Your Comics Code at Work: TRUE BRIDES’ EXPERIENCES #15, Part Two

Today, we’re going to take a look at another story from Harvey Comics’ TRUE BRIDES’ EXPERIENCES #15. Like the earlier one we went over, which you can find at the link below, this one also first saw the light of day several years earlier, in the pages of FIRST ROMANCE MAGAZINE #18. And like the other story, it too was butchered a bit in order to conform to the dictums of the then-new Comics Code. The sharp decrease in cases of juvenile delinquency from 1952 to 1955 can clearly be traced back to efforts such as this one.

The writer of this story is lost to time, but the artwork on it was done by Lee Elias. And as you can see, it was either called “Tomorrow’s Love” or “Tomorrow’s Passion” depending on where and when you read it. The post-Code printing not only changes the title, it wipes out the entirety of the opening caption as being just a touch too spicy. Similarly, Mark’s comment about their nights together has become their love together. And the two ladies have received a white-out makeover from the waist down, eliminating any shading that might delineate their forms beneath those skirts. In the second panel, narration concerning Gwen’s longing for Mark and her desire to feel his touch have been stricken from the record, leaving awkward gaps in the lettering in their place.

Here on PAGE 2, Gwen’s lower extremities likewise get a white-out makeover in Panels 2 and 4, her comment about being drawn to Mark like a moth to a flame for some reason being frowned upon by the Code and eliminated.

Now here we go! As things begin to get hot and heavy, the erasers fly! Gwen no longer presses her lips to his with the feverish fury of a new passion. Neither is she shameless about it. But that’s because her rapture is no longer blinding, it seems. In Panel 2, the two lovers’ bodies are obscured further from the waist down with some shading–the opposite of how details would often be whited out in the revised versions. Gwen’s dress has a bit of modesty added to the bust line in Panel 4. Some minor details are removed from Gwen’s skirt in Panel 5 to no particular effect. And in the end, she loses her passionate love, throbbing heat and violent fervor in the final frame of this page.

A big change here at the end of PAGE 4–the entire last panel is redrawn (though apparently not recolored, so it prints in black and white) even while the copy remains the same. But going back to the beginning, Vivian is given a new obscuring black top in Panel 1, while Gwen loses any detailing on her skirt. Gwen’s but is remarkably rounded off in Panel 2, a detail that it’s amazing that anybody saw to. In Panel 3, Gwen’s whole balloon about love not thriving in the dark has been removed for no good reason, and once again her skirt and top have been completely smoothed out. Panel 5’s revelation that Mark and Gwen kept seeing each other after work was right out, and her backside felt the swish of freshly applied white-out. And in Panel 6, Gwen’s bathing suit is enlarged and the frill is taken off of it–whereas the entire embrace has been eliminated in Panel 7.

And here we go, the climax–which has been changed completely! Panel 1 establishes that Mark and Gwen have been sneaking around at night together unbeknownst to Vivian, but their stolen kisses have been stricken from the record. Vivian’s dress has been entirely covered up with black throughout the page, providing her with more cover at the same time. Panel 4 begins to make content changes, with Gwen’s feeling that Mark is weak and spineless being replaced by copy indicating that his ambition is simply stronger than their love–letting Mark off the hook entirely for his shitty behavior. Panel 5 follows through on this thought, indicating that Mark’s real love is Vivian and his career, rather than Gwen musing that he will one day learn the value of real love. The man here is always in the right, it seems. And then finally, Gwen clinches the deal in the final panel, where her consuming passion is erased, and the fact that she’s only a lowly elevator operator and not a woman like Vivian who can further Mark’s career is blamed for Gwen’s inability to keep him. It’s a sort of a nasty turn-around for this story–but that’s what it took to keep the children safe in 1955, I suppose.

2 thoughts on “Your Comics Code at Work: TRUE BRIDES’ EXPERIENCES #15, Part Two

  1. It looks like the edits only affected the black plate. All the other colors are the same with the exception of the black and white panel. Butt cheeks seemed to be very offensive in the 1950’s.

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  2. This is brilliant – improving the story by replacing “I’ve got to have faith in tomorrow” with “It’s entirely my fault for being an elevator operator who doesn’t know her place!” Much more acceptable and inspiring!

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