And now, some Comics Code-approved nudity.

§ May 17th, 2023 § Filed under marvel § 17 Comments

So I was reading the Adventures on the Planet of the Apes series, the first few issues of which being a reasonably faithful adaptation of the classic 1968 movie, as presented by Doug Moench, George Tuska, Mike Esposito, and John Romita (who redrew Taylor’s face throughout the book).

And I was a little surprised by the number of pages devoted in the first issue to our lead characters just runnin’ around in the altogther:

That’s a few samples, provided entirely for educational purposes. I mean, yes, it’s fairly tame, naughty bits dutifully covered, but there were more butts than I expected. I honestly would’ve thought the Comics Code Authority (R.I.P.) would have compelled Marvel to draw little Speedos on everyone.

But then again…the source material, the movie, was G-rated despite the presence of brief nudity, so maybe the Code was all “eh.” Plus, it was the ’70s, we were likely less uptight about butts then, not like now with all those anti-butt laws on the books. Everyone was letting their freak butts fly, friends.

The material in this color series was reprinted from Marvel’s black and white Planet of the Apes magazines, which was not bound to any of the Code’s rules, but as far as I know not much, if anything, was changed in the translation to color. Not just talking about the nudity, but some of the more mature themes discussed (talk of gelding Taylor, Taylor speaking about making love) made it through.

Interestingly, Taylor being stripped naked during his trial didn’t make it into the comic. Also, the last lines of the film, the ones Taylor speaks after seeing, well, you know, are softened a bit. (I think it’s not until an issue of the 1980s Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Justice League that the particular epithet in question makes it into a Code-approved book).

So yes, this was a semi-deep dive into butts for no real good reason other than “oh, say, that’s a higher butt quotient than in most comics I read, save Nightwing” and thought it was worth noting. I like seeing what did and did not get by the Code in those days, when they didn’t like you using the word “zombie” or showing folks gettin’ stabbed in the eye.

17 Responses to “And now, some Comics Code-approved nudity.”

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    I’m sometimes surprised at the brief nudity that seemed acceptable in older movies aimed at kids, or at least families, in the 70s and into the early 80s. Clash of the Titans comes to mind, as well as Dragonslayer. Airplane is another.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    About PLANET OF THE APES being rated G:

    The MPAA ratings system began in 1968 (the same year APES was released), and it worked somewhat differently at first from the way it does now. The X rating was bestowed liberally, and the MPAA was downright profligate in giving away G ratings. At the time, G did not mean “children’s movie,” and X did not mean “porn.” Rather, they meant, respectively, “suitable for general audiences” and “suitable only for adults.”

    For awhile there, a G rating could be the equivalent of PG-13 today. The very first film to be rated by the MPAA was DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE. This was a typical Hammer horror, with plentiful blood letting, and deep cleavage from every actress–and it was given a G. Another Hammer horror, THE DEVIL’S BRIDE, also received a G, and that movie has an orgy scene! (The orgy is interrupted before anyone undresses, but still, you might expect an orgy to disqualify a film from a G on general principle.) Also rated G: TRUE GRIT, in which Dennis Hopper’s fingers are chopped off with a butcher knife, and John Wayne challenges Robert Duvall to a gun battle by shouting “Fill your hands, you son of a bitch!”

    Other films rated G: OLIVER! (the foremost female character is a prostitute, and she is strangled to death), the Nicol Williamson version of HAMLET (in which the hero repeatedly accuses his mother of incest), VALLEY OF THE GWANGI (in which a large percentage of the characters are eaten or crushed by dinosaurs, and then the dinosaurs are burned to death), ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER (in which Barbra Streisand discovers that she is the reincarnation of a 19th century courtesan), and any number of violent Westerns and war movies.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    About nudity in later “kid’s movies”:

    After a short while, the situation I described above changed, and G did come to mean “only for children.” The result of this was that, for everyone except Disney, a G was to avoided at all cost. If a film’s makers thought there was any risk they would receive the accursed rating, they would take care to include at least one scene that would prevent this. Thus it is that STAR WARS cuts away to a shot of a severed arm, DRAGONSLAYER shows a baby dragon biting off a victim’s hand, and CLASH OF THE TITANS throws in some nudity.

    AIRPLANE! was never intended as a children’s movie. Supposedly, the ZAZ team wrote an R-rated first draft (like their previous film, THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE), but then were persuaded to tone it down a bit.

  • Mikester says:

    Turan – fair enough, but I still think the “G” rating on this film is amusing from a modern perspective.

    Star Trek: The Motion Picture was originally givne a G rating, which probably would’ve been rethought in later years. (And it was, sort of, in that the director’s cut did get a PG.)

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    One last little bit of trivia: There were a total of four Hammer movies that received G ratings, the others being MOON ZERO TWO (a peculiar Western/science fiction hybrid) and WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH (a sort of sequel to ONE MILLION YEARS B.C.). The former was generally innocuous, but it did find an excuse for an extended sequence of Catherine Schell in her underwear. As for DINOSAURS, it did originally have some nudity, but that was all cut for the American release (it was restored for the Blu-ray); even so, it amounted to 90 minutes of a PLAYBOY Playmate prancing around in a very minimal fur bikini. One can safely assumed that both films would have been PG (or GP–anyone else remember that?) if released only a year or two later.

  • Oliver says:

    Meanwhile in Britain, the animated ‘Watership Down’ was rated U (our equivalent of a G) for decades despite all the various detailed scenes of dying rabbits. In 2022, the film was re-rated PG after 44 years.

  • Mikester says:

    Watership Down getting a G is a war crime.

  • ExistentialMan says:

    Thanks Mike. I really needed a semi-deep dive into butts today. Err…wait. That sounds soooo wrong.

  • Randal says:

    Is that the new “omnibus” that is 224 pages for $100? I wanted it….until I didn’t.

  • Andrew Davison says:

    BY looking closely at your butt samples, I noticed that they’re all side-butts as opposed to full-frontal butts with pressed rosy cheeks. Perhaps this pushed the butts into child territory, butt I’m just hypothesizing.

  • skyintheairwaves says:

    The weird thing is that my copy of Planet of the Apes magazine #1 has pants on the characters in those frames!? And just checking, so does the UK version of the magazine, published weekly…

  • Donald G says:

    Andrew, it is impossible for “rear ends” to be frontal.

    Back in the eighties, I remember one newspaper TV critic commenting on BBC programming’s “full-backtal nudity” – yes, that was indeed the phrase the critic used – being shown on PBS.

  • S says:

    “Also, the last lines of the film, the ones Taylor speaks after seeing, well, you know, are softened a bit. (I think it’s not until an issue of the 1980s Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Justice League that the particular epithet in question makes it into a Code-approved book).”

    Assuming you mean “Damn” here, it pops up in Gerry Conway’s JLA Annual 2 (the intro of the Detroit JLA). Green Arrow says it when the JLA disbands (it shocked my child self that a super-hero cursed!)

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Green Arrow says it”

    It would be him! he’s the REBELIOUS one!

    “Watership Down”

    Should be rated WBS for WHOLESALE BUNNY SLAUGHTER!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Snark Shark:

    My Dad took me to see Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards when I was a kid. I know it was the late ’70s, but I’m still surprised that film was rated PG and not rated R. Definitely not a film for or kids. I watched again a few years back and got more out of it…although Bakshi pretty blatantly rips off Vaughn Bode concepts. It was also Mark Hamill’s first professional (voice) acting gig, before Star Wars.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Mark Hamill’s first professional (voice) acting gig”

    I did not know that!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Snark Shark:

    To clarify, Hamill had done some TV acting work prior to this, but Wizards, followed by Star Wars, marked the start of Mark’s film career.