When a comic book retailer saw the Comics Code Seal of Approval on the eye-gouging cover of Wolverine #165, he couldn't believe that this issue in which Wolvie's left eye is gouged out and eaten by a cannibalistic sadist was actually approved by the Comics Magazine Association of America (the CMAA), the industry association that administers the Comics Code.  The retailer contacted the CMAA and discovered that the organization had not seen or approved Wolverine #165.  The CMAA then contacted Marvel and the publisher admitted that putting the Code Seal of Approval on Wolverine #165 was 'a mistake' on the company's part.  ICv2 has learned that Marvel has not been submitting books to the CMAA recently and other current issues that carry the code (e.g., Tangled Web #3) are also 'mistakes.' Although understandably upset about this misuse of the Code Seal, CMAA spokesperson Holly Hunter-Koenig is willing to give Marvel 'the benefit of the doubt,' and the organization plans no legal action against the publisher.


Marvel's controversial decision to dump the Comics Code (see 'Marvel Dumps the Comics Code') and create its own in-house rating system was followed by a transition period in which Marvel started sending some of its books to the CMAA once again (see 'Marvel Still Submitting Books to the Code') as the publisher decided how to implement its own system.  Although Marvel did submit at least one batch of books after pulling out of the CMAA, the publisher failed to send the Code authorities subsequent titles including Wolverine #165 and Tangled Web #3.  The CMAA has just received a new shipment of books from Marvel, which does make it look like Marvel's failure to submit earlier titles may have been a bureaucratic snafu.  However, if Marvel wishes to have this latest batch of books approved they will have to pay the non-member's fee of $500 per book since the publisher has not paid its CMAA dues for April, May, and June.


Meanwhile Marvel's new rating system was unveiled in the July Previews.  The 'All Ages' books will carry no label and will reportedly include Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, and Ultimate X-Men.  The second rating 'Marvel PG' is also appropriate for all ages, but Marvel recommends that parents read them with younger children.  Thor, FF, New X-Men, Uncanny X-men, and Amazing Spider-Man are all in this category.  Marvel PG+ is similar to its PG rating but with 'a little more violence or some strong language,' so these books, which reportedly include Elektra, Punisher, Marvel Knights: Double Shot and Banner, are 'recommended for our teen and adult readers.' The final rating is Parental Advisory: Explicit Content which is reserved for Marvel's new mature readers 'MAX' line, which debuted in the July Previews.  'To avoid confusion, the MAX titles will be designed and marketed in a different manner than our mainline Marvel titles.'  The three MAX titles offered in the July catalog, Alias, Fury #1, and U.S. War Machine all included the Parental Advisory in their solicitation copy, but none of the regular Marvel titles listed in the July catalog carried ratings. All Marvel titles will include their ratings in the solicitation copy in Previews starting with the August issue of the catalog, which should be out at the end of this month.


ICv2 contacted Marvel for comment, but had not received any when this story was published.