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Friday, April 25, 2014

Defend Comics

This year Free Comic Book Day lands on Saturday, May 3, 2014. The book that looks most interesting to me this year is Defend Comics, by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Created in 1986, the CBLDF is non-profit organization dedicated to protect the First Amendment rights pertaining to comics and graphic novels.

Sample pages from Defend Comics illustrate topics surrounding the freedom of speech, including the history of the Comics Code.

As an aside, the original version of the Comics Code from 1954 banned many themes associated with horror and fantasy literature. Note the following item under General standards—Part B:

Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.

The revised Comics Code from 1971 loosened those initial restrictions:

Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, or torture, shall not be used. Vampires, ghouls and werewolves shall be permitted to be used when handled in the classic tradition such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and other high calibre literary works written by Edgar Allen Poe, Saki, Conan Doyle and other respected authors whose works are read in schools around the world.

This revision allowed for a hero billed as The Son of Satan, the transformation of the original Cat into Tigra the Were-Woman, and a storytelling genre that would become the bedrock of the Defenders.

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