Swift Headline
Latest News and Updates

Why Marvel Really Published Spider-Man’s Seminal Anti-Drug Comic

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, learn whether it was the U.S. Government who gave Stan Lee the idea for doing a Marvel comic about drugs.

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and seventeenth installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends. Click here for the first part of this installment’s legends.

NOTE: If my Twitter page hits 5,000 followers, I’ll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!


The U.S. Government gave Stan Lee the idea for doing an anti-drugs issue of a Marvel comic.



One of the fascinating things about Stan Lee was that he generally believed in the idea of having a certain standard for what kind of comic book story that Marvel should publish. What I mean to say is that the implementation of the Comics Code Authority really didn’t have a huge impact on Marvel (or DC) because both companies had already come to the conclusion on their own that it made sense for each to avoid those sorts of objectionable stories. And yet, even though Lee was already pretty much in agreement with the idea of what the Comics Code believed in, vis a vis what was appropriate, he still didn’t like the IDEA of the Comics Code.

For instance, Stan Lee did a series of editorials in response to Fredric Wertham’s anti-comics rhetoric of the late 1940s/early 1950s, and it is interesting how much of Lee’s commentary is “Okay, yeah, SOME comics are bad, but not us”…

In general, though, Lee seemed to have a general sense of not liking to be told what to do from someone who he felt didn’t understand how things worked. This was perhaps best shown in Lee’s famous 1953 story in the final issue of Suspense (#29). Written by Lee and drawn by Marvel’s superstar artist of the era, Joe Mannely, the story sees Lee write himself into the comic where he gets to essentially talk directly to Wertham, via a Wertham substitute character and Lee just TEARS INTO the Wertham substitute…

RELATED: Did DC Lose the Trademark to Superman’s “Truth, Justice and the American Way?”

So that was Lee’s position. He felt that there were “bad” comics out there, but he did not feel as though anyone should tell him what to do, because he could be trusted to do “good” comics. That said, once the Comics Code Authority was put into play, Lee mostly got along with it, as, again, it wasn’t like it put too much of a crimp on Marvel’s style.

In an excellent interview in TwoMorrows’ Comic Book Artist #2, Roy Thomas asked Lee about the Comics Code…

Roy: Did you feel strongly at that time that the Code needed to be changed?

Stan: As far as I can remember—and I’ve told this to so many people, it might even be true—I never thought that the Code was much of a problem. The only problem we ever had with the Code was over foolish things, like the time in a western when we had a puff of smoke coming out of a gun and they said it was too violent. So we had to make the puff of smoke smaller. Silly things. But as far as ideas for stories or characters that we came up with, I almost never had a problem, so they didn’t bother me. I think the biggest nuisance was that sometimes I had to go down and attend a meeting of the [CMAA] Board of Directors. I felt that I was killing an entire afternoon.

Roy: Do you think that there were any bad feelings on the part of the Code over the Spider-Man drug issues?

Stan: That was the only big issue that we had. I could understand them; they were like lawyers, people who take things literally and technically. The Code mentioned that you mustn’t mention drugs and, according to their rules, they were right. So I didn’t even get mad at them then. I said, “Screw it” and just took the Code seal off for those three issues. Then we went back to the Code again. I never thought about the Code when I was writing a story, because basically I never wanted to do anything that was to my mind too violent or too sexy. I was aware that young people were reading these books, and had there not been a Code, I don’t think that I would have done the stories any differently.

RELATED: What Thor Comic Book Literally Traveled to Outer Space?

So in 1971, Marvel made comic book history when Stan Lee wrote an issue of Amazing Spider-Man that was released without the Comics Code Authority approval stamp on it.

It was actually printed at the request of the Nixon Administration, who thought that an anti-drug issue would be a good way to get the anti-drug message across to the youth audience.

However, the Nixon administration asking for Lee to do an anti-drug story was merely Lee’s EXCUSE to do the issue. You see, Lee had been wanting to do an anti-drugs issue for years before the Nixon administration came to him.

In the penultimate issue of Ron Liberman’s Marvel fanzine, The Marvel Tribune, Liberman interviewed Lee…

and Lee explained a problem he had with the Code, “What bothers me is that I wanted to very desperately do a story about drugs. We can’t even mention drugs and I said to the Code, ‘Look, I’m not going to do a story saying the whole world should become drug-oriented, I just want to mention them, base a story on them.’ They wouldn’t allow it.”

So clearly, the inspiration for doing an anti-drug Marvel comic book predated the Nixon administrations involvement.


In the latest TV Legends Revealed – Did the Beatles really sue Sesame Street over the “Let It Be” parody, “Letter B”?


Check back soon for part 3 of this installment’s legends!

Feel free to send suggestions for future comic legends to me at either cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com

KEEP READING: Shang-Chi: What Kept James Bond & Sherlock Holmes Out of a Marvel Family Tree

Immortal Hulk villains feature

Marvel’s Hulk May Have Lost His Strongest Superpower – and Gained Another New One

About The Author

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Swiftheadline is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – admin@swiftheadline.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment