Porn, Boobs, and Oft-Searched Terms: Comic Book Art and Pornography

Does every female hero need pumpkins on their chest?

Have you ever tried looking at porn on a crowded subway? Yeah, me neither. That would be weird. (In the case that you answered yes, I’m not judging. Ok, I am. But please keep reading.)

Nonetheless, there I was this weekend, sitting next to an elderly lady bearing a striking resemblance to Betty White, and I felt like I was staring at porn on a crowded subway. It could have had something to do with all the hot sexts on my phone, but even after a I put my phone in my pocket, I still felt like I was committing a dirty and sinful crime of lust. (Unnecessary full disclosure: I have never received a hot sext.)

What exactly was I doing?

I was reading Marvel’s Venom vs. Carnage. A Spider-Man symbiote spinoff. With nothing overtly sexual about it. And I felt the need to keep it as far from Betty White’s eyes as possible.

Does that seem right to you?

The Sexual Spark

For those unfamiliar and terrible at context clues, Venom and Carnage are villains from the Spider-Man universe stemming from the famed black alien suit Spidey dons for a period of time. They are two of the coolest and most bad-ass villains in all of the Marvel Universe. Despite many a point of difference, each is a murderous monster with incredible capacity to kill.

Given that, a comic series featuring a dispute between the two should result in maximum carnage (puns, I know) and wildly fascinating storylines that impact the world of Spider-Man for issues to come.

Instead, Venom vs. Carnage is a very average graphic novel. It takes an interesting plot idea (Venom and Carnage duking it out over the well-being of future symbiote generations) and keeps the concept about as simple as possible. The mere idea of generations of symbiotes and a symbiote culture is thrilling, but unfortunately, writer Peter Milligan doesn’t provide more than a cursory examination of what this culture might entail.

Anyway, I don’t even want to waste a full-fledged review on Venom vs. Carnage because it is that average. If you love these characters, it’s worth checking out – I wouldn’t buy the thing, but it sets up a few interesting story lines for the friendly neighborhood webhead.

More importantly, the book – Black Cat in particular – made me feel dirty and mildly ashamed. And again, my question is: Is this a good state for comics to be in?

Oh My Goodness

As I mentioned, Black Cat – one of Spidey’s allies and a total Catwoman knockoff – is so perversely distracting that I felt the need to hide the book I was reading from Betty White next to me. Her outfit consisted of a V-neck that basically extended all the way to her own V (I am a grown man, I swear) and left nothing to be desired. As is standard in many superhero comics today, too, Black Cat’s boobs were the size of generously portioned pumpkins. And they were barely even covered.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem with great wonderful breasts. As a matter of fact, I think they’re great and wonderful. But in a Spider-Man comic book, should these boobs be all up in my grill?

To help you decide, I’ll finish my subway story. I’m doing my best to conceal these vulgar images from Ms. White, when all of a sudden we hit a bump and the comic falls out of my hands and on the floor in front of her. She picks it up and glances at the pages the book has fallen open to and Black Cat’s white boobs are now all up in her grill.

“Oh my goodness!” she said as she hurriedly handed me back my shame.

I wanted to explain. “It’s a Spider-Man comic Ms. White! He’s one of my favorite heroes! I don’t even like Black Cat that much!” Of course, the damage was already done. I would never get her autograph now.

Prude vs. Purposeful

I can understand arguments that say any form of art should not cater to conservative elderly folk. I completely agree, and I’m not against Black Cat’s boobs purely for the sake of being against pornographic images in comics. That’s not what I’m against at all.

I’m against pornography without a purpose.

In Spider-Man, it doesn’t help any aspect of the story to have Black Cat’s boobs fully exposed. It just doesn’t. You could make the case that her being a sexual symbol is important to her character and her sultry relationship with Spidey, but that doesn’t have to entail extreme nudity. In Mad Men, Kristina Hendrick’s character is a steamy sex symbol. And she is generally covered quite fully.

There are times when pornographic art is the perfect means to augment a story. Fun Home documents a lesbian relationship between the author and a college friend (among many other things). A scene involving the two exploring each other’s bodies has to be pornographic. This a coming-of-age tale, an identity resolution, a sexual catharsis – there is artistic integrity in drawing lesbian sex.

My fear with popular Marvel comics is that the boisterous busts that have become the norm are completely without purpose. A character like Ms. Marvel flies around in skin-tight black spandex that culminates in a thong. Why? Is Marvel afraid her character isn’t interesting without a subliminal, adolescent sex appeal? What is the point of drawing here like that?

Part of the answer has to do with cultural norms in comics – heroes (and villians) wear skin-tight outfits. Men’s muscles bulge and women’s breasts boom. It’s the way it’s always been and it has only increased with time and societal acceptance.

More often that not, though, big breasted comic book heroes are met with one of two reactions: Rolling eyes, or erections. Neither results in respect.

Climax

Frankly, that’s what this boils down to. There’s nothing wrong with female characters being attractive, but they don’t all have to look like they’ve had cosmetic surgery and may tip over from imbalance at any moment. They just don’t. Storm isn’t a cool member of the X-Men because her boobs are huge. And she could be drawn beautifully with reasonable, realistic dimensions.

In the end, I think female characters in comic books could greatly benefit from drawing that aren’t quite so falsely sexual. I understand this is a world of fantasy, but the coolest comics instill enough realism to really connect with your everyday life.

Plus, if a thirteen year old boy picks up Venom vs. Carnage and finds Black Cat appealing, do you think this will result in the sort of substantial and long-lasting relationship Marvel Comics wants to establish with young readers? Of course not.

The way Black Cat’s dressed, I’ll bet he doesn’t last very long at all.

Have you ever tried looking at porn on a crowded subway? Yeah, me neither. That would be weird. (In the case that you answered yes, I’m not judging. Ok, I am. But please keep reading.) 

Nonetheless, there I was this weekend, sitting next to an elderly lady bearing a striking resemblance to Betty White, and I felt like I was staring at porn on a crowded subway. It could have had something to do with all the hot sexts on my phone, but even after a I put my phone in my pocket, I still felt like I was committing a dirty and sinful crime of lust. (Unnecessary full disclosure: I have never received a hot sext.)

What exactly was I doing?

I was reading Marvel’s
Venom vs. Carnage. A Spider-Man symbiote spinoff. With nothing overtly sexual about it. And I felt the need to keep it as far from Betty White’s eyes as possible.

Does that seem right to you?

The Sexual Spark

For those unfamiliar and terrible at context clues, Venom and Carnage are villains from the Spider-Man universe stemming from the famed black alien suit Spidey dons for a period of time. They are two of the coolest and most bad-ass villains in all of the Marvel Universe. Despite many a point of difference, each is a murderous monster with incredible capacity to kill.

Given that, a comic series featuring a dispute between the two should result in maximum carnage (puns, I know) and wildly fascinating storylines that impact the world of Spider-Man for issues to come.

Instead, Venom vs. Carnage is a very average graphic novel. It takes an interesting plot idea (Venom and Carnage duking it out over the well-being of future symbiote generations) and keeps the concept about as simple as possible. The mere idea of generations of symbiotes and a symbiote culture is thrilling, but unfortunately, writer Peter Milligan doesn’t provide more than a cursory examination of what this culture might entail.

Anyway, I don’t even want to waste a full-fledged review on Venom vs. Carnage because it is that average. If you love these characters, it’s worth checking out – I wouldn’t buy the thing, but it sets up a few interesting story lines for the friendly neighborhood webhead.

More importantly, the book – Black Cat in particular – made me feel dirty and mildly ashamed. And again, my question is: Is this a good state for comics to be in?

Oh My Goodness

As I mentioned, Black Cat – one of Spidey’s allies and a total Catwoman knockoff – is so perversely distracting that I felt the need to hide the book I was reading from Betty White next to me. Her outfit consisted of a V-neck that basically extended all the way to her own V (I am a grown man, I swear) and left nothing to be desired. As is standard in many superhero comics today, too, Black Cat’s boobs were the size of generously portioned pumpkins. And they were barely even covered.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem with great wonderful breasts. As a matter of fact, I think they’re great and wonderful. But in a Spider-Man comic book, should these boobs be all up in my grill?

To help you decide, I’ll finish my subway story. I’m doing my best to conceal these vulgar images from Ms. White, when all of a sudden we hit a bump and the comic falls out of my hands and on the floor in front of her. She picks it up and glances at the pages the book has fallen open to and Black Cat’s white boobs are now all up in her grill.

“Oh my goodness!” she said as she hurriedly handed me back my shame.

I wanted to explain. “It’s a Spider-Man comic Ms. White! He’s one of my favorite heroes! I don’t even like Black Cat that much!” Of course, the damage was already done. I would never get her autograph now.

Prude vs. Purposeful

I can understand arguments that say any form of art should not cater to conservative elderly folk. I completely agree, and I’m not against Black Cat’s boobs purely for the sake of being against pornographic images in comics. That’s not what I’m against at all.

I’m against pornography without a purpose.

In Spider-Man, it doesn’t help any aspect of the story to have Black Cat’s boobs fully exposed. It just doesn’t. You could make the case that her being a sexual symbol is important to her character and her sultry relationship with Spidey, but that doesn’t have to entail extreme nudity. In Mad Men, Kristina Hendrick’s character is a steamy sex symbol. And she is generally covered quite fully.

There are times when pornographic art is the perfect means to augment a story. Fun Home documents a lesbian relationship between the author and a college friend (among many other things). A scene involving the two exploring each other’s bodies has to be pornographic. This a coming-of-age tale, an identity resolution, a sexual catharsis – there is artistic integrity in drawing lesbian sex.

My fear with popular Marvel comics is that the boisterous busts that have become the norm are completely without purpose. A character like Ms. Marvel flies around in skin-tight black spandex that culminates in a thong. Why? Is Marvel afraid her character isn’t interesting without a subliminal, adolescent sex appeal? What is the point of drawing here like that?

Part of the answer has to do with cultural norms in comics – heroes (and villians) wear skin-tight outfits. Men’s muscles bulge and women’s breasts boom. It’s the way it’s always been and it has only increased with time and societal acceptance.

More often that not, though, big breasted comic book heroes are met with one of two reactions: Rolling eyes, or erections. Neither results in respect.

Climax

Frankly, that’s what this boils down to. There’s nothing wrong with female characters being attractive, but they don’t all have to look like they’ve had cosmetic surgery and may tip over from imbalance at any moment. They just don’t. Storm isn’t a cool member of the X-Men because her boobs are huge. And she could be drawn beautifully with reasonable, realistic dimensions.

In the end, I think female characters in comic books could greatly benefit from drawing that aren’t quite so falsely sexual. I understand this is a world of fantasy, but the coolest comics instill enough realism to really connect with your everyday life.

Plus, if a thirteen year old boy picks up Venom vs. Carnage and finds Black Cat appealing, do you think this will result in the sort of substantial and long-lasting relationship Marvel Comics wants to establish with young readers? Of course not.

The way Black Cat’s dressed, I’II bet he doesn’t last very long at all.Have you ever tried looking at porn on a crowded subway? Yeah, me neither. That would be weird. (In the case that you answered yes, I’m not judging. Ok, I am. But please keep reading.)

Nonetheless, there I was this weekend, sitting next to an elderly lady bearing a striking resemblance to Betty White, and I felt like I was staring at porn on a crowded subway. It could have had something to do with all the hot sexts on my phone, but even after a I put my phone in my pocket, I still felt like I was committing a dirty and sinful crime of lust. (Unnecessary full disclosure: I have never received a hot sext.)

What exactly was I doing?

I was reading Marvel’s Venom vs. Carnage. A Spider-Man symbiote spinoff. With nothing overtly sexual about it. And I felt the need to keep it as far from Betty White’s eyes as possible.

Does that seem right to you?

The Sexual Spark

For those unfamiliar and terrible at context clues, Venom and Carnage are villains from the Spider-Man universe stemming from the famed black alien suit Spidey dons for a period of time. They are two of the coolest and most bad-ass villains in all of the Marvel Universe. Despite many a point of difference, each is a murderous monster with incredible capacity to kill.

Given that, a comic series featuring a dispute between the two should result in maximum carnage (puns, I know) and wildly fascinating storylines that impact the world of Spider-Man for issues to come.

Instead, Venom vs. Carnage is a very average graphic novel. It takes an interesting plot idea (Venom and Carnage duking it out over the well-being of future symbiote generations) and keeps the concept about as simple as possible. The mere idea of generations of symbiotes and a symbiote culture is thrilling, but unfortunately, writer Peter Milligan doesn’t provide more than a cursory examination of what this culture might entail.

Anyway, I don’t even want to waste a full-fledged review on Venom vs. Carnage because it is that average. If you love these characters, it’s worth checking out – I wouldn’t buy the thing, but it sets up a few interesting story lines for the friendly neighborhood webhead.

More importantly, the book – Black Cat in particular – made me feel dirty and mildly ashamed. And again, my question is: Is this a good state for comics to be in?

Oh My Goodness

As I mentioned, Black Cat – one of Spidey’s allies and a total Catwoman knockoff – is so perversely distracting that I felt the need to hide the book I was reading from Betty White next to me. Her outfit consisted of a V-neck that basically extended all the way to her own V (I am a grown man, I swear) and left nothing to be desired. As is standard in many superhero comics today, too, Black Cat’s boobs were the size of generously portioned pumpkins. And they were barely even covered.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem with great wonderful breasts. As a matter of fact, I think they’re great and wonderful. But in a Spider-Man comic book, should these boobs be all up in my grill?

To help you decide, I’ll finish my subway story. I’m doing my best to conceal these vulgar images from Ms. White, when all of a sudden we hit a bump and the comic falls out of my hands and on the floor in front of her. She picks it up and glances at the pages the book has fallen open to and Black Cat’s white boobs are now all up in her grill.

“Oh my goodness!” she said as she hurriedly handed me back my shame.

I wanted to explain. “It’s a Spider-Man comic Ms. White! He’s one of my favorite heroes! I don’t even like Black Cat that much!” Of course, the damage was already done. I would never get her autograph now.

Prude vs. Purposeful

I can understand arguments that say any form of art should not cater to conservative elderly folk. I completely agree, and I’m not against Black Cat’s boobs purely for the sake of being against pornographic images in comics. That’s not what I’m against at all.

I’m against pornography without a purpose.

In Spider-Man, it doesn’t help any aspect of the story to have Black Cat’s boobs fully exposed. It just doesn’t. You could make the case that her being a sexual symbol is important to her character and her sultry relationship with Spidey, but that doesn’t have to entail extreme nudity. In Mad Men, Kristina Hendrick’s character is a steamy sex symbol. And she is generally covered quite fully.

There are times when pornographic art is the perfect means to augment a story. Fun Home documents a lesbian relationship between the author and a college friend (among many other things). A scene involving the two exploring each other’s bodies has to be pornographic. This a coming-of-age tale, an identity resolution, a sexual catharsis – there is artistic integrity in drawing lesbian sex.

My fear with popular Marvel comics is that the boisterous busts that have become the norm are completely without purpose. A character like Ms. Marvel flies around in skin-tight black spandex that culminates in a thong. Why? Is Marvel afraid her character isn’t interesting without a subliminal, adolescent sex appeal? What is the point of drawing here like that?

Part of the answer has to do with cultural norms in comics – heroes (and villians) wear skin-tight outfits. Men’s muscles bulge and women’s breasts boom. It’s the way it’s always been and it has only increased with time and societal acceptance.

More often that not, though, big breasted comic book heroes are met with one of two reactions: Rolling eyes, or erections. Neither results in respect.

Climax

Frankly, that’s what this boils down to. There’s nothing wrong with female characters being attractive, but they don’t all have to look like they’ve had cosmetic surgery and may tip over from imbalance at any moment. They just don’t. Storm isn’t a cool member of the X-Men because her boobs are huge. And she could be drawn beautifully with reasonable, realistic dimensions.

In the end, I think female characters in comic books could greatly benefit from drawing that aren’t quite so falsely sexual. I understand this is a world of fantasy, but the coolest comics instill enough realism to really connect with your everyday life.

Plus, if a thirteen year old boy picks up Venom vs. Carnage and finds Black Cat appealing, do you think this will result in the sort of substantial and long-lasting relationship Marvel Comics wants to establish with young readers? Of course not.

The way Black Cat’s dressed, I’II bet he doesn’t last very long at all.

Advertisements

, ,

  1. Leave a comment

What Do You Think? Comment Here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: