, but compelling. Very compelling.
3) Respect for parents, the moral code, and for honorable behavior shall be fostered. A sympathetic understanding of the problems of love is not a license for moral distortion. Also, the story should continually and rigorously reinforce the benefits of not whacking off.
4) The treatment of love-romance stories shall emphasize the value of the home and the sanctity of marriage, in the same way that our film stars and sports celebrities embrace these values.
5) Passion or romantic interest shall never be treated in such a way as to stimulate the lower and baser emotions. Really, this is pretty much the whacking off guideline again.
6) Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden. See NO GARTH ENNIS.
7) Again, as per Marvel’s request, hot tub threesomes are grudgingly permitted. However, the amount of bubbles must not be shown to be excessive, nor shall shampooing be portrayed or suggested. Greek is completely unacceptable.
CODE FOR ADVERTISING MATERIAL
1) Liquor and tobacco advertising is not acceptable. Let the kids’ chain-smoking, alcoholic parents teach them about these fine products.
2) Advertisement of sex or sex instructions books are unacceptable. Believe me, I fought against this one, but I guess this goddamn place is a “democracy” now.
3) Advertising for the sale of knives, concealable weapons, or realistic gun facsimiles is prohibited, primarily because my teen-age son scares me.
4) To the best of his ability, each publisher shall ascertain that all statements made in advertisements conform to the fact and avoid misinterpretation. I know, I know, I bought a pair of X-Ray Spex, too.
5) Advertisement of medical, health, or toiletry products of questionable nature are to be rejected. This explains the convention-going fans.
COME BACK, MARVEL! WE LOVE YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU!