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Friday, May 19, 2023 

CBR recommends adult fare

Here's an interesting list recorded from CBR, highlighting several comics from past to present focused on erotica, from past and more present eras, but says awkwardly at the start:
While there have been comic books about sex in the United States since the beginning of the 20th Century, these comics were almost always simply Tijuana Bibles, childish attempts at drawing popular celebrities and comic characters in sexual situations to appeal to the lowest common denominator. When it comes to actual good comic books involving sex, the American comic book market has lagged well behind Europe and Japan.

However, as the years have gone by, there have been several good pieces of comic book erotica released from American comic book companies and that number has been growing steadily in recent years as the taboo around of these types of stories has begun to fade. However, even with those taboos lessened, comics that focus on more risque subject matter are still often seen as a shameful endeavor.

Updated on April 3rd, 2023 by David Harth: Mature readers comics have been a part of the industry since the independent "comix" days of the 1960s. A renaissance for mature books started in the 1980s as creators from around the world came into the US industry. Since then, comics that include sexual content have become more readily available, from classics of the past to all kinds of great newer examples.
Yes, that is odd the main writer of this item would confuse everything, though some more modern examples aren't as "great" as those of the past, and even foreign fare can be pretty bad too, if it's gross and perverse. Now, here's an example we could highlight from the list, titled XXXenophile:
XXXenophile was a comic book series that Phil Foglio wrote and drew with some of the best and brightest comic book artists of the late 1980s through 1995. The anthology series of sex stories always had a sense of the absurd mixed in. The comics were upbeat tales of sex, as Foglio noted he had no interest in writing any sort of problematic sex stories.

There was a lot of humor in the XXXenophile comics, but one of the biggest draws was that readers could very often feel the love in all the stories. The comics were clearly pornographic, but in an adorable, romantic way. It was also interesting to watch Foglio himself evolve as the series went on, moving beyond catering to the straight male gaze.
And what does that mean? In this era, you could perceive that as implying Foglio went "woke" and turned to promoting homosexuality at heterosexuality's expense. I have no idea if that's the case, but if the guy went as far off the rails as this suggests, of course that's regrettable. Maybe that's what they mean by Foglio's stating he had no interest in "problematic" stories? Then, there's a comic by Howard Chaykin titled Black Kiss:
Black Kiss was a controversial comic book series that Howard Chaykin released in the late 1980s as a sort of response to the call for warning labels in comics at the time. Chaykin was the writer/artist of the popular American Flagg series. However, where that series would just hint at sex and violence, Black Kiss would go out of its way to depict both fully. This was a major shock in 1988, especially coming from such a creator as Chaykin.

The story of Black Kiss follows Cass Pollack, a jazz musician on the run after being accused of killing his wife and daughter. In exchange for an alibi, he agrees to locate a historic pornographic film from the Vatican's porn library. As it turns out, the film is tied up in a ritualistic horror plot and there are many factions trying to get their hands on it, with Pollack caught in the middle.
Honestly, it sounds pretty ludicrous, and like an insult to Christianity. One can only wonder if Chaykin would've been willing, past or present, to write an allusion to al Qaeda's overlord, Osama bin Laden, having a giant porn trove, as USA troops discovered after raiding his compound in the past decade. Chaykin, of course, has been all but blacklisted in the past several years because PC advocates at Image itself took offense at a graphic cover image on Divided States of Hysteria, and chances are they wouldn't accept a story involving Islam at all. Another comic on the list that raised eyebrows was "Strips", authored by a certain guess-who:
Strips was an early comic book series written and drawn by Chuck Austen for Rip Off Press that started in 1989. It starred Zack Mackinerny, a talented comic strip creator for a college newspaper, and chronicled the sexual misadventures he and his friends got into on campus. The other main character is Kenna English, a girl who has a big crush on Zack but who can't seem to get him to pay attention to her. He ends up dating (and having a lot of sex with) her roommate instead.

Zack is a bit of an oblivious jerk, but he's a charming enough character and is difficult to hate. Additionally, Kenna is engaging enough for both of them. Sadly, Strips ended on a cliffhanger, preventing it from having a satisfying ending.
Considering what a bad reputation Austen - later known as an animation producer - achieved after his embarrassing stint on X-Men, including a storyline where Angel and Husk have sex in the air with her mother present, and she's potentially under statutory age to boot, don't be surprised if nobody will care if there's no proper ending to this tale. They also listed Garth Ennis' The Pro:
Garth Ennis is famously not much of a fan of superhero comic books, staying with more grounded characters like the Punisher. Many of his comic book work has involved making fun of superheroes, with perhaps his most famous example being Hitman and his most extended anti-superhero riff being The Boys. Ennis's most audacious piece of superhero mockery has to be 2002's The Pro, by Ennis and artists Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti.

The concept of The Pro is that a Watcher-analogue, the Viewer, gives a prostitute superpowers to see if she will become a superhero. She does end up becoming a superhero, of sorts, but does things her way, showing the hypocrisy of traditional supers. It's a sharp rebuke of the superhero industry, but there is a good deal of heart mixed in with the graphic details, which is the case for all Ennis comic book stories, really.
Forget it; Ennis' view of superhero fare is so insulting, that even this doesn't sound appealing. If he feels there's far too much superhero fare on the market, that's fine, but that in no way justifies writing up such an abusive viewpoint as he did in the past 2 decades, recalling there was a story where Punisher blasted Wolverine's face, as though that were truly funny. Even as black comedy, it's tasteless. And that also alludes to a huge problem with some of Ennis' work - he leans towards darkness. Again, it's okay to complain if superhero fare took up far too much interest on everybody's plate, but anybody who sticks to themes like darkness so heavily isn't being any better than modern writers who're obsessed with it as well. In fact, it keeps specific problems perfectly in place.

Anyway, I'm sure even today, there will be decent fare involving sex themes in comicdom, but what's highlighted above sure doesn't make the best of examples, and there are a few others in that list that don't either. Worst is the thought of what is considered suitable by the PC mainstream today, that's for sure.

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