Comics Creators

Sex in comics


Who does it best? How has it been handled most effectively? What are the traps that people fall into?

The thought occured to me while reading The Fade Out, as I think that Brubaker & Phillips are one of the best at pulling off sex scenes in their comics (both in that book and others, particularly Criminal and Fatale). There’s a real sense of intimacy and intensity created - the sex scenes are never drawn out or lingering, but manage to be clear and (when necessary) explicit without ever coming off as exploitative or gratuitous.

It got me thinking about who else has done particularly well at incorporating sex into comics (outside of dedicated erotic/pornographic books) - Moore’s psychedelic “Rites of Spring” issue of Swamp Thing springs to mind, as well as his ‘magical education’ issue of Promethea.

And Bitch Planet played with the idea of “the sex scene” quite smartly recently, with a shower scene that deliberately subverted the male-gaze aspect that often accompanies the depiction of sex in comics.

Any other memorable examples? And is this a conversation we can have without tittering? :smile:


Yes. It is a conversation we can have without tittering.

Blushing on the other hand… :blush:


I’d have to put my money on Sex Criminals. It says a lot of things about sex and how it’s perceived in modern society, what it means to have sex etc.
But at the end of the day it’s a romance comic and making that sell in today’s market should be applauded.


Also, obviously, SEX by Casey/Kowalski. Also, books like POWERS and INVINCIBLE do a good job of at least showing that the characters have sex lives.


Mark was talking about this at Glasgow Comic Con. He made the point that it’s strange that we accept six or seven pages of people kicking the living shit out of each other but sex scenes in comics can make people wince and can often be frowned upon.


I have to go with Alan Moore from Miracleman to Watchmen, he keeps it tastefully done.


I thought the sex scene in Miller’s Ronin was very unique, and it never struck me as cheap or exploitative. Sin City on the other hand…


Does this page from Jom Steranko’s Nick Fury count? I think it’s a great way of spelling out what’s going to happen without getting graphic. That said, is this the comics equivalent of that 80s movie standard of “sleazy saxophone plays and camera pans to open window once the good stuff starts”?


Have you read Neonomicon?


No… can’t say.


I bought Necronomicon in single issues. It was… something.


I find the sex in SEX to be an interesting expression of where each character is emotionally at any given time. I think its kind of an interesting exploration in how sex can mean different things at different moments in your life.

Ive enjoyed that comic far more than I thought I would.


SEX is one of my favorite comics. It’s not just an exploration of sex in comics but also an examination of a post-superhero world.

I tried Sex Criminals for a few issues but gave up on it. It got boring and the pacing was snail-like.


I read the first arc of Sex Criminals and it was fun, but it felt like it treated the sex as a gag (which is fine for a sex comedy I suppose). There wasn’t much that was romantic, sensual or, well, sexy about it.

I just read the latest issue of Velvet and it’s another Brubaker book that seems to judge it just right - sex is an important part of the characters’ lives (and work), and it’s featured regularly, but shown sparingly and tastefully:


I’ve always liked that page - it’s probably as much as they could get away with at the time, but I think the ‘less is more’ approach works either way (although the gun in the holster is a bit ‘on the nose’). :blush:


The holstered gun is actually a change from what was originally going to be printed. The complete Steranko’s SHEILD book has the original page in the back as a extra.


Interesting. I think the gun is far more suggestive!

Hope that’s included in the upcoming omnibus.


That’s pretty much how Steranko feels too. “Much more steamier.”


Milo Minara probably warrants a mention - but while I think he draws some beautiful elegant female figures, they’ve always felt weirdly inhuman and mannequin-esque to me. A bit lifeless.


Pete Milligan has a great track record for talking about sex in his comics. The Extremist, Shade, X-Statix, Enigma obviously, The Names, all went to pretty strange places and had something interesting to say about sex. It’s a fairly distant cerebral approach, more interesting than an actual turn on usual, but always deftly handled. I reckon he’s the comic world’s expert at writing young love and making it work.

At the other end of the spectrum, Adam Warren deserves kudos for everything he manages to do in Empowered, balancing outright porn with humour and awesome character work.