The Sophisticated Moves Into Mature Territory in ’86, Letters From Kahn

A couple weeks ago, Stan Chu (a fellow collector from Toronto, Canada) contacted me to share some amazing letters that he’d found at his local comic shop. The first letter, intended for DC Comics freelancers, was written by-then President of DC-Jenette Kahn in1986. Amongst other things, her letter discusses the transition from the “Sophisticated Suspense” label on the Swamp Thing series to the introduction of the “For Mature Readers” label. Check it out below, and thanks again Stan!

DC Comics – Letter to Freelancers

Page 1 of Letter to Freelancers by Jenette Kahn – DC President and Publisher

Below, Kahn mentions Swamp Thing! After all, the wild success and craftsmanship put into the Swamp Thing series helped DC to distance themselves from the Comic Code. “Almost anything in a comic book is acceptable if appropriate to the characters, the storyline and the way the story is told.”

Page 2 of Letter to Freelancers by Jenette Kahn – DC President and Publisher
Page 3 of Letter to Freelancers by Jenette Kahn – DC President and Publisher

It’s so fun to read that letter from THE Jenette Kahn! I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Kahn and Karen Berger. I would not be the Swamp Thing and comic fan I am today if not for them.

Stan also provided images of DC Marketing Director, Bruce Bristow’s letter to retailers. Bristow’s letter was distributed along with Kahn’s, and reiterates much of what she already expressed. Bristow also mentions Swamp Thing!

In other news, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was mentioned on Comic Book Resources back in 2020. Better to notice late than not at all, I suppose. Here is a link to the article that discusses Swamp Thing and Hawkman. Link to article. Thank you Brian Cronin for including my site in your article. Brian and I contributed essays for “From Bayou to Abyss: Examining John Constantine, Hellblazer” which was released in 2020.

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