by Christian Nicholson
DC says it will discontinue use of the comics code stamp and will employ a rating system similar to their other media.
I'm not sure what to say about this other than "Hurrah!" and "What took you so damn long?" I think the comics code was pretty much the most damaging thing done to the sequential art medium, and it was put into place in the freakishly socially conservative 50's (yes that means its about 55 years old). Publishers got together to censor themselves and basically put super selling EC out of business.
The code was put into place to protect the industry from politicians who used comics to advance their peculiar ideological bent. One of the problems the code created was the reinforcement of the notion that comics are only for kids, and that the ndustry needed to protect the little snowflakes from the lure of sequential art. Because of the Code, pretty much the only stories you could tell in comics had to be palatable to kids. Keep in mind, this happened before the Babyboomers and their fasincation with their own youth. Kids Stuff was kids stuff.
I still don't love ratings systems. All they really do is make twitchy parents who don't have the intellectual ability to make decisions feel a little less twitchy and insecure about the bigbad world. Rating systems are a shortcut for thinking. But it seems a lot better than the CCA. Create your work and let them slap the rating on it and let the audience find it. Rating systems affect different media differently, anyway. I can't really say their use in comics has had an effect at all except to deflect potential political ire.
Nowadays many publishers are getting into the sequential art game to find a home for their processed trees, so we have an explosion of stories not just for kids anymore.
The problem remains that the culture by and large looks at comic books as kids stuff, rather than a viable medium for telling any kind of story.
How do we fix it? Talking about it, blogging about it, selling excellent books, and educating folks to be comics literate.
Check out the wiki for more info on the CCA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comics_Code_Authority