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We have come so far.

If you know about comics, then you know of the Comic Book Code which came out in October of 1954. All due to the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency and Psychiatrist Fredric Wertham's concern that reading comic books would turn impressionable kids into a deranged killers, drug addled criminals, or werewolves ( be patient, I'll get there ). The focus of their concerns was the crime and horror comics of the day. Now, mind you, some of those comics did have grisly covers and featured stories of beheading, mutilations, murder, cannibalism, and what-have-you, but what does one expect from a horror or true-crime comic? I don't recall any evidence that juvenile grave robbing or axe murders were a big problem during that time. Having grown up reading Creepy, I can't see what the harm . . . I mean, I'm completely norm . . . Okay, maybe I'm a terrible example.

     The limits of what the Code would allow went further than scenes of blood and menace. In 1956, a reprint of the story Judgement Day, an allegorical science-fiction story on racial prejudice, was deemed unacceptable due to the main character being black. ( The story itself is based on a Bradbury story, although I'm unsure which one )

Link: cacb.wordpress.com/2008/11/24/ec-comics-judgement-day/

     Judge Charles Murphy, a Code administrator, wanted the black astronaut removed. An argument went back-and-forth between the writers and the judge which ended with the story being published unaltered, only because the writers stated they would speak out on why the story was not approved. I think there was the threat of a lawsuit mixed in there. Mind you, the story had already been printed a few years earlier in a different comic.

     There was no listing in the Code against having the main characters being black, but there were some bigoted provisions like those listed in General Standards; Part B, Section 5; no vampires or werewolves.

     That's right, comics were not allowed to have werewolves. Couldn't even mention the word. This led to comic writer Marv Wolfman in 1970 having to explain to the Code enforcers that having his name listed as a writing credit was not a violation of the Code. (Not making this up) You could show a guy robbing a bank or a woman in skin tight costumes, but don't let you kids know that there are werewolves out there. Werewolves didn't appear in comics until Marvel's 1972 Werewolf By Night. Well, at least to the best of my knowledge.

If you would like the read the entire Comic Book Code circa 1950s; historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6543/

     I'm thankful that lycanthropes have broken free of the shackles of oppression. Seriously, no werewolves? But you could have ghosts, phantoms, Beppo the Super Monkey, and Jimmy Olsen: who, by the way, has transformed into several creatures during various shenanigans, even a werewolf back in 1960 . . .wait a minute, that did happen, how did DC get around that?

Pardon me as I go Googling.


what hell
Eldon Litchfield

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