Welcome to the table,
I had a family member who would go through her kid’s comics with a permanent marker and draw over anything she thought was questionable. She would color in clothing that was “church appropriate.”
She would color in speech bubbles and narrative boxes that had any words or thoughts she thought were not aligned with her sensibilities. Have you ever seen what a permanent market does to a comic book page? Stacks of comics were just these messy splotches of warped marker-saturated pages.
When I was researching the Comics Code later in life I imagine this was the mentality that went into its inception. Parents who believed their kids should have comics but rather than just buy comics for their kids that had the values they wanted their kids to see, they forced comics to align with their values and burned books, and harassed anyone who would not listen until it happened.
As I typed all that I sighed pretty heavily thinking about the current state of the world and how nothing seems to have changed really. Those people just have access to social media and politicians now.
Let’s talk about something fun, shall we?
The reason the Comics Code and heavy-handed censorship are even front of mind is the new Pre-Code Horror ReAction figures out from Super 7
For those of you who don’t know, back in the 1940s and early 1950s, comics were untamed and wild. Creators were free to let their imaginations run wild and create characters and stories that pushed the limits of what was considered acceptability. These comics often explored controversial and even terrifying subjects, like undead eating the flesh of the living or weird goblins who crept in through bedroom windows and ate your toes.
Parents and teachers were for some reason furious that such things were allowed. That kids were exposed to horrors in comics. This did not cause them to do anything about the horrors of war or the horrors happening in their neighborhoods at the hands of people in their communities… but comics… stapled pieces of pulp paper, that was the thing that was going to really mess up the youth that cried.
And the outcry over these comics eventually led to the creation of the Comics Code Authority in 1954. This regulatory body was established to ensure that comics were appropriate for all ages and did not contain excessive violence or horror.
Some of those old books were super cool and honestly tamer than the stuff on a network TV cop show. So it’s really rad that fans of this early uncensored era of comic book storytelling now have another way to relive those weird and horrifying stories.
Super7 is releasing a line of Pre-Code Comics ReAction Figures, inspired by the cover art from four different comic series of the time.
The attention to detail on these figures is impressive, from the carefully sculpted faces to the vibrant color schemes to the fun and freaky packaging, everything evokes the bold hues of the original comics.
Of course, I’m sure not everyone will have the stomach for these figures. They represent a time when comic books were truly unbound by the constraints of censorship and societal expectations. But for those who appreciate such things, they are an essential addition to any collection.
Until next time, think before you do stuff. The impact you have on a kid’s life will stick with them for the rest of theirs.
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