6. THE GOVERNMENT ASKS STAN LEE TO PUBLISH AN ANTI-DRUG STORY
Though President Nixon wouldn’t use the term “War on Drugs” until a year later, in 1970 the Department of Health, Education and Welfare went to Stan Lee and asked, “Could you publish an anti-drug story in one of your best selling comics?” to which Stan said, yes. The chosen title was “The Amazing Spider-Man” and the character to whom a drug addiction was given was Harry Osborn.
You might have heard of this thing before called “The Comics Code Authority” which essentially was a stamp of approval for comics that verified they contained nothing unsavory or offensive. The rules of ‘the code’ however barred the use of drugs on the page, but Stan didn’t care and they published the story anyway.
This might not seem that weird to you, but think about it in the context of the modern day. Can you imagine the government going to Axel Alonso or Dan DiDio and saying, “Hey, we want to get the message out there that drugs aren’t cool. Think you can put it in one of your best selling comics?” and their publishing company saying, “Absolutely!” then putting it in the best selling title? It seems totally ludicrous now, but the even weirder part of the whole story is that in the final issue of the story arc, Spider-Man defeats the returned Green Goblin by showing him his son’s body while he’s in the middle of over dosing on drugs.