Comics THORsday: Sex in Comics

comics, comics thorsday, thorsday, comics ecourse, comics course, depepi, depepi.com, geek anthropology, pop culture

Tadaaa! Another comics THORsday is here! And this time, a taboo one: sex in comics. Sex is still a taboo in our society, and openly talking about it can be challenging. But, aren’t challenges worth the try? Before we start our sexy journey, we have to point out that comics are an incredibly flexible medium: you can depict whatever you want without the technology challenges that might exist with a film at the moment. That said, sex in comics can run as wild as human imagination. The question is not what can be depicted or which stories can be told, but who has been brave enough as to do so.

comics thorsday, thorsday, comics, sex in comics, depepi, depepi.com

(C) Marvel; Fearless Defenders

Superheroes show up kisses and some type of relationships. While there are some limits on what to depict, both in violence and inches of skin, what we see on the pages of Superhero comics gives us hints about how society opens up to human relationships. However, there are still lots of updated stereotypes that leave the reader disappointed many times. It’s not a question of how women are depicted, nor what roles are the characters are having, but how their relationships are shown and explained, even if they’re just triggering your imagination to fill in the gaps the sex that should be there, but that we cannot really see.

comics thorsday, thorsday, comics, sex in comics, depepi, depepi.com

(C) Marvel; Iron Man and Rumiko Fujikawa

True, male characters are given more respect in the sense that they do have more partners, but society does not see them as questionable. Iron Man is one of the characters that has had more adventures. And yet, he seems to live happily ever after. Well, at least for a “playboy.” But what about girls? Does Gamora have the same license?

(C) Marvel; Gamora and Iron Man

(C) Marvel; Gamora and Iron Man

Strong women are sometimes depicted as solitary, and when confronted with many partners, outdated stereotypes are still triggered. It is time to show relationships without calling outdated stereotypes into motion while giving the characters more room to show up some more skin.

comics thorsday, thorsday, comics, sex in comics, depepi, depepi.com

(C) Marvel; Star Lord and Kitty Pride

But, I don’t think we’ll see much more skin that we’re used to on comics that can be read by everyone. We can find endless inches of skin in comix and erotic comics. Here, there are no borders on what you can find in erotic comics. Sex can be tender, or grotesque. It can be humorous or political. But the key about these comics isn’t that they might be shocking but that we still get shocked by them. Because sex is a taboo, we think of people who read them as perverts, when in reality those who are against or point with the finger to the authors that draw them as such.

But there is a place where you can shatter taboos. Okay, it’s not free from arguments and ship wars, but it’s a busting medium that is helping break free from the taboos around sex: slash online comics and art.

comics thorsday, thorsday, comics, sex in comics, depepi, depepi.com

Thorki. From Stereobone

Relationships, aka ships in the fanfic realm, are but ways to explore our own sexuality. Slash can be sweet, explicit, arrogant, grotesque, humorous and extremely shocking. Artists and consumers of fic explore their sexual identities through characters that they love. At the moment we’re able to talk about sex, we’re free from the taboo. I am not saying that we have to do what we draw or read, but that we should be adult enough as a modern society as to talk about something as human as sex. Comics as a medium has been creating a dialogue with our humanity through letting out of our brains our vivid imaginations.



[Note: I didn’t find the original documentary in English, so I chose the French version instead. Sorry.]

  • Kay

    While it isn’t every case, I feel like often women in comics (and movies, and TV) are definitely victims of sexism when it comes to sex by which I mean more often than not men are praised and even encouraged to sleep with many partners (Tony Stark for example) but women are shamed for it. I don’t understand that, the thinking that men can enjoy sex for fun but if a woman wants to do the same she is considered a ‘slut’. Like I said, it’s not every comic or movie, but it is a huge repeating theme that needs to end.

    • I agree, it happens too often, specially in “mainstrem” comics. That’s why I feel the topic of sex in comics should be more open. We usually shy away from it, and that’s not really cool. Because, even though in comics you can represent whatever you want, stereotypes are still running amok. And that’s not fun at all. As a woman, I like to shatter the taboo and start talking about it in this post. Basically because as women, we also find an extra: we are looked upon if we are open on this topic. There are good independent sexy comics out there, but the main problem, IMHO, is that “mainstream” comics need to make an extra push on depicting both genders as free sexually as they should be. Even if it’s only a kiss here and there. [Check Kickstarter from time to time, there’re erotic comics that are cool from time to time.]

      • Kay

        Yes, I completely agree with this! 😀

  • I have to agree that women in entertainment are not treated the same way as men. If a woman is not attached to someone she is slandered for sleeping with several partners. Honestly, who cares? It’s her life and she can choose to do what she wants. But there is so much shaming going on, while as a man it’s humorous and normal for that to happen.

    • I totally agree with you. Some time ago I was talking with a friend about Tony Stark and Black Widow (remember when Rener & Evans said that she was a slut? Don’t remember the show… Evans later apologized, but Rener took more time to do so). So, the problem is there rooted in culture. Stark can fool around, Black Widow cannot. We need to change those views, and converstations like this one are helping. We should chill out and let people do their stuff without shaming anyone. But some stereotypes seem too hard to kill… sigh…

  • Danielle Knapp

    I definitely feel that independent women almost always seem to be solitary – us ladies can be independent yet still be in a fulfilling relationship. Not to mention the term playboy or bachelor are usually said with a sense of humor whereas the alternative for women is always something terrible like slut. I love this post – thanks for sharing!