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.
Archie Comics #78, MLJ Publications Jan/Feb 1956
Archie is about as American wholesome as mom, baseball and apple pie.
This cover is a little too suggestive for the time period.
So Archie likes how quick Bettie learning to drive and decides to move to the hardest part, shifting the gears. Archie innocently tells her it’s time to “get the feel of the clutch”. Our young Bettie’s heart starts pounding with love and he replies “that’s even more fun than learning to drive”. Archie quickly bails. He didn’t want to get caught short is my best guess why.
Though ‘feel of the clutch‘ is meant to suggest hugging and perhaps even light petting it is not how most young males of the time period would have interpreted it. This is so obviously a penis as stick shift innuendo that is surprising the sensors let it through.