Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Code of Snart

This posting brought back memories of when Ralph Snart battled the Comics Code Authority. Ralph Snart received the Code in 1989 when NOW Comics went to newsstand distribution. Although I was excited about the extra sales, I was also dubious about how RSA was going to meet the guidelines. To test this, I did a 6-page Snart story, which parodied the CMAA itself and, of course, was rejected all together. The story was finally published in the Volume 4, Number 1 direct market issue of RSA.

Most of the violations by Ralph Snart Adventures were for "vulgar" language; words like crap, fart, turd, scumbag and variations of fricking, frigging and farging. BTW, you could say scum but not scumbag, which by definition isn't vulgar, so all of that made me crazy. Several of the first few issues submitted to the CMAA were rejected, but in all of these cases I edited the offending words in order to comply; fart and crap would be changed to crud for example.

After going through this rejection and compliance process, I figured out what words would and wouldn't make it. Because there was no set list of words I couldn't use, it was a process of trial and error. Obviously, though, I never used any of the "naughty seven". All I could go by was a loose interpretation of what was or wasn't "obscene or profane".

All of this kind of bothered me, but what really bugged me was what I saw as the hypocracy, or maybe more accurately, the moral imbalance of the Code. You could have all of this mindless, bloody mayhem, but if you had the character say fart, the book would be rejected.