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Nudity in webcomic: Why it's good for you!

Consider this:

This is the internet, not the US of A, not Iran, not your mummy's ranch, not the church, and so on.

On the internet, we should be able to do what we want to. Anything's possible.

So, why can't we have some naked women (& men for the ladies) on online comics?

Re:

Pepius wrote:
Another big problem I see with nudity, is when in a bed scene, almost everyone seem to gain some level of telekinesys, just to make sure the sheet always cover what it has to.
Ah yes, the legendary Barely Hidden Nipple Phenomenon, scourge of the entertainment world. Once, just to annoy the censors, I staged a bed scene where the sheet just happens to not quite go far enough. Take that!!

There's no reason why we can't. As far as I know, there never really has been. In fact, there ARE online comics with naked women.

The question is: why DO you want naked women ("and men for the ladies") in webcomics?

Dumb answer: Why not?

Hope it's not a lousy answer:
Because in (US) mainstream comics, we are always being teased by innuendoes, but we never get "pay off". When will we see a nude Wonder Woman? When wil we see a buff Witchblade?

Yet at the same time, when we will see a naked Monique of Sinfest? Or a naked Jade of Pvp? Or a naked Missy of Mall Monkeys? Which leaves a dilemma for most of us readers: What repercussions will happen? And it's not concerned parents I'm worried about, it's the readers. Will we lose readers once our fave online comic guys & gals lose their clothes? Will the characters lose their "sexy" mystique?

At the same time, Bruno loosen her top once or a few times. Is there any good reason the likes of Jade or Monique shouldn't lose theirs?

m_estrugo's picture

You see, on my webcomics, I -already- do whatever I want. Trouble is, I don't want to put nudity on my comics (unless you consider the cartoony lack of pants of my chars as nudity, of course). :>

The fact that I'm free to do something doesn't mean I HAVE to do it.


The question then becomes: what's the POINT of them being naked?

If it's just for seeing them naked, I suspect that a number of artists won't be doing you that favour.

Some webcomics already feature partial-to-full nudity already, yet aren't just doing it for the sake of showing nudity, either. ROCR already does so, for example, and no one seems to really mind, either way. It fits the story, and as such, does not cause any real problems.

Meanwhile, what would be the point of showing Jade or 'Nique in the nude out of the blue? Nothing in the current directions or overall themes/makeups of the strips in question would ever really lead to such a scenario.

It'd purely be for titillation purposes, be totally gratuitous, and for THAT, people'd likely have something to say.

Sure, there's nothing wrong with nudity in life, but there's nothing wrong with not-nudity, either. It all depends what the motivations behind the desire for nudity or not-nudity are, really.

Woo! Yay for readers getting whatever they want for free!

You're basically asking why Britney Spears doesn't do more music videos topless, or why more actresses in general don't play more full-frontal roles.

Damonk has pointed out pretty much all the reasons webcomics DON'T do what you're asking. I figured I'd also note that there is a growing market for pornographic webcomics (not that I associate nudity with porn, but your mention of "pay-off" makes me think this is the right thing to mention). So if you'd like to see that sort of thing, check out http://www.slipshine.net and pay the very fair subscription fee. ;)

Readers wanting to see nude webcomic characters can see a fully naked Pfeiffer in almost every episode of Welcome to Heck.

In my opinion, it all depends on the comic and whether it can fit nudity into its normal plot feel and such.

For example, for many comics, it just wouldn't work. Many comics just aren't made to just suddenly have nudity in them and still have the comic retain consistency. It'd be too much a jolt to the readers. Then again, there's also comics out there whose entire POINT is gratuitous-to-the-point-of-being-downright-silly nudity, and it's kinda made clear from the get-go.

So, it really depends on the comic, I say. I agree with estrugo, just because you CAN do something doesn't always mean you SHOULD.

John Troutman's picture

Why didn't I think of that before? Nudity for the sake of nudity! Pointless titilation for the masses! IT'S GENIUS!

*starts writing a press release for Comixpedia, detailing his new Keenspot Premium feature - GLISTENING NAKED BOOBS IN THE MORNING DEW*

I think this thread was originally inspired by G.W. Bushes proposed new anti-internet-pornography bill which, if it becomes law, will make it illegal to host anything considered "pornography" on a server inside the United States, and for any citizen or resident or the United States to operate a pornographic site even off-shore. It won't go very far (I hope) because it's proposed definition of pornography would include such things as merely describing a woman's breasts.

I suspect it's nothing more that "Won't someone please think of the children" posturing by Bush to suck up to his biggest supporters, the Religious Right with no real intention to follow through.

Still scary though.

VERY scary, that.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

The reason it's easier for Bush to target "internet pornography" rather than try to take down the magazine and video publishing groups is because the magazine/video groups a a little more of a united lobby force than the internet ones which tend to be more independent. You can bet that will change if it appears Bush's cunning plan has any real teeth in it.

The completely ambiguous nature of the law's description of pornography really gets under my skin.

As an "adult humour" webcomic artist, I find it extremely offencive when people describe and dismiss my comic as "pornography". My goal as an adult humour webcomic artist it to make you laugh at something "naughty", not to make money by making you wish to masturbate which is essentially what pornography is.

By "you" I mean the "general third party", not you specifically Damonk as I can wholeheartedly assure you I do not now, nor have I ever had any intention to benefit financually from your masturbation habbits. I swear!

Contrary to popular belief, nudity can exist in a comic without being lewd:

http://www.loxieandzoot.com/

It's full-frontal (and every other angle), very detailed nudity, but it ain't porn.

My point of view is that, aside from a pornographic comic, nudity should be only used for the sake of the story (blood as well, for that matter), and I think you should do a distinction between a mere porn fanwork like let's say, "The queen of topless fighters 2K4" and some erotic comic in which the author tries to, let's say, make an study about some facet of sex. In that sense, the works from Hiroyuki Utatane, while may be qualified simply as "porn", often portrays characters with strange personalities and obsessions, that probably will leave you thinking, as in the short story "alouettes", in which, during a sex scene, the dialog tells us the story of a girl and his "love-boy", which "modded" himself to the point of looking exactly like her (aside from the inbetween legs part), for example. Another case would be the adult humor, like in the works by Ralf Köning (although I recognize all I've seen is a movie adaptation of "The most desired man").
That being said, I really hate the mainstream superheroe comics tendency of showing just as much as the law allows for not being considered porn, in almost every panel. Image had a lot to do with that (Consider for a moment the comparision between Witchblade and Darkness. Both portrays some sort of organic magical "suit-entity" (not unlike Marvel symbiotes). The former almost always shred the (female) user clothes, while not covering most of the torso, while the later did not, and also covered the (male user) whole body up to the eyes).
Another big problem I see with nudity, is when in a bed scene, almost everyone seem to gain some level of telekinesys, just to make sure the sheet always cover what it has to. An example of this was seen in the last GPF's weeks. The author warned their readers of the somewhat adult situation, with didn't want to show nudity at all, which made the scene least realistic.

With all that being said, let me just wrap this post with a final message:

I LOVE BOOBIES!!!oneone :D

[quote:247a3b7e6d="Ghastly"][quote:247a3b7e6d="William Beckerson"]Feh! I show vaginas all the time.

I see your vagina and raise you a penis.

btw, that sounds just wrong :shock:

Pepius, more power to you!

Billy Beck, when will you show us some Ts of your T&As?

Guest, no, it's not about Dubya, but thanx for bringing it up!

I'd say we see as much nudity in webcomics as the authors deem worthy. The beauty part of webcomics is that you have the freedom to do whatever they want, given the technological limits - there's no "universal guideline" about what's right or wrong.
If there's not as much skin as possible in certain webcomics, it's probably because those particular authors don't make it a high priority to show it - the same as violence, swearing, gore, or product placement.

The counterpoint would argue that comic book companies often use sex as a marketing tool (check out any Witchblade cover for more info), so webcomickers have the freedom to show whatever they want without being told to gratuitiously tear Lois Lane's clothing for no reason.

*shrug*

-JustinPie

Re:

Anonymous wrote:
Billy Beck, when will you show us some Ts of your T&As?
Y'know, looking over it, I don't really draw boobies do I? I guess it's because I'm trying to draw people in what I consider "naturally nude" situations and the scenes had people doing stuff with their hands, which are located around the torso.... Regina's introduction being the exception. Hmmmmm.. I guess I'm just not really a T&A artist. Chugworth Academy on the other hand... :wink:

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Porn is everywhere even in videogames. I for one salute our new porn overlords.

(Incidently, the Michael Jackson "Moonwalker" screen caps are particularily creepy yet prophetic).

On the subject of censor bars and convenient wee bits of scenery designed to cover up the nudity, unless that is actually part of the joke I can't stand it at all (and even as part of the joke it's getting way too overplayed to be funny anymore). If you're going to use nudity in a story then have the balls to go all the way and use nudity in your story. Using the cop-out of censor bars or bits of scenery is just trying to have your cake and eat it too. You want to attract attention with titilation, but you don't want to actually risk offending someone and turning them away.

Of course that might just be my liberal Canadian ideologies verses conservative American bible-beltery.

They wear their balls on the inside...

Uncle Ghastly's picture

I think those are called "ovaries".

The seam in your nutsack used to be your vagina. Then your ovaries turned into testicles, and dropped out of your body, your clitoris became a cock and your vagina sealed up. And you did all in a couple of weeks, you wacky fetus.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Incidently, when you get a vasectomy, they cut you open along your nutsack seam. That way when it heals the scar is almost un-noticable.

I can't find any.

It's rare that I actually find *vaginas* in webcomics. Quim from the front, yeah, but usually with the labia closed up or fur in the way. I want more actual vagina.

Actually, I want to know why the cervix is so seldom depicted in webcomics. Does no one read Annie Sprinkle?

Re:

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Quote:
Y'know, when I was in Japan, hanging around 7/11 and reading the porno-manga ... just because everyone else was and I didn't want to be the odd man out... I noticed that the censorship laws have become so lax there that you could see just what you're describing. With all of the technical detail you've come to expect from your Japanese pornographer.
Yeah I've noticed it's now become just a tiny little black pixel or a whited out spot somewhere random on the genitals and it seems to satisfy the censor laws. I suspect this law will go the way of the "No long-necked beer bottles" law that Canada used to have. The reason why Canadian breweries all adapted the universal "stubbie" beer bottle was because some provinces passed laws that banned long necked beer bottles because they could be used as a weapon in a bar fight (the long neck makes a nice handle to hold to smash the bottle over someone's head, then the broken bottle makes a pretty good face shredder). Since some provinces allowed long necked bottles but some didn't it was cheaper and easier for the breweries to just make a standard "stubbie" bottle they could all use in any province. Come the mid 80s one company decided to make their beer stand out a bit more by returning to the classic "long neck" bottle. The law banning long necked bottles seemed to be ignored in the provinces it was in place so soon other breweries started making "long neck" bottles of their own. The law may well still be in place in the provinces where long necks were banned, but it's become obsolete. Interestingly enough, once everyone started selling beer in long neck bottles it didn't take the breweries too long to realize that if they standardised their long necked bottles then they could all save a lot of money on the bottles so most Canadian beers now use identicle long necked bottles apart from a few microbreweries who use their own bottle designs to stand apart from the crowd. Some of the microbreweries have returned to the now classic "stubbie" bottle for their designs, cashing in on the nostalgia of 30 something Gen-Xers who remembered their dads parked infront of the TV, watching the hockey game, "stubbie" in hand. Incidently, I was of the last generation old enough to have legally drank beer from a "stubbie" back before they became obsolete. Will all this mark a return to the stubbies by the major breweries? Who knows. Lots of beer drinkers would like that (you got a couple extra millilitres of beer in a stubbie even though they were shorter).

Geh, when did stubbies vanish altogether from the general landscape? When I was living in Toronto/Hamilton, I dimly recall it still being an option from major breweries, but only something you could do if you wanted large quantities of any given beer. Since I didn't drink bottled beer at the time, it wasn't really an issue, though.

They sell boxes of mini-stubbies here. It's really strange.

Bob Corona's picture

I think the stubby arrived in Britain as part of the 80s Antipodean cultural invasion which also brought us Neighbours, Paul Hogan and Men at Work (the band, not the economic concept).

I think it was a coalition of short fat guys who made stubbies go away

Great. So we got stubbies, but I still have to import Kraft Dinner, Ashley MacIssac CDs, and any Rick Mercer stuff I can get my hands on. I hate this country.

Come back to us, Wednesday!

Come back to us!!

I was really worried that I'd alienate my readers if I had nudity, so I asked the people on the forum what they think. They told me that not only is there no reason there shouldn't be nudity, but in a recent strip where I covered up some nudity, it actually *detracted* from the story. "I just had kinky sex with you, but now I shall hide my nipples from you."

So now there's nudity. I like my readers.

I guess it's a fine line between tasteful nudity and pointless T&A, and considering that one of my two main characters is a beautiful elven lesbian, I'm amazed that I've apparently managed to stay on the right side of that line.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

That "I've just had sex with you but now I'm going to cover my breasts" thing is one of the weirdest Hollywood cliche's ever. Especially when it's combined with the "I've just had sex with you but now I'm going to get up and get dressed but I'm going to pull the blankets off the bed to wrap around me so you won't see me naked" cliche.

In all my many many years of having sex with women not once has any of them ever done either of those things.

I think most comics don't show nudity for the reason that most of them aren't geared to show nudity. If it is not the artist's style nor brand of humor, there is no reason.

Personally, I think a lot of comics, even the ones with sex jokes or adult humour are smart to leave the nudity out of it. Jokes that hinge on sexual knowledge are funny because they are literary, not visual, most of the time. The only time I have seen nudity + jokes that worked was Sexy Losers, but that is because it was turning a lot of the stigmas, and obvious humour of lewd/crude or sexual situations on their head. If there are other comics out there like that, then all the better.

But most comics aren't in that style, nor geared for it, so wanting to see some ordinary, particular non-sexual character portrayed as nude really comes off as a more like..fanservicey type bid. I mean, there is porn out there. That's what its there for...to see things in the buff. Most comics don't need nudity to be titillating or funny. Frankly, seeing anyone drawn in the nude in a comic really doesn't strike me as anything noteworthy or funny, unless it was done like the example mentioned before.

I think I heard it somewhere before that if women constantly wore hats as much as they wore pants, that there would be whole magazines devoted to "all hatless" chicks. It is all up to what is covered up, I spose. Leave something to the imagination, and it becomes more intriguing. Take it all off, and it just loses a lot of the mystique, I suppose.

Re:

Shinmeko wrote:
Take it all off, and it just loses a lot of the mystique, I suppose.
Of course, this isn't necessarily a bad thing if you want your leaders to become intimately acquainted with the characters and their lives. Or something like that. P.S. 

Sorry that I haven't read through this entire thread... but, I'd just like to say that if the story calls for it, fine. But if you're puttin' in boobers just to do it, then, meh... whatever.

~Liriel

One problem with some wbcomics is that their authors claim that their works' edgy and push the limit. They do so by having their characters swear or acting out violent urges.

But when it comes to nudity, :P. Really, if Mall Monkeys can put a Sears Tower sized penis in their comic, surely they can put nipples but, NOOOOOO, no nipples, no naked Missy, oh NOOOOOOO.

Mind if I make an angry rant? My beef is with people like Tatsuya Ishida who insists on teasing us readers with their women in scanty clothes but never have the gonads to have them in a raw. For what? To further their humor? To mock our being? If they ARE edgy, they could've gone further. Come one at least give us a few strips or two. We already got your jokes about seeing your women characters in the nude and they wouldn't but it's getting so stale, even monkeys can't even throw it to each other. This is webcomics, not FOX TV!

*phew*

Huzzah~!

*ahem*

Okay, wait... why the hell would you want to see fictional webcomic characters naked O_o?

~Liriel

Why the hell not?

BOOBIES!

scarfman's picture

I've got two characters who are going to start having sex in December. The script for the gag that day calls for the girl to be naked in the last panel. My original plan is for the "shot" to be waist-up and for her to be holding a couple of conveniently-placed wineglasses. I'm trying to decide whether it's a copout - and, if it is, whether I want to rescript or go for it.

On the one hand, Arthur, King of Time and Space is a retelling of a legend that is about nothing if not people having illicit sex with each other. It's not like it'd be out of character. I enjoy nudity in webcomics, and other places, including my own art (not necessarily in any relation to appropriateness to the story, I confess). And I don't get a lot of opportunites for figure drawing.

On the other hand, so far Arthur, King of Time and Space's been pretty family friendly just because that's how I naturally operate. A sudden jarring introduction of nudity and sex might alienate otherwise happy readers. Now if you're going to answer me, "You need to be true to your artistic vision, netprudes be damned!", that's no help because my artistic vision's never before encompassed people having illicit sex with each other like this. I'm not sure how to handle it; readership from previous works and readership new to me with Arthur, King of Time and Space alike aren't used to me handling it. If I'm going to go for it, might a gradual leadup be appropriate, with a few scattered gags between now and then that do feature nudity with conveniently-placed props (which, come to think of it, I've already done a couple of times)?

On the gripping hand, have I mentioned that they're both underage? Though this may or may not have been made explicit in the cartoon before then (it hasn't yet), they'll be 16 and 15 when this happens. This could be viewed as an artistic plus: the sudden jarring introduction of nudity and sex into the strip would be symbolic of the sudden jarring introduction of nudity and sex into the life of the characters. But what kind of fire might I be setting myself up to come under?

Thoughts?

Paul Gadzikowski,
http://www.arthurkingoftimeandspace.com New cartoons daily.

If they're underage, I'd avoid it. Yes it would be historically accurate and all since things happened sooner in that time period but... these days showing the naughty bits of those under 18 is frowned upon. It's not a door I'd want to open.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

You know... I have actually known christian fundamentalists who insist Norman Rockwell was a child pornographer.

Some people are just completely unwilling to accept that nudity does not equal pornography. Sad really. They probably shower with their underwear on.

Re:

eldritchmonkey wrote:
If they're underage, I'd avoid it. Yes it would be historically accurate and all since things happened sooner in that time period but... these days showing the naughty bits of those under 18 is frowned upon. It's not a door I'd want to open.
Exploitation Now showed Jordan naked back in the day.

scarfman's picture

I wrote:

Quote:
I'm trying to decide whether it's a copout - and, if it is, whether I want to rescript or go for it.

Thanks to you who offered your thoughts. Here are a couple offered me by my wife the third-year law student:

1) Other webcomics may have graphic adult material, but other webcomics aren't about King Arthur and subject to hits from fourth graders doing research for class. If I don't keep Arthur, King of Time and Space cosmetically family-friendly I could buy lots and lots of trouble because this happened or because someone decided it could have happened.

2) If I bought that lots and lots of trouble, it could have an adverse effect on her professional standing.

I guess it's copout for me from here on, if that's what it was I was doing, which I hadn't decided.

Paul Gadzikowski,
http://www.arthurkingoftimeandspace.com New cartoons daily.

Re:

scarfman wrote:
I wrote:
Quote:
I'm trying to decide whether it's a copout - and, if it is, whether I want to rescript or go for it.
Thanks to you who offered your thoughts. Here are a couple offered me by my wife the third-year law student: 1) Other webcomics may have graphic adult material, but other webcomics aren't about King Arthur and subject to hits from fourth graders doing research for class. If I don't keep Arthur, King of Time and Space cosmetically family-friendly I could buy lots and lots of trouble because this happened or because someone decided it could have happened.
You could always have the non-kidsafe portions behind a "18 or over only" link.

Re:

m_estrugo's picture

gwalla wrote:
scarfman wrote:
1) Other webcomics may have graphic adult material, but other webcomics aren't about King Arthur...
You could always have the non-kidsafe portions behind a "18 or over only" link.
Or, better yet, not having "18 or over only" sections on your comic. Nudity on comics is OK to me, but I don't feel the URGE to draw nipples and penises and buttocks and rumpcracks all around. Not at this moment, and not on the comics I'm drawing now. Nudity has a special place and a special moment. Nudity doesn't have to invade every and each inch of your comic, or your mentality. So, if I want to draw nipples and penises and buttocks and rumpcracks on a webcomic, some day, I'll do it, and will do it on a comic apart of the ones I'm drawing now, on an environment I consider appropriate. Of course, I won't draw nipples and penises and buttocks and rumpcracks just because, or to be hedgy and vanguardistic and maverick and whatnot. My speciality is humor, and I'll try to make those nipples and penises and buttocks and rumpcracks, and the comic itself, funny, 'cause, you know, the MAIN purpose of ANY comic is to entertain. Fail to entertain an audience, and your comic will fail, in spite of the amount of nipples and penises and buttocks and rumpcracks you draw.


kjc's picture

Nipples and penises and buttocks and rumpcracks OH MY!

I know, the rhythm's off, but it amused me...

Kelly J.

Teague Tysseling's picture

I draw lots of pornific nudity. None of it makes it into my comic though. I selfishly keep all my dirty sketchbooks to myself. Haha, screw the readers, those are my boobie pics.

99% of the time, there is no point in nudity in a story. If you are drawing a comic to titillate, then you have your point. If you are making some artistic statement, that's another point. "Because you could" is the worst reason to do anything. Seeing Monique nude in Sinfest, for example, wouldn't really serve any purpose.

The other thing I don't understand, regarding nudity in comics, is that they're drawings. If you want to see her nude, draw her nude yourself! It's not like only the creator can draw her nudity into canon, and everything else is forged. And on top of that, who cares about drawings? A clothed breast versus a naked one is different by like two lines in most cases.

Kristofer Straub www.starslip.com

I think it depends on why you want to see nudity. You can find it anywhere on the net..I think the tease of it is better though. If you get it all at once...it loses meaning and then becomes boring.

I have to say tho...In my comic Lord Ravage the Drama...My readership went up a lot from one comic where I show a censored photo of me nude. ( I censored my butt.)

If nudity works for you...ummm...go for it.

~Julian