Oh! Oh right, no. Marvel Comics dropped the Comics Code Authority seal of approval in 2001. But I guess it’s news again because DC finally dropped it, presumably mad because they had to keep the dripping flesh-ribbons off of the Corpse Gate to Hawk-World in Brightest Day.
What’s the Comics Code Authority? I’m glad you asked!
In the 50′s, comics were actually popular. Million-sellers were common, and kids who didn’t even wear glasses held together with masking tape were eating them up.
This may be because in the 50′s comics were the most gruesomely terrifying shit you could get your hands on.
Seriously, the 50′s horror/crime comics make slasher flicks look like grade-school performances of A Charlie Brown Christmas. To make a long story short: when people finally noticed how hilariously over-the-top disturbing comics could be, they went a bit crazy. Most of the credit for popularizing opposition to comics goes to Dr. Frederic Wertham, who wrote a book called “Seduction of the Innocent” that focused on the corrupting nature of modern culture on youth and how it could lead to violence and disenchantment. Comics -being more popular among children than anything save being beaten in the 50′s- figured heavily in that argument. He somewhat ridiculously blamed them for directly causing youth violence, sex, drug use, and general bad behavior.
Sufficiently stoked, the hysteria came to a head in the Senate Subcommittee Hearings on Juvenile Delinquincy in 1954. Seeing how badly the hearing was going, the comic industry decided that rather than be subjected to government regulation, they’d construct a self-regulatory body not unlike the ESRB rating system for games. Only this rating system simply had a single up-or-down vote. And it was insanely strict in the way that only 50′s popular culture could be: