The Comics Code was introduced in 1955 and marked a sea change for the comic book industry. In an attempt to stave off concerns that comics were warping the young minds who were reading them (to say nothing of the minds of the many adults who would occasionally peruse one) the industry created the Comics Code and subjected itself to self-censorship. This process had a detrimental effect on the entire field, and something like 2/3 of publishers closed their doors in this period. Additionally, the Code was so restrictive that it made it very difficult to do any material that would appeal to anyone more sophisticated than the youngest readers. It must be said that the Code did curb the worst excesses of the field, but it did so by often throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Here, we’re going to take a look at just what the Comics Code felt was offensive, and just how they acted to bring it in line with the new rules.
All three of the stories in PLASTIC MAN #63 (the second to last issue of the title) were reprints of earlier tales. The cover feature, Reflecto, the Astounding Mirror Man, originally saw print in PLASTIC MAN #31. It was popular enough with the editors that it was reprinted again in PLASTIC MAN #46–in that instance, before the Code. But for this second reprinting in PLAS #63, a few changes had to be made. This story isn’t by Plas’ creator Jack Cole, but was instead illustrated by Andre LeBlanc and Alex Kotzky.
The first change between these two stories is that PLASTIC MAN #63 omits the second page. This doesn’t appear to be Code-mandated, but rather due to a need to fit it into 7 pages.
No real changes here.
Ouch! In the original story, Reflecto goes to town on Plastic Man, cutting him up into ribbons. But in the Code version, Plas’s wounds are omitted, and he’s either redrawn or eliminated from the panels in which he was shredded. Woozy also isn’t allowed to refer to Reflecto as “lousy”.
Once again here, Plastic Man is omitted from the first panel, in a very unconvincing manner. They did allow Plas to keep his scratches and scrapes in panel 3, though, surprisingly.
No real changes here.
No real changes here. Although Plas is easier to identify as the mirror with the rim colored red.
And here, Reflecto’s ultimate fate is changed–in the reprint the police are waiting below the building with a net, wile in the original, he falls 16 stories and shatters if we’re to believe Woozy’s final balloon. That joke doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in the reprint, though.