The release of the Danger Girl 20th anniversary and the return of Lady Death got me thinking about pin-up girl comics. When I look at pages from Danger Girl, I see a ton of fun and some wonderfully exaggerated art that, frankly, you just don’t see anymore.
That’s not to say there is a lack of “sexual content” in comics. Just flip through a random issue of Low or Saga and you’ll find nudity or intercourse. By pin-up girl comics, I mean artistic renditions of beautiful women in alluring poses and outfits. In pin-up art, sexuality is more suggestive than explicit, and overall, the tone is upbeat and fun.
I can understand why many artists have shied away from doing pin-up girl comics. Comics with sexualized female characters is a factor in alienating female readers. Recent comics like Witchblade have toned down the eroticism to appeal to a wider demographic.
That being said, I believe that pin-up girls still have artistic validity and a place in the comic book landscape. Therefore, I made a list of things I want to see from new pin-up girl comics. Please note that these principles could also apply to pin-up guy comics.
Maintain Artistic Quality
Compare the artistic quality of the cover of the new Barbarella to the interior art. If a reader picks up a comic based upon an attractive cover, they expect the art to be consistent throughout.
Tell Strong Stories
Pin-up girl comics can deliver more than just cheesecake. The quality of the story should match the quality of the art. Take Sky Doll for example, which tells the story of a rogue pleasure robot, while weaving in cutting religious and political satire. We have a glut of comics where the focus is on being gritty and violent. There’s room for pin-up girl comics with a focus on humor and romance.
Show Different Types of Sexy
Too many pin-up girls look identical, but with different hair colors. There shouldn’t be one type of pin-up girl or pin-up girl comic. There are lots of beautiful people out in the world. Look in a new direction and get inspired.
Girls Like Pretty Girls Too
Newsflash: there are women who feel romantically attracted to other women. Why not make some pin-up girls that would be appealing to queer women? This ties back into showing multiple types of sexy– showing pin-up girls that are androgynous could be exciting new territory. Several of my previous girlfriends have been bisexual, and I’d like to have a fun, sexy comic that we could enjoy together.
I’ll conclude by saying that I think pin-up comics are important. It’s a legacy of what we, as artists, think is beautiful. Future generations can be inspired by what we create and do their own versions of our pin-ups. Suggestive content of any kind will always ruffle peoples’ feathers, but life’s no fun without being a little naughty.