The History of Censorship in America

Kids dumping boxes of comics into a fire.
Binghamton, New York, 1949

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

Lenny Bruce is Arrested in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York on Obscenity Charges

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

History of Comics Censorship