Over on the various DC blogs, Jim Lee and Dan DiDio have announced that DC is pulling out of the Comics Code in favor of a multi-layer ratings system:
As of January 2011, DC Comics titles will no longer carry the Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval. In 2011, DC Comics will employ a rating system consistent with that of the rest of the industry, as well as with our digital releases, which already utilize a rating system. As for our Vertigo comic books, they will not utilize the rating system, because they will continue to be labeled as “For Mature Readers”.
Beginning with our April 2011 titles, all DC comic book covers will utilize the following rating system:
E – EVERYONE
Appropriate for readers of all ages. May contain cartoon violence and/or some comic mischief.
T – TEEN
Appropriate for readers age 12 and older. May contain mild violence, language and/or suggestive themes.
T+ – TEEN PLUS
Appropriate for readers age 16 and older. May contain moderate violence, mild profanity, graphic imagery and/or suggestive themes.
M – MATURE
Appropriate for readers age 18 and older. May contain intense violence, extensive profanity, nudity, sexual themes and other content suitable only for older readers.
The Comics Code Seal is now found only on the covers of
Bongo and Archie covers. It’s the last lingering effect of the Wertham/Keufauver era in the 50s when comics were blamed for all the nations ills and a ratings system was seen as the only way to save children from the menace of sex and drugs. Once it was still a powerful force for censorship — DC famously removed the seal from its anti-drug Green Lantern/Green Arrow issues because of the Code’s draconian no drug use rules — and the annual code meetings — where publishers would gather to raise eyebrows at one another — have spawned a lore all their own.
Marvel left the Code a few years ago, and DC’s leaving hastens the perception that the Code had joined the pile of quaint comics conventions, along with color charts and sea monkey ads.
From a more practical point of view, this seems means that DC can now more accurately label comics that contain material that appeals to varying age groups. Giant boobs alone would be T for Teen, say, while dead cat swinging and erectile difficulties would probably be Teen+. Or something like that. Anyway, all the peeing and threesomes and disembowelings and other risky story elements DC has been using of late can be properly labeled now.