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By Douglas Wolk
June 27, 2011

The artists associated with Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly’s art-comics magazine RAW got a toe-hold in the fine art world, which had previously always treated comics as kitschy raw material at best. The legendary cartoonist Will Eisner popularized the term “graphic novel” with books like A Contract with God. And soon, independent comic companies bypassed newsstands altogether, selling their serials directly to stores that specialized in comic books.

By the end of the ’80s, the Comics Code was pretty much vestigial. Its seal of quality had effectively become a seal of mediocrity. Gradually, one publisher after another abandoned it. This past January, when DC Comics and Archie Comics both gave it up, the Code officially died.

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Bob Andelman is the author or co-author of 12 books, including ‘The Consulate’ with Thomas R. Stutler, ‘The Profiler’ with Pat Brown, ‘Built From Scratch’ with the founders of The Home Depot, ‘The Profit Zone’ with Adrian Slywotzky, ‘Mean Business’ with Albert J. Dunlap, and ‘Will Eisner: A Spirited Life.’
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