Stacker recently posted their list of milestone moments in American censorship history. The list contains forty entries and spans several hundred years from 1722–2020. The size of the list serves as a reminder that the fight for Free Speech is a long one.
It came as no surprise that several events from comics history made the cut as milestones in censorship history. The creation of the Comics Magazine Association of America and the Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval appear, as well as the Comics Code defiant Amazing Spider-Man. The three-issue arc from 1971 resulted in the eventual loosening of restrictions from the Comics Code Authority.
Did you know CBLDF has owned the rights to the Comics Code Seal of Approval since the CMAA dissolved in 2011?
For those of you interested in an in-depth look at some of these events, click on the links below for some of our coverage from the past. You’ll also find a six-part History of Censorship in Comics series that serves as the perfect primer.
Obscenity Charges over James Joyce’s Ulysses
Creation of the Comics Magazine Association of America
- Comics Code History: The Seal of Approval by Dr. Amy Kiste Nyberg
- History of Comics Censorship, Part 1
Lenny Bruce is Arrested in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York on Obscenity Charges
- CBLDF General Counsel Robert Corn-Revere Discusses the High Value of Low Speech by Betsy Gomez
- The Resurgence of Lenny Bruce & People vs. Bruce
Did you know CBLDF General Counsel Robert Corn-Revere was one of the Free Speech advocates who convinced the Governor of New York to issue the first posthumous pardon for Lenny Bruce?
Spider-Man Defies the Comics Code
- Tales from the Code: Spidey Fights Drugs and the Comics Code Authority by Joe Sergi
- Amazing Spider-Man Anti-Drug Story Hastened Demise of Comics Code by Maren Williams
History of Comics Censorship
- History of Comics Censorship, Part 1: From comic book burnings to the arrival of the Comics Code.
- History of Comics Censorship, Part 2: From Mad Magazine and the birth of Marvel Comics through the Underground Comix era, the Zap #4 obscenity trial, the revision of the Comics Code and the arrival of the obscenity test.
- History of Comics Censorship, Part 3: From the birth of the comics specialty market to the establishment of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
- History of Comics Censorship, Part 4: Legal attacks on artists, including Paul Mavrides, Mike Diana, and the creators of DC Comics’ Jonah Hex: Rider of the Worm & Such.
- History of Comics Censorship, Part 5: Legal attacks on retailers and publishers, including Planet Comics’ obscenity bust for horror comics; Texas’ prosecution of Jesus Castillo for manga; Top Shelf’s dispute with U.S. Customs, and Georgia’s battle with a retailer over a depiction of Picasso.
- History of Comics Censorship, Part 6: Library bans and prosecutions of readers over manga.