This is how Stan Lee skipped the Comic Authority Code, changing the medium forever

Today I would have turned 100 nothing less than Stan Leelegend where there are in the world of comics and creator of characters such as Spider-Man, X-Men, Thor or Iron Man, who decades later are still very topical. Deceased in 2018, Lee’s life gave rise to many anecdotes and one of them is the one we are going to tell today, referring to how he was able to bypass the strict control of the CCA (Comic Code Authority), which regulated the content of comics in the United States.

What was the CEC?

This code was nothing more than a kind of seal of approval that stopped appearing in 2011, and that for 60 years it was the sign that the censors at the Comic Book and Magazine Association of America they gave the go-ahead for publication. Such was the point of importance of this seal that without it, nothing would be published.

There is no doubt that in an extremely conservative society such as the United States, and more so in the middle decades of the 20th century, it was not easy to obtain this CCA seal, especially in a young medium such as comics. To top, comics were often accused of propagating inappropriate values ​​for American youthwith teachers and the Catholic Church at the head of this intolerance.

The rules were clear: no sex, drugs, gore, gunshots, religion or excessive violence, as well as foul language or disrespect towards authority figures. The heroes were not even allowed to suffer defeat at the hands of the villains, as well as the presence of supernatural antagonists such as vampires, werewolves, zombies and others… In short, if you wanted to publish a comic in 20th century America, he had to be extremely neat.

This is how Lee stood up

Obviously, in the middle of all this was Stan Lee. He was always able to push the limit, without reaching it, to always achieve this CCA seal, finding new ways to tell stories that otherwise would not have reached the youth. So much so that the Department of Health, Education and Welfare contacted him to create a comic to raise awareness about the effects of the drugrecognizing the impact that comics and characters like Spider-Man had on young Americans.

Stan Lee

In this way, and from number 96 to 98 of The Amazing Spider-Man, Lee developed a subplot in which the wall-crawler saved the life of a man who, under the influence of drugs, was dancing on a roof and is about to to fall into the void All this while he was fighting the Green Goblin, and showing him in passing how pill abuse was affecting his son, Harry Osborn. As we can imagine, the CEC rejected the story, but Lee argued that it was hard to talk about the effects of the drugs without mentioning them..

Nonetheless, Lee was not intimidated and decided to release the comic without the CCA imprint., having the expected success when something goes on the market without the approval of the censoring bodies. After the release of that comic, the CEC reviewed the requirements for granting its seal and was more lax in relation to drug use, as long as it was exposed in a negative way.

This is how Stan Lee skipped the Comic Authority Code, changing the medium forever