Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Needful Things: Comics Code Authority Cufflinks

Here’s a find for the well-dressed comic book lover: Comics Code Authority cufflinks.

Custom-made cufflinks from Etsy seller Jon Turner.

Jon Turner, a craftsman in Manchester, England, makes clever custom cufflinks from glass cabochons and vintage Comics Code Authority logos. These babies just might make it worth getting some shirts with French cuffs. I’ll happily trade in a ball gown for a tux—at least until these are available as a statement necklace.

Any true comics fan is familiar with the code, introduced by the Comics Magazine Association of America in 1954 as a response to public outrage over sexual innuendo and horror elements in comics. Comic book publishers voluntarily submitted their works to be screened, though to opt out meant doom for sales, as hardly anyone would stock material without the logo, and even fewer parents would let their kids have it.

Spider-Man comic with Comics Code authority logo in the upper-right corner. Marvel would abandon the code in 2001.

MAD magazine famously morphed itself from a comic book format to a magazine in order to avoid the issue completely. The code existed as recently as 2011, when the last two publishers to hold on to it, DC Comics and Archie Comics, let it go.

Now the Comics Code Authority is just a piece of history, and good riddance. The rules were so strict as to not even allow the word “crime”, “horror,” or “terror” in the title of a comic, which effectively killed titles like Vault of Horror and Crime SuspenStories

Horror comics were big sellers before the code disallowed the use of the word "horror."

For kicks, take a look at the complete list of Comics Code Authority regulations. The level of detail is insane. That anyone creative managed to work under these rules without losing their mind is surprising.

I’m glad the Comics Code Authority is a relic now, and I’d much rather see the logo on wrists than on comic books.



  1. Very interesting, Kelly. That there was a comics code does not surprise me, but I certainly had forgotten about it. Also not surprised that Archie Comics was one of the last to let it go, although I loved Archie Comics when my son was growing up. I read a ton of those to him before he could read.

    1. I read a lot of Archie comics too, and some of their other lines like Katie Keene, but ultimately preferred superhero comics.

    2. I read Katie Keene when I was a kid (which was a long time ago). I have never even met someone else who remembers those. Can't remember if I read Archies back then. Read lots of comics, but I don't think I got into superheroes until we started collecting them, to a certain extent, when my son was young. My husband went more for the independent comics (altho we all enjoyed them). My son and I were more for superheroes.

  2. Interesting stuff I never knew!

  3. Not sure who wears cuff links anymore. I used to use them for my tuxedo shirts when I did my juggling act. I like the comic code links, but I'd be unlikely to ever wear them.

    Tossing It Out

  4. Kelly, I'm sorry I missed this post. This is fascinating for I'm still very much into comic books and am familiar with the history behind the Comics Code arising out of the controversy of EC Comics.

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