Wolf-Man Jimmy

By | Friday, August 11, 2023 Leave a Comment
Anthony Dean and I were chatting on Mastodon, and he expressed surprise that Deadman was allowed past the Comics Code Authority. I pointed out that the character's basically just a ghost and there was never anything in the Code about ghosts, despite many undead and horror creatures being called out by name. Personally, I might wager a guess that Harvey Comics had something to do with why ghost aren't included, since the Code was, in part, directed at hurting EC Comics specifically and they didn't often do ghost stories... unlike Harvey who had a relatively popular title called Casper the Friendly Ghost.

(For the record, I have zero evidence that Harvey had any influence on whether ghosts were/weren't mention in the Code. That's strictly a guess on my part.)

In any event, we kept discussing oddities of the Code and Dean was wondering about the Jimmy-Olsen-turning-into-a-werewolf story. Here's the relavent part of the Code from 1954...
Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.
That's pretty cut and dried. This ended up causing problems several years later when a writer with the name Marv Wolfman began writing comics, and the Code got revised in 1971. (Just to be clear, they didn't change the Code just because of him; the big impetus for the change was how drug use was handled.) But despite the pretty clear prohibition against werewolves, we've got Jimmy Olsen wolfing it up very prominently on the cover of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #44 circa April 1960...
Almost as curious, though, as how something so blatant could get past the CCA, but they expressly call him "The Wolf-Man" right there on the cover. The Wolf Man and his likeness are a registered trademark of Universal Pictures, yet here's DC blatantly playing off that name recognition. Granted, comics were still largely considered kiddy stuff beneath most people's notice at the time, but Universal has historically been very defensive of their intellectual property. That they didn't go after DC over this seems just as odd as the Code letting a werewolf show up on the cover of the comic to begin with.

I can't seem to find anyone referencing how/why this story managed to get published, and/or why there were seemingly no repercussions for violating the CCA and stepping on Universal's trademark. I'd be curious to hear if anyone is able to offer any explanations or insights!
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