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Friday, December 9, 2011
My Take On: Alter Ego #105 - Tales From The Code!
Mood:  rushed
Topic: Comic Books - New


Alter Ego #105

Cover Feature: Tales From The Code!

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Photo this column: The Front Cover to Alter Ego #105 - with the Cover Feature, Tales From The Code!  Plus:  Cal Massey, Comic Books Artist!
Top Photo left column:  The Comics Code Authority Seal, used by the Comics Magazine Association of America!

TODAY'S FEATURE - Blog #3560:

I wanted to bring to your attention this recent issue of Alter Ego #105, as a special issue on an important topic that should be of interest to anyone that has a love of comics history, like I do!

First, here is what the publisher states the issue is about:

"ALTER EGO #105 (84 pages with color, $7.95) proudly presents "Tales from the Code!"  The coming of the Comics Code Authority in 1954-55 changed comics greatly—and we document that process with comic art and script "BEFORE" and "AFTER" the CCA got hold of them, with art by SIMON & KIRBY, DITKO, BUSCEMA, SINNOTT, GOULD, COLE, STERANKO, KRIGSTEIN, O'NEIL, GLANZMAN, ORLANDO, WILLIAMSON, HEATH, and many others!  Plus: FCA ("Fawcett Collectors of America") with MARC SWAYZE & ROY ALD, MICHAEL T. GILBERT exploring more comics history in Mr. Monster's Comic Crypt, BILL SCHELLY on early comics fandom, JIM AMASH's interview with Timely/Atlas artist CAL MASSEY, and more! Featuring a fabulous new Spider-Man cover by JOSH MEDORS! Edited by ROY THOMAS."

The Comics Code Authority Seal is a little younger than I am, so I remember that almost of the comics that I read as a child had this all important seal.  With the exception of the Dell Comics & Classics Illustrated, the seal was a large prominent fixture on the front cover of each comic book that I read.

Being a young kid at the time, and not knowing anything other than the current comics that were being sold in the late 1950s, or that were in the barbershop, I didn't see the non-Comics Code that all the anti-Comics Hysteria was against. There weren't any LCBS (local comic book shops) in the late 1950s or early 1960s in any of the areas that my Dad, a Navy man, was stationed at. The forerunner of LCBS, used bookstores, usually didn't have these pre-code comics, unless they were kept behind the counters or in special rooms.

As blogged about before, it wasn't until the late 1960s that I found several of those pre-Code comics at Lanning's Bookstore in Downtown San Diego, as written about in blog #3443.

Which was also the time of the 'Underground Comix' movement, which definitely did not have the CCA Seal of Approval!

So this cover feature definitely was one I had to read!  As the last comic publishers, DC & Archie, recently stopped using the Comics Code Authority for the approval process in early / mid 2011.

Roy Thomas, editor of the magazine, stated right off that this special issue had been in the works for several years, but it was the announcement that the CCA Seal was no longer being used that prompted him to publish this issue.

The vast majority of this issue was devoted to this cover feature.  And I'm glad it did.  In this one publication there is a lot of background history, along with illustrated examples of CCA censorship and mini-interviews by those in the comics industry that were there.

A fine cover feature article to chronicle the start and finally the end of the usage of the CCA Seal.

As for myself... I find that although some comics creators may have chafed under the CCA's authority, that it indeed was something that probably kept the comics industry going through that period of time from the mid 1950s.

Yes, a lot of comics creators left the industry at the implementation of the Code, due to a lot of comics publishers shutting down, but there had to be some self regulation of sorts to 'save' the comics industry at the time.   As if the publishers didn't do it... The Big Government surely would!

A well written extended article, with lots of illustrations and photos, and truly a magazine issue of the history of the CCA without too much prejudice being inserted into the article. This is a pretty even handed article about those on both sides of the issue of the industry's attempt at censorship by self regulation.

Definitely a good issue for comics historians to read, and for those of you that are younger and weren't there during this period. The CCA had started waning in influence in the 1970s, as black & white format comics magazines were being published, but was still in place for the color comics that were being published by the mainstream comics publishers. The use of interviews from those were there in the industry at the time was well placed.

Note: The second feature in this magazine was an interview with Cal Massey, who worked for Timely / Atlas.  I found the article to be of interest to me, but was overshadowed by the main cover feature article in this issue for those that pick up a comic book or magazine about comics from what is on the front cover.  Still a well written article about an African-American who broke into comics, and was in the industry for a period of years. Here is a list of his comic book credits, provided by the Grand Comics Database.

The additional regular features in this issue, Mr. Monster's Comic Crypt, and P.C. Hamerlinck's FCA #164 are not covered in this blog.

My comic book grade for this issue is a NEAR MINT (NM) 9.4 out of a possible 10.0 comic book grading scale.

I may have a copy of this issue in my ownline comic book shop, ComicBooksCircus.com, along with most of the 100+ issues of this magazine, (currently 70 different issues in backstock).

If not, you can also purchase it direct from the publisher, at TwoMorrows.com.

Note:  There won't be a 'weekend edition' of this blog, as I will be at 'my' book signing event at the Nuke The Fridge Con on Saturday!  If you are in the Los Angeles Metro Area.... Feel 'Free' to stop by, as the parking is 'Free', and the admission to the con is also 'Free'!   I'll be signing 'my' book, 'Gotham City 14 Miles', and also selling a couple thousand 'Dollar Comics' from my vast inventory of comics!

~Michael D Hamersky On Comics!


My thanks again to all of YOU reading this blog and our archived blog posts, now at 3,560 total posts in number!   I do appreciate your continued reading and support of this Blog!

BTW, You can 'follow' this blog by clicking the 'Follow' Button at this NetworkedBlogs app link!  We currently have over 2,639 'Followers'!  Thanks to ALL of YOU that have already clicked that button! 

And for those of YOU that haven't yet... I would appreciate it if YOU would!!!

~ Michael D Hamersky

Note:  My online 'Local' Comic Book Shop (LCBS), carries many different genres of comics, magazines, graphic novels, and comic con promotional items. Possibly even copies of the item(s) that was mentioned here today...!

If I have it... You can find it 'Under The Big Top Of Comics' at:  


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 Also, if you are a Facebook member, I would have liked you to send me a 'Friend Request'. However, I have reached the maximum limit of 5,000 Facebook Friends and Fan pages already, so I've added a New 'Facebook Fan Page' so that even more of YOU can 'Like' what I am doing, and be interactive with me and others there.  Here is the link to that 'Facebook Fan Page': Michael D Hamersky On Comics! Please click the 'Like' button on that page! 
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Posted by makeitsomarketing at 5:23 AM PST
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2011 6:33 AM PST
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