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See The Pre-Comics Code Craziness Cap Faced When Fighting Dr. Agony!

This is a brand-new feature called "Live By No Man's Code." As you presumably know, in the mid-1950s, most of the major comic book companies (including DC Comics and what would eventually be known as Marvel Comics) agreed to form a Comics Code Authority that would dramatically reduce the amount of violence and gore that could be shown in a Code-approved comic book. It effectively put EC Comics comic book line out of business, as they relied so much on horror and crime comics. Of course, since the "Golden Age" of comic books began in the 1940s, then that means we had over a decade of Pre-Code comic books. So, in this feature, we examine Pre-Code superhero comic books to see the amusing levels of gore and violence that they let them get away with at the time.

We begin with 1944's Captain America Comics #37, and especially the lead story, "The Chambers of Dr. Agony," by an unknown writer and artists Syd Shores and Vince Alascia.

One of the first things you'll notice about this comic book story is how the concept of "Things are scarier when you DON'T see them" is not something that was in play during the Golden Age. In fact, you have to wonder if perhaps the changing moral standards of the comic book publishing companies sort of led to that entire concept. In any event, like I said, back in the Golden Age, they flat out went for grotesque looking dudes like Doctor Agony...

The set-up for the story is that Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes learn that the local supervisor of the region of Europe that their Army base is stationed on has vanished. So Bucky and Steve figure that they could get in good with their commanding officer (who is always pissed at Steve and Bucky, as he considers Steve a terrible soldier and he still can't quite figure out why Bucky Barnes is being sent into every theater of war that they go into).

They discover the missing man, but they discover him when they get captured by the same guy who captured him - the evil Doctor Agony. He is hideous, but he also has a panther that he has sort of trained to be able to use its purrs to hypnotize people (just go with it)...

Doctor Agony is a Nazi scientist who is trying to figure out how to make it so that people don't feel any pain. His idea is to make soldiers who can keep fighting even they are badly wounded. We see the man that he has captured, Marley, is being tortured in a gruesome fashion, with red blood pouring out of his back...

Cap initially escapes, but then is captured in a special cage that gets hotter and hotter over time. Luckily, Bucky breaks free by getting the panther to attack him but then maneuver his strap so that the panther bites the strap. He and Doctor Agony tussle until the panther is set upon his own master, but because the panther had previously been made immune to pain, it won't stop attacking Agony even as he stabs it to death. So he stabs his own panther to death as it tears his throat out...

You don't get much bloodier than that! Daaaang!

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