Next month, Archie Comics will no longer carry the Comics Code Authority seal of approval.
"We're officially dropping it with books on sale in February," Archie Comics President Mike Pellerito told Newsarama Friday afternoon.
The Archie news comes after DC Comics announced yesterday that it would be replacing the Comics Code approval with its own rating system.
The Comics Code Authority was established in 1954 in response to a public outcry over violence in comics, including Congressional hearings about the bad influence the industry had on American kids. After the creation of the CCA "seal," major outlets wouldn't carry a comic unless it had the Code on the front.
The seal became the standard in the comics publishing industry for decades. But that changed in 2001, when Marvel Comics stopped using the CCA and implemented its own ratings system in response to one of its comics being denied approval.
But Pellerito said Archie's decision has nothing to do with content, and there will be no editorial change when the code leaves the front of the Archie books.
"The code never affected us editorially the way I think it did other companies," he said. "You know, we aren't about to start stuffing bodies into refrigerators or anything. We have to answer to Archie fans."
Currently, everything Archie Comics publishes is "all ages." And Pellerito said that, if Archie comic ever skews to an older audience, the publisher will let the readers know.
"If we ever do anything that we feel might be too far out, we'd put some type of rating on it," he said. "For instance we're relaunching Sam Hill, and it's a little more action adventure. That might be a 'teen' book, if we put a rating on it. But by and large, our stuff is built for everyone to read.
"Our goal is to make every Archie comic a must-read comic for kids, and a guilty pleasure for adults," he said.
Pellerito told Newsarama the decision to drop the Code from all Archie comics was actually made a while ago, and the organization hasn't submitted comics for approval for "a year or more." However, they did not plan to announce the change until DC went public with its decision, which prompted an inquiry from Newsarama.
"For us, to put out a press release, we like to focus on things that are important or forward-thinking," he said. "We are working toward changing the industry with things like our Life With Archie magazine, which has two comic books, plus another feature and editorial features, all for $3.99. We want to look at how we make comics available to everybody. We announce things like going day-and-date digital. We're making sure we're on the newsstand with our digests. We are trying to look forward to where comics need to be in the future."