Sexuality in comics done right (a quick blog)

Posted by Fantasgasmic (1071 posts) - - Show Bio

If you read my previous 2 blog posts (about a 7 year old's opinion of Starfire and the ending of Catwoman #1) you might get the opinion that I am a prude and don't like what the various "Rating" organizations might call "Adult Situations," or "Sexual Content." So in order to dispel this belief, I'm going to make a brief mention of when overt sexuality works. Voodoo #1 handles sexuality in a way that makes sense, is appropriate, and doesn't feel like less would've been more.

If you didn't read the comic, or aren't familiar with the character, Voodoo is a shape-shifting alien from the Wildstorm Universe who was brought into the DCnU. Her character is a stripper, and her the comic mentioned shows her doing some erotic dance at club, while dressed primarily in lingerie.

So why does it work here but not when Starfire does it in Red Hood & the Outlaws? CONTEXT! Voodoo is a stripper, so being, "almost naked and posing,” and "wearing a tiny bikini to get attention," makes sense for her character. She gives an explanation for her working as a stripper, and it's made more believable when you start to think about jobs that a shape shifting alien could get without knowing too much about mankind, our customs/social norms, etc. Being a stripper makes you enough of a pariah in most places, meaning it's a good place to hide out; customers don't expect you to say hello if you meet them in the outside world; it requires a relatively simple set of skills to master (not that dancing is easy, but it's the only skill required), etc.

Does all that make the comic good? in my opinion, not really; it wasn't bad but I wasn't left waiting anxiously for #2. In general, I think Wildstorm getting shoved into DCnU was a dumb idea, and was only done because of Jim Lee's position. But that's beside the point, the comic may be mediocre at best, but the handling of "adult themes and sexual content" worked perfectly.

What do you think? Did you read Voodoo #1? Did you see another handling of sex in a way that worked? let me know below.

#1 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

There's a scene in Voodoo #1 where the creepy male fed is watching her strip and the viewer is watching her strip in the reflective sunglasses of the man. For three full frames with no dialogue. It was perfect. Reminded me of the classic "bathroom" scene from Hitchcock's Psycho. As Norman looks through the peep hole, so does the viewer, making them the voyeur even as we watch the peeping villain/unsuspecting victim together. It was artfully done and the context fully supported the cheesecake.

The issue wasn't perfect--there's an extended scene where she's giving him a private dance and they're having this really long-winded conversation that I don't really believe would be possible during a private strip dance. Stuff like that. But for all the trash surroundings the main character came off as sexy, not sexualized (in a negative sense). Probably because of the character development in the back room with the other girls.

It was a solid issue. I'm not sure it should've been labeled Teen, but solid.

This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.