Battle of the Strip Clubs

I have never had any desire to go to a strip club, and I will probably never go to one, but in the past month I have read two comic book stories based in part in strip clubs.  The reasoning behind my temporary exposure to them is mostly circumstantial.  The first one I ran across while looking for an old martial arts based crossover story arc in Green Arrow (there will be spoilers in case anyone plans to read either of these).  I had never seen the depiction of a strip club in comics before (though I am sure this was not the first one) so I was kind of curious how a medium which caters in large parts to a male audience would treat it.  The basic plot is that Roy and Connor go to a strip club because Roy wants to show him a good time.  All the girls know Roy, but Connor seems disinterested.  This leads into a discussion about what attraction means, to some it can be breasts being shaken in their face, for others it means sharing something more cerebral.  Still in terms of my expectations, this issue showed me a strip club as something which can actually be used to form the basis for a decent story and well structured characterizations.   
 
In the second case the strip club appeared in the first issue of Voodoo, in which an alien shapechanger (or at least that is what they said she is) is posing as a striper for some purpose (suggested to telepathically spy on soldiers.)  While this is somewhat more graphics than the Green Arrow version, this one also doesn't look at the strippers as sex obsessed exhibitionists, rather when they are onstage they seem only concerned with seeming interested enough to not seem disinterested, and in the change room they show their real side.  This sort of suggestive picture introduces their narrative: 
 As the scene unfolds it becomes clear that these women are there because they need to be not because they want to be - those living below the poverty line, students trying to pay for school, moms trying to put food on the table for their kids.  I think in terms of a realistic depiction of a strip club, and especially its workers, that this would be pretty accurate.   
 So how does this tie back into comics?  Well simply that there is nothing wrong with sexually related images being portrayed in comics, as long as there is essentially some reason behind it.  If a reasonable reader read these two issues it would be logical to think that strippers are sort of there against their will, and if you don't like strip clubs that it is ok.  Comparing this to some of the extremely gratuitous images which have been floating around (mostly thanks to the new 52) it shows that the issue is sex doesn't have to be gratuitous and lascivious rather can be thoughtful and accurate.  
 Oh right!  I promised a battle of the strip clubs, well the one in Voodoo would definitely win - much better lighting system
10 Comments
10 Comments
Posted by tim2081

Some strippers do it because they like it, a lot of pornstars started out as strippers. But it's good to show that a lot of them are there just to make ends meet. Also the depiction of the strippers in Voodoo #1 was supposed to show stripping as being a menial job for women, and not so much on sex. This character doesn't seem like she is intended to push sexual boundaries. Other characters are based purely on their sex appeal, and I see nothing wrong with gratuitous amounts of sex being part of someone's characterization.

Posted by Saren

The strip club in Voodoo seemed nice. It was well lit, the waiters were likable, there were refreshments on hand, the girls seemed nice and personable. The only flaw I can think of is getting a lap dance from an angry alien shapeshifter.

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Posted by Daveyo520

I guess I can see the appeal of strip clubs, but they are really really scummy. I don't plan on going to one any time soon.

Posted by Timandm

From what I've read, and a few women I've met and talked to about the subject, MOST women who are strippers are doing so because they have to... Many are working their way through college... Many are just feeding their kids...

Emma Frost first joined the Hell Fire club as an "exotic dancer." Her family was wealthy, but she had left home and was on her own. She couldn't dance, but telepathically she made the men basically think she was Lady Godiva and a bag o chips... The hellfire club itself (in the Marvel universe) is really just a hub for pulling in wealthy/powerful men and controlling them... it's actually a clever move on their part.

Now, regarding Connor being disinterested... I can identify with that. In my younger (and single) days I went to strip clubs a few times. Usually friends from out of town wanted to visit the infamous clubs here in Atlanta. Obviously I didn't hate going, but I didn't enjoy it the way they did... They saw hot, sexy, alluring women dancing... I saw women that would never actually have anything to do with me... To me, it was very much like sitting in front of the most amazing buffet knowing that I was never going to eat a thing from that buffet...

I always remember one time in particular... I'm with my friend Brian (from out of town), and there are about 40 naked women dancing all over the place.. (something they did once or twice I night I think.) And Brian is sitting there staring at one dancer in particular and he said, "Yeah...She's alright, but I wouldn't do her." I looked at him sort of in disbelief that he was actually saying something like that thinking, "I'm sure she'll be real disappointed to hear that." What I actually said was, "No, you never will." He caught my meaning. He was able to enjoy watching strippers because he could delude himself into believing that they actually enjoyed him watching them, and that he might actually have a chance with them...

Um... Did I drift off topic?

Posted by aztek_the_lost

The Sandman: Best Comic About a Strip Club? I think so.

Also, I liked how Greek Street re-imagined the Muses in modern-day as strippers...I like a narrator that can be nonchalantly topless while helping you follow events

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Posted by COBRAMORPH

@Timandm: Wow, thats um, kinda a dick thing to say to a friend man.

Posted by Dark_Thunder

@COBRAMORPH: Everybody needs at least one friend who's willing to hit them over the head with the honesty hammer when needed.

Posted by The Stegman

I honestly don't see the appeal of a strip club, it's like going to a restaurant just to look at the food but not eat it.

Posted by Brazen_Intellect

Strip Clubs are a soulless place, men deluding themselves that a stripper actually gives the slightest bit about them and paying 20 bucks a dance for the privilege. As for the women who work at them, I do not think there is one any real stereotype you can assign to them as for why they do it. I personally only know one person who did so in her early 20's and it was simply because she could make triple what she could in any other job. She did it for 3 years and started a business with the proceeds and runs it to this day (no I never visited her at work)

Posted by JediXMan

First example I could think of was the strip club in Sandman, where a former goddess essentially did it for the praise she did not get from worshipers anymore. That was an overall good arc.

The other example was when Hal was getting cash from Bruce in order to pay for strippers for Olie's bachelor party - and then we see Black Canary with male strippers at her own party.