Would you read a comic with three famous heroes sitting on canons? Or what about a Superman puppet being tied up and whipped by Lois Lane? Well if those ideas excite you, these are actually covers to DC comics from back in the day. If you have no interest in reading comics with questionable cover art, then you lucky for you, DC no longer makes covers as controversial as these anymore. There are also stricker censors in place to prevent uncomfortable covers. There is more death and blood in comics than the Golden and Silver Ages, but there is also less creepy situations.
DC Comics was founded in 1934. It has been making comics through wars, revolutions, prejudices and much more. These events in history that America has provided a lot of influential artwork and stories throughout time. Although there was a Comics Code Authority in place, DC Comics was still lenient on what went in comics. Things like innuendos and racist characters are on the covers of some of DC Comics most classic comic books that would never pass through the careful censors of today. So here are the top 15 covers of classic DC comics that would never make it past today’s censors.
15 WORLD’S FINEST SKINNY DIPPING
Boys skinny dipping in a lake is just a normal day for heroes of World’s Finest Comics. A pool of naked boys would definitely not make it past the censors for today’s comics -- there's just way too much going on that could be questionable at the very least. Especially since Robin looks like he wants to join the pool party.
In one of the stories called "Desert Town", the heroes travel to Painted Valley to help Jim Jaspers and the criminals that have invaded, while Lois Lane and some valuable gold also get stolen by the criminals. So Superman tags along with Robin and Batman to stop the criminals and save Lois from the clutches of the criminals. And along the way, they find the lake of boys in Painted Valley.
14 MAGNETIC FIST
This is a position you usually don’t see Green Lantern in very often these days: spread eagle on a large magnet and bracing for the magnetic fist. It is common for the females like Wonder Woman to get tied up and bonded in the Golden and Silver Age comics, but we guess they wanted some of that action for the males too.
In “Green Lantern Lives Again!” Green Lantern dies and comes back alive just in time to be tortured by Dr. Polaris. Doctor Polaris is a physician who uses magnets to cure ailments, but like most doctors in comics he is evil and has a vendetta toward superheroes. Hal goes to a different timeline and fights Dr. Polaris and gets trapped on his giant magnet. But a giant magnet isn’t enough to stop a Guardian and Hal breaks free and beats the doctor in hand-to-hand combat.
13 SHARING LOIS LANE
Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane is a spinoff series where Lois Lane gets to partake in her own adventures. In this series, she is partaking in kissing the Justice League because Superman needs a breath of fresh air. The other members are also very eager to get a piece of Lois Lane’s lips too. The “sharing” of a women would not get past today’s censors.
In this issue of Superman’s Girlfriend there is more to the plot than what the cover puts on. The reason why they are kissing is because Lois has red kryptonite enhanced lipstick and needs to get it to a trapped Superman so that he will be immune to their kryptonite poisoning. So in this storyline, Superman is the damsel in distress and Lois saves him by kissing the Justice League.
12 LOCAL WITCH DOCTOR
Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen had a surprising run of 20 years and 163 published issues, despite covers like this. The portrayal of Superman as a Witch Doctor and Jimmy Olsen marrying an animal are the two main factors that would not pass the test of censorship in today’s times.
The reasoning behind this issue, “The Bride of Jungle Jimmy” is that Superman and Jimmy go to African Jungle to get onsite experience of a film for an article. While in the jungle, Jimmy falls into quicksand and the gorilla Bruna saves him. Bruna falls in love with Jimmy because he showed her the film King Kong. But since Jimmy doesn’t want to be with a gorilla, he leaves her. She goes crazy as a result. And to calm her down, Superman dressed as a Witch Doctor and marries them.
11 ACTION COMICS WAR PROPAGANDA
War propaganda was even in Actions Comics using Superman to tell Americans what they should do to help out in the war. The issue was released in 1943 which was right in the middle of World War II. They are using comics to suggest readers to buying war bonds to help support the military as well as depicting a very racist picture of a Japanese man, along with a horrible slur. This would not fly at all today.
The issue does not even relate to the war that the cover is suggesting. One of the storylines is about Dr. Menace who turns James Trevor ugly and promises that he will make him good looking again if he commits crimes for the doctor. But with Superman just around the corner, criminals don’t stand a chance.
10 WONDER WOMAN’S MISSILE
Wonder Woman is tied to a missile and flying through air with a very frightened face. This is just an all-around unheroic and unappealing cover of the supposedly strong Amazonian princess. Thankfully, they have much better artwork and scenarios for the latest Wonder Woman comics that portray her in a more powerful and sophisticated manner. This story was published in the '70s and is about a terrorist which would also be tricky to pass today’s censors with what has happened in recent times.
In this issue of Wonder Woman, Dr. Domino is a terrorist that wants information about a deadly weapon from the United Nations. His way of trying to get that information is to tie Wonder Woman to a missile and launch it.
9 WORLD’S FINEST STRADDLERS
Here we have Superman, Batman and Robin triumphantly straddling guns of war. World’s Finest comics were out before Frank Miller gave Batman a dark and mysterious edge that would send any sane mind off a cliff, so Batman was down to straddle anything with a smile. Many readers even assumed Batman and Robin were together from all the sexual undertones in the issues, and this cover didn't help things. It is said that Superman was added to kill those rumors.
World’s Finest Comics ran from 1941 to 1986. The comic featured the main heroes Superman and Batman happily frolicing together on fun adventures. Later on, more heroes were added and had their own storylines, such as Green Arrow, Doctor Fate, Green Lantern, Atom and Martian Manhunter.
8 TARGET PRACTICE
Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane is back again and this time, Lois is strapped to a target and has darts aimed at her. Lois on the target is also spread eagle (similar to Green Lantern) with her mouth bound and tied up in front of a crowd of eager men. The costumes in comics do get more revealing through the times, but they are less likely to be put in a risque position like this on the cover.
In “Who Killed Lucy Lane?” Lois’ sister was murdered and she wants to find out why with the help of Superman. The reason why a character is speaking to Superman in Spanglish is because they go to South America to try and find how Lucy died. Lois sticks herself in weird situations, as usual, and gets tied to a target.
7 COUSIN LOVIN’
“I’m so happy for Superman. But how strange that the woman he is finally going to wed looks exactly as I will when I grow up!” Yes Supergirl … how strange is that? Undertones of a "close family" would definitely not make it past today’s censors in DC comics. Most characters look similar without costumes except for a few minor features, so it is no wonder the woman that is going to marry Superman looks like his cousin.
This issue of Action Comics features “Superman’s Super-Courtship” as Supergirl suddenly becomes very interested in Superman’s love life from watching a sad movie with her adoptive parents. She doesn’t want Superman to miss out of love so she plays time traveling Cupid with three different women, but all the attempts end up failing.
The Captain Marvel comics have come a long way with its characters and stories. The Captain Marvel Adventures comics was being published in 1943. During that time, there was World War II going on across the world and there was still heavy racial segregation in America. This explains why the man next to Captain Marvel looks like so awful on the cover.
So the Comics Code Authority actually had a rule where a black man could not be the main character because they didn’t want to corrupt the youth. There was a lot of controversy over this rule and indie comics like Independence Day tried to defy these rules. It wasn't until the ‘60s that a colored main character took the main stage in comic books.
5 CLARK KENT IS A LIAR
Superman is looking over a boy crying on in his bed for this exciting cover of Superman’s Action Comics. There are many different ways this could be viewed as the wrong interpretation. There are always other positioning of the characters that would create a more effective cover. Superman and the child could be side-by-side or the boy could not be in the cover at all.
This particular Superman story in Action Comics, “Superman, You’re Not Clark Kent -- And I can Prove It!”, pretty much gives away everything in the book right on the cover. The boy on the cover, named Jon Ross, has a disease and lost his will to live. So Superman decided to lift his spirits and tell Jon his secret identity. The boy didn’t believe Superman and had a fit. Clearly, a very action-packed issue of Action Comics.
4 SUPERBOY’S PUNISHMENT
Spanking children was of the norm in the ‘50s, so it is not surprising it would be on the cover of a comic from the era of time. But if this cover were to come out today, people would be hysterical with its violent disciplinary message. But this cover also states that Superboy has buns of steel because “It’s impossible to punish Superboy.”
This issue of Superboy has three stories within it. The story based off the cover is titled “The Punishment of Superboy” Superboy is almost destructible, making it difficult for his parents to physically punish him. But his father Jonathan Kent thinks of another way to punish Superboy when he is naughty by finding a meaningful and emotional way to punish the boy of steel.
3 WOODEN PUPPET
The shock story of the year of 1967 is Lois Lane whipping a tied up Superman puppet. Superman and Lois Lane are really in it for the long haul are willing to do anything, no matter how weird it gets. There is usually no context of the cover art until the story is read, so this cover creates a lot of “what is even going on?” thoughts in our heads.
The part of this cover that would not be approved of the comic censors of today is the tied up puppet being whipped. The story is as weird as the cover. In it, Lois becomes possessed by an evil entity. The entity then passes to Superman when she is with him. In order to get rid of it, they have a brilliant idea to make a puppet of Superman so the spirit will posses the puppet and not them anymore.
2 THE FURY OF EGG FU
In Wonder Woman, Diana and Steve get Mustache Trapped by the Oriental Egghead. The reason why this cover wouldn’t make it past today’s censors is because of the blatant racism of the Eastern culture on the cover and in the issue. This issue was released in 1965, and what passed for acceptable in the ‘60s is completely different from our censors today.
In “The Fury of Egg Fu” Wonder Woman and Steve leave Paradise Island and go to Oolong to fight Egg Fu. They discover antimatter on the way to Oolong and take it to use against Egg Fu. While on Oolong, they also fight Red Chinese troops and tanks. They use the anti-matter and the lasso of truth to destroy Egg Fu and save the country.
1 I AM CURIOUS (BLACK)!
One of America’s favorite superheros helps turn his girlfriend black for a day. You can see by just the cover that the whole story is going to be racist and not work with today’s times. On the cover, Superman built a machine that has the ability to change Lois’ race from white to black. Lois is saying it is vital that she can turn black for the next 24 hours.
The reason why Lois wants to turn black is because she wants to write an article about “Little Africa” which is considered the lower income area in Metropolis. So Lois turns black and goes undercover in Little Africa and gets into more racist shenanigans, but she ends up saving someone’s life to make up for it (sarcasm intended)!