Much like comics themselves, spicy art is often dismissed in the mainstream as low-brow and trashy. Well, it’s time to throw your taboos out the windows, because like any genre, the art of making things sexy has some pretty sublime and beautiful moments — just check out the gorgeous and highly pornographic “Lost Girls” by “Watchmen” creator Alan Moore if you don’t believe me. And he’s not alone — some of the biggest and most-respected artists and creators in comics have tried their hand at pin-ups or straight-up pornography over the years. Chris Sims of the Invincible Super-Blog even made a list.
DAN DECARLO PIN-UPS:
Among comics fans, Dan DeCarlo is best known as the defining artist for “Archie” and the creator of Josie and the Pussycats and Cheryl Blossom, which casts the pin-up work he did for men’s magazines in a whole new light — especially since his subjects often look like very, VERY grown-up versions of Betty and Veronica.
While nowhere near the actual pornography of “Lost Girls” or “Small Favors,” the love interest of Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer introduced a whole new generation of comics readers to ’40s pinup queen Bettie Page.
In what was undoubtedly Dr. Wertham’s worst nightmare, the Elementals (by future “Fables” creator Bill Willingham) were a super-team that would occasionally just take a few issues off to get it on. And let’s be honest here, if Marvel had done that with the X-Men in the early ’90s, they’d STILL be counting the money.
In what has to be the best/worst/best again origin story of all time, Adam Warren’s “Empowered” came about when the popular artist of “The Dirty Pair” (a comic about two girls in metal bikinis blowing things up) was commissioned to draw a super-heroine with an easily-shredded costume in bondage, and ended up creating an entire world built around a neurotic aspiring heroine with an ironic name and one of the most romantic relationships in comics, all while keeping things as adult as you can possibly get without any actual nudity.
And speaking of Hughes, it might not come as much of a surprise that one of the first jobs for the current king of “good girl” art was drawing “Hericane” for Penthouse Comix, a series about a heroine who gained her powers from, and we are not making this up, “a combination of a TNT explosion and oral sex.”