A brief meditation on erotic comics (slightly NSFW)

|
()

The Kinky Comic Carnival was held at S&M cafe Wicked Grounds a couple Saturdays ago. Comic book fanatics, stimulated by both caffeine and visual erotica, swarmed in unexpected numbers to meet local creative talents that included Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumren), Justin Hall (Glamzonia, the Uncanny Super Tranny), Serena Valentino (Gloom Cookie), Greta Christina (Best Erotic Comics), Tristan Crane (How Loathesome), and Storm (Princess Witch Boy). The crowd was a mix of committed comicphiles, local kink enthusiasts, passerbys intrigued by the fuss, and confused SOMA-ites who just wanted their coffee.

The eroticism of a comic book is a rather ambivalent one. First, to eroticize a comic book character requires a leap of imagination that most people cannot take; I blame it on the lack of a third dimension. Second, at face value, comics just don't seem that sexual in the age of gonzo porn. The Victorians liked their quaint pornographic drawings, but then came the moving picture and the drawings became antiquated collector's items, ancient history. Finally, we are warned that those who read comics after a certain age invariably morph into basement-dwelling creeps. The belief persists that comics block production of potent growth hormones and can prolong an adolescence like nothing else. (They should market that.)

Fans of the genre couldn't disagree more. For them, the syncretism of X-rated adult content with G-rated comic form represents an appealing erotic alternative to the constraints of real life. Comic book fans like comic books because they represent an escape from mundane 3-D reality. Because their fantasies exist outside the literal world, comic book porn -- the exaggerated drawings, crazy sound effects (in a Justin Hall comic, fellatio is accompanied the onomatopoetic "BAM!"), and benevolent deux ex machina who always gets the good guy/gal laid -- could not be further from everyday sex. Unharnessing the Id? You don't have to be a comic book collector to acknowledge the tantalizing possibilities.

Also from this author

  • "Chronic" 2010

    D.A. Powell brings love, longing, and lyricism back to poetic life

  • Pigs in Oakland

    Novella Carpenter creates an urban homestead in Farm City

  • Point for point

    Elif Batuman's Possessed charts a hidden map of Russia