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William Morton Bowlus Comic Collection

A research guide on the William Morton Bowlus Comic Collection

Land Acknowledgement Statement

As a land, sea, and space-grant institution, Louisiana State University and A&M College (LSU) has a responsibility to acknowledge, honor, and affirm Indigenous culture, history, and experiences. LSU is a community of higher learning built upon the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous peoples. LSU recognizes the communities native to this region including the Caddo Adai Indians of Louisiana, Biloxi Chitimacha Confederation, Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, Choctaw Nation, Coushatta Tribe, Four Winds Cherokee Tribe, Muscogee (Creek), Point au Chien Tribe, Tunica Biloxi Tribe, United Houma Nation, and others whose memories may have been erased by violence, displacement, migration, and settlement. As a University, we thank them for their strength and resilience as stewards of this land and are committed to creating and maintaining a living and learning environment that embraces individual difference, including the Indigenous peoples of our region.

The Comic Code Authority

The Comics Code Authority (CCA) was created in 1954 by the Comics Magazine Association of America. The CCA was created as a way to censor what they deemed as inappropriate content, such as themes of horror, nudity, violence, and content that may inspire sympathy for villains. This censorship was in effort and designed to protect young readers. Comic brands strictly followed the CCA guidelines until the 1970s when Marvel began publishing comics without the stamp of approval when issues of The Amazing Spider-Man were flagged for warning children about the dangers of drug abuse. Other brands began following suit until the CCA stamp was phased out entirely in 2011. 

The Silver and Bronze Age

Silver Age (1956-1969)

As the popularity of comic books began to diminish, comic brands like DC Comics and Marvel Comics Group began publishing materials to grab the interest of new and old readers. DC began re-imagining classic heroes such as, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Batman, while Marvel created new characters such as, J'onn J'onnz, Daredevil, and Spider-Man. The rise of superhero teams like the Fantastic Four and the Justice League were highlights of the silver age, as the comic series drew popularity back to comics. 

Bronze Age (1970-1985)

While many of the same series and characters from the Silver Age were carried into the Bronze Age, the Bronze Age is characterized by brands exploring darker themes within their series. In 1971, Marvel published a story arc in the Amazing Spider-Man referencing drug abuse. The CCA  flagged the issues stating the content was against the Comic Codes. Marvel then proceeded to publish comics and magazines without the CCA's stamp of approval, leading to the first issues of Ghost Rider, Son of Satan, and Man-Thing. The Bronze Age also saw the rise of independent publish brands, such as Eclipse Comics and Dark Horse, enter the comics scenes. 

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