In the mid 1950s the U.S. Senate forced comic book publishers to adhere to the guidelines of a Comic Code Authority. The ‘Code’ was brought in to protect America’s youth from what was then deemed disturbingly graphic and blatantly sexual content in comic books.
Post ‘Code’ comic books were produced with quite severe content restrictions. No longer did artists and writers have license to create anything they wished. Artists being artists and writers being writers these talented people soon began looking for creative ways to express themselves beyond the constraints of the ‘Code’. Suggestive art and wordplay was now being covertly added into comics.
Our Sleepy Censors articles will expose many comics that deserve a closer look. Some will be so obvious you’ll think “how’d they let that through” while others will be tamer. We hope all the posts will be entertaining and we encourage your feedback and suggestions of comics you think caught the censors sleeping.
Ka Zar #1, Marvel Publications August 1970
Ka Zar of the Savage Land was sort of a cross between Tarzan and Conan. He was fighting savage beasts with his trusty Sabretooth cat Zabu in almost every issue that came out.
On this cover:
As with a lot of the covers to Ka-Zar, the premiere issue had our hero in a lush tropical, jungle setting. So what is so crazy about this? Well on this particular cover, the artists decided to try and sneak some profanity by the censors. Well, they did a pretty good job because the comic was printed with the word “fuck” hidden in the grass. The “F-Bomb” was hidden so well that we can’t really blame the editors on this one. They did a pretty good job of disguising it. We can see the word just above Zabu’s hind quarters. It’s blended in with both the cat’s fur and with grass behind it.