There is something about over sexualized art for a moderate story that is jarring to my eyeballs. When the plot is just as ridiculous as the breast sizes (a la Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose), I can let it go. It’s as if a comic that understands its place in the universe should be respected, whether it’s your cup of tea or not. If that copy of Genus Male isn’t trying to be some Hugo Award winning novel or treatise on socio-political philosophy, there’s no reason to get on its case for being the best little gay adult furry anthology it can be. But when a book takes itself pretty seriously and it’s dressing up in tacky cheesecake artwork, I tend to stop reading the book and start asking myself, “Why is this panel directing me to look at her crotch?”
And yes, normally the cheesecake in question depicts mostly female characters. A great deal of female characters. In fact, there’s a whole stigma attached to comic books because of it as one of the first thing parents ask me when purchasing books for younger readers is if there’s any “you know” and violence. But sometimes, just sometimes, there’s a kind of creepy side to the sketched out men as well.
Point in case: Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter – Guilty Pleasures #1.
Oh, I should have seen it coming. Online buzz have called the books jokingly ‘vampire porn’ for quite some time. But man… I didn’t know it was going to be like 16-year-old-fangirl porn. Yikes! I even like Brett Booth’s artwork (though he could have really used an inker this time around), but the men in the book are of cookie cutter long and lean proportions and have all the earmarks that make the Gambit fangirls ‘OMGSQUEE!!’ Men so stylized to be attractive they almost come off as cartoonish, right down to the flowing locks and frilly open shirts. The premise is that vampires have been semi-accepted into society; how they got that way looking like that might be ironic, but I’m not all too sure.
And as far as I could tell (sorry, more details would be thrown in if we hadn’t sold out of the issue. ha ha me), Anita Blake is super special and spends most of the issue just out of the reach of all these hawt guys and their shirtlessness and accents. They all want her, but they cannot have her. Internal narration seems to make a big deal but of this as she always “just barely” makes it away from the dominating gaze of these Orlando-esque men, but as far as things are visually shown to the reader, it doesn’t seem like that much work at all. Just some side steps but boy, was that a close one! Being desirable at a distance, keeping up the constant chase, drives a lot of romance novels and make Remy and Rogue one of the most popular couples in Marvel history. To this day, little girls who grew up watching those old Fox cartoons can’t help but mention in the store when they’re inevitably dragged in by their boyfriends the tragic tale of the uber-sexy Cajun and the Southern Belle he cannot have.
We sold out of Anita Blake practically out of the box last Wednesday. People have been asking about this book for weeks. We have a bunch of pre-orders. Some have even started their first pull with this book as their lone selection. People, women in particular, are clamoring for this stuff.
From what I hear at least, men’s strip clubs seem to be these quiet grindfests of desperation, the patrons desperately avoiding eye contact with one another. A Chipendale’s show however has screaming and yelling and waving and jumping up and down and party groups. As far as I’ve seen in the adult comics section, there doesn’t seem to be much geared towards women, but after seeing how well this Anita Blake book sold, I start to wonder if there a market.