Did the Comics Code Have a Problem With Swamp Thing Not Wearing Pants?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and eightieth 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 Part 1 of this week’s legends.

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The Comics Code complained about Swamp Thing being technically naked.

True

Working with the Comics Code Authority could often drive comic book creators crazy and when Len Wein was asked about his worst experiences with Taylor Ramsey at Bleeding Cool back in 2013, he noted that when Alec Holland was caught in the chemical explosion that turned him into Swamp Thing, Wein had initially noted that he was covered in flames. The Comics Code objected and so Wein kept the same scene, but simply changed “flame” to “fumes” and the Code was somehow okay with that….

However, the even more interesting one to me is what happened to Wein while he was working on the sixth issue of the series…

Six issues into Swamp Thing, the Comics Code calls up in a panic. They are going ‘you are gonna have to change the book!’ I asked why? ‘Well we just looked at the book and we suddenly realized he’s naked!’ And we went, ‘Yeah, so?’ [They responded] ‘He can’t be naked!’ [Again] ‘Why?’ They said, ‘Well the obvious reasons.’ We told them to go back and look at the first six issues, and find us a panel where that is a problem. The way we were doing it, he was always in shadow from ‘mid-here to mid-there’. The Joe Orlando got involved, he came to the offices with every issue to date and every page and asked them to show him where this was a problem. They said to just make sure that they keep him in shadow, [to which Joe replied], ‘We’ve been doing that!’

And sure enough, they always made a point to show his crotch in shadow…

Funny stuff.

Thanks to the late, great Len Wein and thanks to Taylor Ramsey for the information!

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In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, see whether the Comics Code really had a problem with Swamp Thing's lack of pants

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