These Things Are Fun, and Fun Is Good

I like porn comics.
But how? You (my imaginary antagonist) ask, How can a feminist, a writer, someone who has fought for the legitimacy of comics, be so fond of such undignified smut?
Well, Virginia, as one of my heroes, the inimitable Tom Lehrer, once said, ‘Dirty books are fun.’ And, in the words of that literary luminary Theodore Geisel, ‘Fun is good.’
I was talking with a friend about Jenna Jameson’s upcoming comic series. ‘I’m looking forward to it,’ she said. ‘It looks really fun. And I like fun comics.’ I do, too. I like knock-down, drag-out fight scenes where the combatants take time to spout off witty one-liners. I like over-the-top characters, dark deco architecture, pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo, and technology that’s cooler than it is practical. I like self-narrating private dicks in trench coats and slouchy fedoras, heroes who yell their own sound effects, self-consciously bad puns, purple prose, little girls with heavy artillery, and the occasional panty shot. I will read almost any comic that features a superhero in aviator goggles. I like pirates. I like the Wolverine series where he bums around Madripoor and fights vampires. Speaking of which, I also like sexy, brooding vampires.
I recently purchased a page of original art. It is a beautifully drawn splash of a wrestling ring in which a muscular man in a unitard is pinning a giant squid from outer space. It is awesome.
I’m extremely fond of Adam Hughes’s pinup art, because it’s both fun and sexy, and because the women in it look like they’re wise to you. I like pretty girls. I also like pretty boys. I like deliberately silly bikini pinups of characters who generally wouldn’t be caught dead in bikinis.
Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to find comics that are both fun and good. Walt Simonson’s run on The Mighty Thor is brilliant; it includes the most sweepingly epic, heart wrenchingly human stories I’ve read (not to mention really awesome use of sound effects). It also includes several issues in which Thor is a giant frog and a scene in which he solemnly tells a punk kid that he cannot wear his hair in a Mohawk because ‘Mine helmet would fall off.’ Hellboy spans a similar range, as do James Robinson’s Starman series and Gail Simone’s run on Birds of Prey. In none of these do the slapstick and the silly negate or diminish the quality. ‘Pancakes’ does not detract from Mike Mignola’s masterful use of mythology. That Misfit’s battle cry is ‘Dark Vengance!’ makes her poignant origin story even more effective.
Sometimes, comics are just fun. And that’s okay, too.
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August 6th, 2007
Categories: Birds of Prey, Hellboy, porn, pulp, Starman, Thor . Author: Rachel Edidin