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Eric: And now, the plug!

It's once again time to plug a new Feeding Snarky over at Comixpedia -- and this is one I'm actually particularly proud of. It's also one of my longest columns to date.

And it's all about porn!

Well, no. It's not. But there's a lot of porn in it. Sweet, sweet sex-positive porn. And some thoughts on perceptions.

Check it on out, when you get a chance!

Posted by Eric Burns-White at August 21, 2005 10:42 PM


Comment from: kirabug posted at August 21, 2005 11:04 PM

I'm curious to see if anyone else comments on this ;)

Sex-positive porn is a wonderful thing. If it's hard to find strong, developed female characters in standard comics, it's almost impossible to find them in porn. A friend of mine had just about given up hope when I lent her some anime this weekend that was, well, odd, but devoid of tentacle monsters and violence. If anyone knows of other sources of sex-positive porn, (and, obviously, can discuss them in an adult manner) I'm all ears.

Thanks for being willing to discuss this, Eric!

Comment from: Sean Duggan posted at August 21, 2005 11:06 PM

Interesting. I must admit that if you asked me what pornographic webcomics I read, Ghastly and Sexy Losers would be the two I'd mention. {cocks head off to one side} I kind of even know why. While both comics involve sex and bodily exposure, it's all in the spirit of making fun of the genre. It's... acceptable to be admit to enjoying those comics. Does that make any sense? Probably makes more sense when you consider I'm from a strict Catholic family and most of my friends aren't exactly big into porn (or not admitting it) either.

Comment from: Charles Duffy posted at August 21, 2005 11:14 PM

If there's one thing that struck me on reading this, it was the extent it went far out of its way to emphasize acceptance of those who endorse hurtfulness to others -- and who in doing so give cause and argument to those who would interfere in the private affairs of others.

It's one thing to avoid making what would otherwise be a differently-focused article into a rant against such people. It's another thing to go to such explicit lengths to state that, even if it's not for you, their tastes (and, by inference, the public manifestations thereof) are acceptable.

In more extreme cases, I find public manifestations of such positions no more acceptable than hate speech is. I don't necessarily want to abridge the rights of those who would engage in such speech, any more than I want my own rights to be abridged -- but I absolutely abhor any suggestion that publishing works which glory in bringing unjust and unwelcome harm to others might be socially acceptable.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at August 21, 2005 11:21 PM

Ah, now HERE is a thread for "Questionable Content". :)

Back in the day, Kris sent me a review photocopy of Milkmaid #1, and I reviewed it on RAC.Reviews (it's probably googleable, but I'm in a hurry). ISTR my main point about it was that while it was funny and sexy by turns, it had yet to reach the "funny and sexy at the same time" benchmark that Xxxenophile had set.

And that, really, is a valid criticism for a lot of porn comics. They alternate between the sex and the story or the sex and the funny. The good ones had something to offer besides well-drawn kinky porn. The great ones managed to avoid having that "something" grind to a stop while they switched to sex (later issue of Omaha really suffered from putting the story on hold to get in an obligatory goinking). And even when Xxxenophile got all ambitious and did one 72 page story (which, sadly, seems to be the final Xxxenophile), the sex generally either advanced the plot or at least eased the plot to a pause rather than jerking (no pun intended) to a halt.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at August 21, 2005 11:37 PM

Charles -- my core point in that area was simple, actually. I didn't want the column's reaction to become about the debate of what's acceptable in porn and what isn't. Further, there is something to be said about pure fantasy that would never be acted on. Though there's also a line that can be crossed....

It's too big. And not the point of the essay. So I made it clear that wasn't the topic and moved on. ;)

Comment from: Natural Slave posted at August 22, 2005 12:04 AM

I know it's not 'porn' because it's a horrible, horrible thing (in a wonderful, wonderful, way) for other reasons, but I think that flem still holds the record for most explicit sex acts Wilhelm has ever seen in a comic. But then again what are these artfully, funnily done porn comics that you speak of that have characters and story and stuff? Particuarly the one by the Foglios, since they do such nifty work on Girl Genius and the idea of artistic pornography appeals to me. Perhaps its my knee-jerk reaction to euphemism that makes 'lovemaking' a nauseating expression to my ears that makes me unable to call it 'erotica'. That, and I find that non-sexual eros has played a big part in my life and continues to do so and so I don't like the exclusive association of that word with sex.

At heart I'm a lazy man, and I don't like the idea of wading through all that shit to get to the good stuff.


Comment from: BZArcher posted at August 22, 2005 12:17 AM

I can definently agree with what Lesnick's doing, and am glad you're giving him the props he does deserve, for one other reason in addition to everything else (which Dave V. Dom also hit, indirectly) - it's damned hard to write GOOD porn consistently.

Pacing, knowing you're keeping things relatively believable, not dropping the plot in a bucket to allow a sex scene to take place, treating the audience with some respect for their intelligence...this will sound odd, but I generally find that in the types of writing I do on a semi-regular basis (non-pornographic fiction, porn, academic analysis, buisiness analysis), porn is probably the most demanding to write.

After 3 or 4 scripts that I and my editor are happy with, I want to stop writing for a month. I can't imagine the burnout that can build up after writing it for over a year.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at August 22, 2005 12:27 AM

This article warmed my heart and it had nothing to do with the porn aspects of it.

Girly is such an amazingly fun and expressive comic that it's a crime that it's not brought up much. Hell, I think Girly is one of the only webcomics I've ever seen that feels like an animated cartoon for all of its sheer kinetic energy.

I can really see Lesnick getting bored of doing pornography too. The man's been drawing it since his Wendy days, and there's only so much porn one can stand before you start to get bored, if not disgusted outright.

I really sincerely hope Lesnick's successful with this and with bringing Girly to a wider audience. After all, I didn't buy that Cutewendy book for nothing.

(On a side note, this article also made me want to check out Ghastly, which I've been putting off reading for quite a while. Go figure.)

Comment from: Charles Duffy posted at August 22, 2005 12:29 AM

Point made -- and indeed, I realized earlier that your intent in such protestations was to make it clear that your article wasn't intended to be an attack on anyone. The clarification in quesion was made not once but (to my count) three times. Consequently, contrary to merely attempting to avoid stirring up a snakes'-nest, it read (to me) to have a tone of appeasement, or even encouraging social acceptance, towards attitudes which should not be socially acceptable.

That said, given that others aren't generally reacting in this same manner, it seems likely that I'm overreacting. Unless anyone sees fit to extend this thread further, I'll thus avoid further stirring up a snakes'-nest where one is obviously unwanted.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at August 22, 2005 12:29 AM

Also, what I was trying to get across was that what really got me was just how much Eric was trying to push Girly as being legitimately and amazingly good and doesn't deserve to live in the shadow of Lesnick's porn works. Re-reading my above post, I don't quite think I got that across.

Comment from: Doc posted at August 22, 2005 12:40 AM

I think I can pretty much gah-ron-tee that sexy losers contains far more explicit sex than flem. In fact, though I love flem dearly and still go back and re-read the jay storylines regularly, where flem tends to use sex itself as the joke (when it is talking about sex and not for instance no-legged dogs named keilbasa, though actually there was a convent of nymphomaniac nuns in that storyline too wasn't there?) sexy losers is more about 'hey isn't it funny what we'll do to get off' being the joke. Reading the comments on some of the earlier comments give you a good idea of what Hard (I think it's Hard?) was trying to achieve.

Sean: I definitely understand where you are coming from, I think it is the 'Yeah but I'm laughing AT it, not getting off on it' thing, it lets you distance yourself from the material. I think thats what my subconcious is doing at least.

Eric I really enjoyed reading that, as someone who first got the internet at the impressionable age of 13 I've seen my fair share of positive and negative porn and agree that the positive is always more enjoyable and so I find it odd that it seems to be so rare.

I have to wonder if this comes again back to some kind of subconcious distancing from/shame of the sex act. Society can be bloody bizzare at times.

Comment from: Doc posted at August 22, 2005 12:43 AM

It's probably not clear but the first part of that post was directed at Wilhelm (damned peoples posting too quick) but then it kind of trailed off into a rant on sexy losers and how its funny without needing to be graphic but being graphic anyway which somehow didn't actually get explained.

Me communicate good.

Comment from: ANT Link posted at August 22, 2005 1:34 AM

Don't have much to say here that doesn't seem to already have been said, but I was really glad to see an article like this written. Not just for giving Josh Lesnick more seemingly well-deserved publicity (I confess to having never heard of him before now, but it sounds like I'll have to start reading his stuff) but for openly admitting not only that you like porn, but sex-positive porn. The very reason that I don't enjoy more porn is exactly because so little of it is positive, just-people-wanting-to-have-sex-and-doing-so-for-the-fun -of-it kind of stuff. So I'm glad to see you bringing some attention to it and giving us positive porn lovers even more comicky goodness links to check out. Thanks dude.

P.S. Kirabug - What was the name of that anime you lent your friend? I've actually had this kind of positive porn discussion before with a friend who's also looking for more happy stuff, whether it's animated or live-action, so I'm wondering if it's one he mentioned or one neither of us had heard before. I'd be happy to share the names of the stuff he's told me about in exchange, though I haven't seen them all myself and therefore can't guarantee their quality, but they're there if you'd like them. Thanks in advance.

Comment from: Tangent posted at August 22, 2005 1:42 AM

I suppose it's sad that I never really thought of Lesnick's work as pornographic. I mean, I'd even read some of his Slipshine works... but I'd read Girly first, so I thought of him in terms of "Girly" instead of Slipshine.

Guess I'm just an innocent... ;)

Robert A. Howard


Comment from: gwalla posted at August 22, 2005 2:59 AM

XXXenophile is made of awesome. I've got the TPB. (Love the cover: a man zipping up a Godzilla suit while eyeing an asian woman on the bed dressed as Tokyo; on the back, you see from outside the room, with the silhouette of Godzilla and little buildings flying into the air, while a guy dressed as Mothra and two little naked fairy twins stand on the ledge outside the window).

Milkmaid is a fun idea, but the execution leaves a little to be desired. Plus, it's been on hiatus for longer than many KeenspaceComicGenesis comics.

Those who like silly/sweet porn comics should check out Pawn, which is pretty cute. Not much sex yet but loads of nudity. Unfortunately, the fifth part (Mr. Andersson is one of those artists who batch-updates in terms of "issues") is taking forever and a day to come out.

Comment from: gwalla posted at August 22, 2005 3:00 AM

Dammit, there was supposed to be a strike through "Keenspace". The Movable Type coders need to be slapped with a meat cleaver.

Comment from: Alexis Christoforides posted at August 22, 2005 4:16 AM

I never thought of Josh Lesnick as the 'porn guy', just the 'guy who did Wendy/Cutewendy and for the life of me I cannot remember which is which'.

From the three comics of his that I've read (not counting The Pet Elf), I think I've enjoyed Cutewendy the most. It was usually absurd, but in a 'clean' way; Girly mixes impossibilities with a its storyline(s) with a regularity I find somehow tiring.

(But that's my humble opinion, and that doesn't mean I don't read/laugh at Girly!)

I guess I'm not in the majority on this subject (Eric obviously talks to a lot more webcomic fans than I do) but if Josh's association with porn is what kept him from becoming (more) popular, then color me surprised. I had no idea.

And since we know he reads Websnark, perhaps he'll answer this himself!

Comment from: quiller posted at August 22, 2005 4:23 AM

Hmm, well the closest thing to a non-humourous porn comic I read is probably Tang's Adult Comic, which has its humor but has a fair amount of dramatic moments. Flipside has a lot of sex, but there is too much else going on to call it porn. Pretty much every other one I read is as much about the humor as the sexy. Honestly, I think sex and humor are a natural, easy combination. Sex and drama is harder to pull off, particularly if you take it to pornographic extremes.

When I think of Josh, though, my first thought is "absurdist" not "porn". I've looked at the Elf thing on Slipshine, and I can see why he'd be tired about it. Most porn plots are just not very interesting.

And yes, XXXenophile was awesome.

Comment from: Shaenon posted at August 22, 2005 5:40 AM

Hell, as far as I'm concerned, Phil Foglio is Phil "XXXenophile" Foglio. That was the first work of his that I read. I think it just depends on what your first exposure to the artist happens to be. I only know the Cutewendy guy through Cutewendy.

At this year's Comic-Con, my husband happened across XXXenophile for the first time. Before that, he'd known Foglio primarily as the guy who drew "Stanley and His Monster" and "Angel and the Ape." I think he was kinda freaked out.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at August 22, 2005 7:11 AM

Hell, as far as I'm concerned, Phil Foglio is Phil "XXXenophile" Foglio. That was the first work of his that I read. I think it just depends on what your first exposure to the artist happens to be.

My first exposure to Foglio was his adolescent (that is, literally) Star Trek fanzine stuff. That's why I was so freaked out the other day when I realized while posting here that he's nearly fifty. (Well, the fact of my wife's history of marrying his ex-roommates had something to do with it too.)

Comment from: Doc posted at August 22, 2005 9:38 AM

I'm sorry, this is really no one's business.

But ex-roommates plural?

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at August 22, 2005 9:49 AM

I'm sorry, this is really no one's business.

But ex-roommates plural?

My wife's first husband had just been Phil's roommate when they married, and I had just been Phil's roommate when she and I married. We're celebrating eighteen years come October though so Kaja, I fear, is out of luck.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at August 22, 2005 10:23 AM


Comment from: Kris@WLP posted at August 22, 2005 11:36 AM

A few notes.

Eric: Thanks for the shout-out. However, _Chocolate Milkmaid_ and maybe _Stellar_ are the WLP's web comics I'd call "positve superhero porn." Chichi-chan isn't a superhero, we haven't got to the porn parts of _Peter is the Wolf_ yet even if you equate werewolves with superheroes...

... and guys, *The Magnificent Milkmaid* isn't a web comic at all. It's a print comic project that has two issues of its own plus various short stories in *Bootleg.* It's not on hiatus, because it's not MEANT for regular updates.

Yes, a lot of the funny stops when the sex begins, because the harder-core the sex is, the more the focus of the story is on the sex, the less opportunity there is for humor. (This is true even with *XXXenophile*.) _Chichi-chan_ focuses on parody, satire, and gags, not sex, but _Chocolate Milkmaid_ focuses on sex, with the jokes as a side-issue.

That said... Dave, what did you think of the "Android Woman" CM story?

Comment from: Kris@WLP posted at August 22, 2005 11:45 AM

As for Josh, my first encounters with his work were porn, back when I worked for Antarctic Press. I'm sad to see him leave porn behind him, since he used to have fun with it once upon a time, but I can understand all too well. I hate writing the (pardon the term) blow-by-blow choreography in sex comic scripts- it's all been done before, and there are only so many variations on the theme.

Still, I have no plans to give it up myself, even if I thought making the announcement would get me an article on Comixpedia. }:-{D I write to amuse myself more than anything else, and I find sexual situations very amusing indeed. Furthermore, as I discovered yesterday morning, I have more than enough ideas to keep doing positive, sex-is-fun porn so long as I can find time and energy to write the scripts and stories.

But I don't think of porn when I think of Josh. (Well, except when I ponder if I can talk him into doing something new for WLP, but I have that thought of any artist.) My favorite aspect of Josh's work is his ability to pop non sequiturs and turn them into glorious comedy. I haven't kept up with _Girly_ as much as I ought, mostly because the load times are so long for dialup, but when I do spot-check the strip, I always come away with a laugh.

Josh makes the truly peculiar fun. That's what makes him great, and that's what he should be remembered for- not the porn.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at August 22, 2005 11:53 AM

Eric: Thanks for the shout-out. However, _Chocolate Milkmaid_ and maybe _Stellar_ are the WLP's web comics I'd call "positve superhero porn." Chichi-chan isn't a superhero, we haven't got to the porn parts of _Peter is the Wolf_ yet even if you equate werewolves with superheroes...

Good enough, Kris -- but my point wasn't "all WLP comics could be seen as sex-positive Superhero porn." My point was "even those comics on WLP that could be seen as sex positive superhero porn have other... um... attributes that leap out at the reader more significantly."

And if someone wants me to elaborate -- tough. My sister reads this thing. ;)

Comment from: Kris@WLP posted at August 22, 2005 1:06 PM

"And if someone wants me to elaborate -- tough. My sister reads this thing. ;)"

Well, that's what the URLs are for. }:-{D

Those who are curious can read for themselves.

Tomorrow, if I remember, I'll let you know what your link has done to WLP traffic...

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at August 22, 2005 6:07 PM

The android story reminded me strongly of Karate Girl #1, albeit with a better command of English (mind you, the Engrish in Karate Girl is part of its charm).

Mind you, it read more like the first part of a story than a full story in itself. It was Input Lass #1, Guest Starring Chocolate Milk-Maid, or something like that, rather than a part of CM's own story (which sort of derailed from H-Formula Number 9 to deal with the android).

Comment from: SuperHappy posted at August 22, 2005 9:21 PM

http://www.livejournal.com/users/superhappy/183566.html =)

I can't think of anything to say. Yeep! I am speechless!

Comment from: gwalla posted at August 22, 2005 10:02 PM

Incidentally, Kris, there are a lot of broken links to images onthe WLP site.

Comment from: SuperHappy posted at August 22, 2005 11:30 PM

Incidentally, it's actually a bit hard to say if I actually was becoming known just for my porn or not.

It seemed to me that people who've known my work over the years did not. But with people who only vaguely knew of me, that's another matter. And I'm vaguely known by a lot of people.

Concrete examples of this are few and far between (the only glaring example was the way Rosenberg linked to me during the New York panel), but there was a lot of insinuation and general artist intuition that lead me to believe that if it wasn't happening, I was in danger of it.

It sounds silly when I say it like that, but, well... that's the case.

Of course, that's all kind of moot when the fact is, I don't like drawing this anymore, and I believe I cen get by with my other comics, and that's pretty much that. =)

Comment from: siwangmu posted at August 23, 2005 2:41 AM

I'm very, very inexperienced with porn (which is not because I'm better or more moral or less sex-crazed than you, just because I'm a college-aged girl who hasn't broken out of her shy socialization yet), but I can offer a guess at one factor in the lack of sex-poxitive (what a wonderful term!) porn: women are (traditionally) not supposed to want sex, so a woman who has a sex-positive attitude might be a less desirable figure.

A similar idea regarding socialized female self-image is part of how I explain the quintessential romance novel plotline, "I had no choice but to sleep with him (sold/kidnapped/forced into prostitution/etc.) but then he fell in love with me and I with him so it's not creepy and then we lived happily ever after." The heroine doesn't have to suffer shame due to wanting sex or having sexual feelings, because it's not her "choice," but all of the encounters are clearly oriented towards fulfilling her and a deepening emotional bond between the future-permanent-partners. Although lots of the books are trying new and very different setups now, which is pretty awesome.

Uh, not that I've ever read any romance novels.

Comment from: Kris@WLP posted at August 23, 2005 10:24 AM

Gwalla: Could you be more specific as to which image links, where? (By email, please, redneck@wlpcomics.com ; there are a TON of pages on the WLP site and I'm on dialup.)

siwangmu: I have read a few romances, at least modern ones. They're porn, often quite explicit porn. And yes, they're rape fantasies... written by women, for women, which truly disturbs me.

Comment from: Kris@WLP posted at August 23, 2005 12:43 PM

Hits thus far:

8-21 - 58

8-22 - 111

So a bit more traffic, but not a flood exactly.

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