Is that what I think it is?

rifleman woodyQuite a large collecting community exists for comic books that contain hidden or camouflaged messages and innuendo. Usually sexual in nature (but not always), these issues almost always sell for well above the price guide value.

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.

Historically speaking one could argue that the Comics Code gave the superhero genre a new lease on life and that it helped launch the whole underground comic book scene, but we’ll save all that for other articles.

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.

The tip for this week is to explore this very cool collecting focus. The super duper tip this week is to go out and find yet undiscovered comics that will fit into this category and introduce your discovery to the world. I guarantee you there are still great discoveries awaiting the intrepid explorer.

xmen 118 panelExamples of comics that fall into this collecting focus include X-Men #118 where the word SEX is hidden somewhere on almost every page (an example is shown on the left) and Rifleman #10 where the log placement is questionable (top picture). Almost all the comic books that reached the newsstands in the last half of the 20th century were published by Marvel, DC, Dell, Harvey, MLJ, ACG and a few others so the more mainstream the title and the character the better the discovery.

Comic Book Daily has compiled a nice stash of comic books that fit into this collecting focus. Some may already be well known in the collecting community (like the 2 mentioned above) but we think we’ve found some new gems and we just can’t wait to share them with the world. Comic Book Daily is starting a new weekly feature dedicated to the discovery and promotion of these great comic books. Our feature, still untitled, should be up within the week.

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada