Comic Books #16: More Pre-Code Nastiness

If you listen to radio talk show hosts, you might think that the popular culture has gone to the dogs - images of sex and violence have never been so prevalent. Our 21st century culture is one of filth compared to the clean and pure days of our forefathers. Well, I've got one thing to say to that - WRONG!

If you've learned anything from Retrospace, it's that the we don't have a monopoly on sex and violence today. In fact, these subjects were much more mainstream in the 1970's.  Also, men's magazines and pre-code comics could often be more graphic than anything you're likely to see today. Comics prior to the 1954 Comics Code were straight up harsh - there's no other word for it.

In this installment of Pre-Code Nastiness, I'd like to place comic panels alongside the corresponding Comics Code Authority guidelines that they violate. Enjoy!

Note: This stuff is probably safe for work; however, your co-workers will think you are a psychopath.

"Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gunplay, physical agony, gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated."    





"Clothed figures shall never be presented in such a way as to be offensive or contrary to good taste or morals."


"Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly, nor so as to injure the sensibilities of the reader."

"Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities."

"All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated."




"Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable."

 This one's from 1956 - actually after the code was established, but subverted the censorship by being in a "magazine" not a comic (sneaky, eh? where there's a will, there's a way - this practice would continue into the 1970's via comic "magazines" like EERIE and CREEPY)

The End

Note: Several images from The Horrors of It All, an incredible blog devoted to bringing you horror comics from ages past. Highly recommended.


  1. Nice post, and a great idea to use violating panels next to the actual pre-code guidelines.

    Looks like a few of these panels came from my blog as well, if any of your readers are interested in discovering more about pre-code horror or crime comics I have well over 1000 complete stories posted at The Horrors of it All:


    Adding you to my own links list!

  2. Yes, I'm sure some of these probably come from you. I've downloaded so many from so many places, it's hard to give credit even when I'd like to.

    I stuck a shout out to you at the end of the post. Not that your blog needs it - man, your place is a freaking goldmine!

  3. Wow! Those comics are out of hand!