If you've been reading this (and since I don't have AdSense on, I can only assume that SOMEONE is reading this blog. Or hope) you may remember that back in November I had to stall an article because of the holiday and the fact that the article wasn't coming together. That article was to be about comic gimmicks, and in the end I decided to divide up the various topics in that one article into several, many of which have now been posted. This is one of those articles.
Let's talk about sex in webcomics.
Okay, actually this is more about the lure of sex and sexually pleasing images. The internet is, of course, full of this stuff and a simple google search will turn up dozens of websites dedicated to pornographic comics and drawings. So using sex in a webcomic as a lure seems a bit strange, but it has a long history, especially with comic books. Let's be honest, the only reason the super heroine exists is to sell comics to prepubescent boys. Add the fact that the first webcomics were mostly made by males, it should be no surprise that using sex to attract readers was amongst the first and greatest lures.
Probably the lowest tier of sex in webcomics is fanservice. Basically it's when the artist takes one of their characters and draws them in a more, um, seductive way. Typically it's one or more of the female characters. The one that sticks out in my mind comes from, of course, Sluggy Freelance. Oh, I can't remember exactly when it was, but it did feature the two main female characters (Zoe and Gwen) dressed in bikinis, and to a higher quality than the typical art of the time. Fanservice isn't uncommon, and depending on the comic can be played for laughs as much as sex.
Of course, naturally sexy looking characters have always had their place in comics. This typically requires the art to be, well, good, very good in fact. Shadowgirls, for example, features naturally attractive characters (with some bits of fanservice once in a while) but given that this comes as the result of the comic's more comic book roots, this is not unexpected. Other comics like Lowroad and Chugworth Academy play up the sexual angle for laughs, though the characters are very well drawn.
And then there are comics where sex doesn't just play a side or joking role, but is front and center. I'm talking about Menage a 3, of course, a comic that comes about as close to being softcore porn as anything can get and not ACTUALLY be softcore porn. And a few strips actually cross the line, including the first one. It covers various fetishes without going too far, but there is nudity (mostly female, sorry ladies) and it skips the innuendo most other comics use. A bit further back from the line are comics like Girls with Slingshots, of which sex is just one of many topics that comes up and acts as the fulcrum of the various story arcs. It also covers some of the same ground as Menage, but in a far less graphic and direct manner, though I still wouldn't let a child read it.
Cross in the line into straight up porn comics is actually something I have never done for a review but know some that go into that territory. Jack has several scenes featuring various forms of intercourse (one of the characters is the personification of Lust after all), but even that is relatively tame, probably just inside the realm of softcore (or it was the last time I read it). There are straight up sex comics out there, and several of the artists of the more main stream ones actually have done them. And you'll figure that out if you click on enough ads for some of the comics I actually read. Typically, however, you won't find a completely free porn webcomic, but then, I also don't look too terribly hard either.
So as long as there is an internet, there will be sexually pleasing artwork on it, and many of them will be in webcomic form. How far across the line it goes really depends on what the artist is willing to do, and what their host is willing to put up with. It also makes an excellent lure to get people to come read your comic, but there are better ways, trust me.
Anyway, enough of this topic. See you next week kiddies.