On the Topic of Sex

Dylan Horrocks’ Three Tijuana Bibles turns the old timey format (learn about the original TBs here) on its head with some genuinely erotic contemporary moments. It originally ran in Fantagraphics Dirty Stories 2, but it works well online.

NSFW, Adults only, etc… (thanks to Tom for spotting this one first).

It’s worth saying once in a while, so I’ll say it again now:

Sex is a huge part of life. There’s no reason that honest, explicit depictions of it can’t be a huge part of literature and art, including comics. The idea that explicit sex has to be forever hidden, that the audience’s “imagination” is the only appropriate place for such things, is misguided at best, and at worst it betrays the unhealthy self-loathing that we really need to shake off as a species.

Horrocks, like Moore and Gebbie in Lost Girls, does use the audience’s imagination to connect the dots in some powerful ways. It’s true that what isn’t seen can be erotic. But he’s also not shy about using whichever “dot” gets the job done, nor should he be.

Discussion (9)¬

  1. Steve Mackin says:

    Funny. The only reason I even know what a Tijuana Bible is is because of Watchmen.

    I thought this story would take a left turn, but it didn’t, and I was disappointed. I guess they can’t all be winners.

  2. Sandra says:

    I like the last one of these a lot, unlike Lost Girls. I’m pretty angry with Moore and Gebbie for Lost Girls.

  3. Thanks for the link, Scott! I agree, sex is a natural part of life and there’s no reason to hide that part in literature and art. Horrocks does this extremely well.

    But I draw a strict line between sex as part of a story, and sex as something completely unrelated to the story, forced in to impress the reader with “hey, look, I can draw naked women”. There is a difference between sex as a natural part of life and webcartoonists breaking into a storyline to say “Hey, since the strip’s most popular character isn’t in this storyarc, here’s a picture of her topless”.

    Sex is beautiful. When used wrong, it’s just speculative. I stopped watching “Smallville” when they replaced their plot with “let’s see, what kind of skimpy outfit can we put Kristin Kreuk and/or Erica Durance in today?”.

    Oh, and coincidentally (seriously!), I blogged about this topic myself yesterday:


    • Interesting…I kind of liked the link with the topless character. If for no other reason that it was completely self-aware and calling attention to its own absurdity. But I totally see what you’re saying.

      I think that Smallville was hit and miss from way before it got trashy. Some episodes were brilliant, but many were Dawson’s Creek with superpowers. For me, impossible to watch without vomiting. I don’t mind the romance and the drama, but I will not tolerate tween angst. Just my opinion. And yes, on top of that, it can be trashy.

      I’m actually creating a webcomic now with some friends of mine that has a lot to do with sex. I hope it meets your criteria! All kidding aside, though, I really liked your work.

      • P.S. Clarify: I actually LIKE romance and drama. Just want to make that clear in case people mistakingly think I want a show just about action sequences. Sorry, now I’ve completely derailed from the topic in question. Sex in Comics. Right.

  4. Will Curwin says:

    Yeah I agree! Sex is like some boogyman in America. My mom is british, so once every two years we go to England and their attitde is so different. They are alot more anti-violence in media and see sex as a everday life thing. So I say valid as a topic in any media with disceastion.

    I don’t be to hard on Moore. Writing a 3 volume story around fictional sexual exsperice can’t be easy. (sorry for bad spelling.)

  5. Bryn Colvin says:

    Good erotica isn’t necessarily graphic, it speaks to the senses, elicits emotional response. In any genre. Comics ought to be a superb medium for truly beautiful stuff in this vein.

  6. Michael says:

    Well, I’m a a grown man with 4 kids, so I think I’ve got the basics down in that area, but at the same time, one of the real issues I’ve run into as a parent is trying to sort through the increasing sexualization of comics ( and culture in general) to find quality work that can be enjoyed in a multi-generational setting without exposing my kids to things that frankly, they aren’t ready for. I know, I know, I’m the parent, that’s my job, and I do it, also being careful what I expose myself to as a Christian. But I do find it interesting that for centuries, quality stories could be and were told without having to throw graphic sexual content into it. There are a myriad amount of ways to explore the deepness and richness of human relationships without so much of a jiggle factor. In the same way a lot of writers know feel they aren’t being ‘gritty’ or ‘real’ unless they sprinkle their dialogue with vulgarity, a lot of visual art has slid towards gratuity for the sake of itself.
    But hey, what do I know?

  7. Will Curwin says:

    I compely understand what you mean mike. Have stupidly thrown sex in almost all media just to “spice things up.” But if we get worry about whose hands it falls into culture will stop to grow. (just look at what happened with the Comics code and the Hayes code in the 50’s.

    Steve Muckin, What f*!k do you mean by a left turn Mean?