By J.S Wayne
*Cue tranquil music*
When I hear the word “cartoon,” it takes my back to my misspent childhood of He-Man, Transformers, and GI Joe, and the associated toys and action figures. I think about the cumulative years of imagination that contaminated me to the point where I’m wholly unsuitable for a 9-5 desk jockey’s job and that helped create a neophyte writer STOP THE MUSIC!!!
The first inkling the American mainstream had that cartoons were not solely the province of children and emotionally-stunted adults was the wildly imaginative animated movie Heavy Metal. Featuring a hard-driving metal soundtrack and incorporating nearly every genre from sci-fi horror to erotica to fantasy, Heavy Metal was a wake-up call for a generation. I remember it because it was the first cartoon I ever saw featuring exposed breasts and nipples, which as a healthy nine-year-old male made it a REALLY BIG DEAL to me. (Yeah, the caps are intentional: I’m amazed my palms aren’t furry because of the chick with the white hair.)
The way the women were dressed, in a whole lot of not much mostly consisting of a complicated series of straps that barely covered the essentials, was echoed in most of the comic books I started reading around the same time. The women either wore form-fitting bodysuits that in the real world would be so snug you could see their labia or a few wisps of leather or latex not a great deal more modest than the gauzy material that some jurisdictions require exotic dancers to wear around their hips. Don’t believe me? Go over to your local Mecca of Geekdom (aka the comic-book store), grab a random comic book, and open it up. If there’s a woman in the story, 9.9 out of 10 times, she’s wearing this kind of outfit, give or take a cape, a crown, or some kind of accessory designed to do thoroughly unpleasant things to anyone in its path and featuring an elaborate semi-divine back story a la Excalibur.
Now, let me back this bus up for a second before it builds any more momentum and someone gets all the wrong ideas. I’m not saying comic books are bad or are loaded with subliminal messages; far from it! Comic books and movies like Heavy Metal were specifically intended to cater to the budding sexuality, natural curiosity, and feelings of social isolation that plague adolescents. (Oh, yeah, there’s plenty of eye candy for the girls, too. All the guys look like they’ve been dressed by dommes or are so ripped they look like they can bench-press refrigerators.) Comic books offer that little thrill of the forbidden, wrapped up in heavy morality tales and liberally peppered with punches, kicks, slashes, and blasts from various exotic weapons to make them palatable. “It’s a comic book! Little Timmy won’t learn ANYTHING about sex from this.” (Although I myself had some fairly “torrid” fantasies about Marvel Comics’ Psylocke. I say “torrid” because while they were pretty randy for a thirteen-year-old, they were positively pedestrian compared to what I write on a daily basis now!)
And now, here’s the kicker: The point of this little diatribe is that if you read between the lines with a knowing, adult eye, you’re likely to find all kinds of little kinks and fetishes hidden in comic books. The meaning and metaphor will most likely be wholly lost on the kiddies, who just see a good or not-so-good story. They’re not as likely to focus on the exposed “naughty bits” as they are the number of explosions or “Hey! Did you see how Wolverine/Superman/Batman sliced up/blasted/beat up that Sentinel/rogue missile/bad guy?” Thinking on Batman: The whole joke about what REALLY happened behind the scenes with Bruce and Dick has become a little shopworn, but still bears consideration.
A disclaimer: Everything that follows is off the top of my head and the ones I am aware of from personal experience and knowledge. I’m sure that I’ll miss some, but this is by way of example, not the encyclopedia. Any fetishes that I didn’t give specific references for, you can find online with a little research, but trust me: They’re out there. Also, I’m not weighing the relative “goodness” or “badness” of any particular fetish or proclivity; I’m merely acknowledging their existence.
In the broad sweep of the comic book world, you’ve got shadings or blatant mentions of BDSM (Batman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman), GLBTQ (subplots of The Green Lantern, Superman), necrophilia (Not touching this one), voyeurism (Spider-Man, Superman, Batman. . . need I go on?), an entire host of bestiality fetishes (Batman again. . . what’s up with this guy?), and sado-masochism (Insert your favorite comic villain here. If they weren’t getting off on getting pounded on, why would they insist on pissing off the people most likely to push their faces into their brainpans?).
So what does it all mean?
Comic books are a great medium. They have layers to appeal to their nominal target audience, and the messages they convey, of tolerance and justice and being the one to stand against the darkness, are timeless parables written to be accessible to the tween and up set. But if you scratch the surface and take a closer look, somewhere in the colorful costumes and explosions, you can find yourself looking back from the eye-catching pages.
And in the grand scheme of things, that’s the entire point of ANY medium of writing: To see ourselves in a glass, darkly, either an idealized or debased reflection of our own personas, beliefs, and desires. No matter how extreme or well-tolerated, we ultimately just want to be accepted for everything we are, and a truly good book will leave us feeling, at the end, a little less isolated. And that includes our own peculiar kinks, too.
Thanks to Bianca, and all you terrific readers, for letting me come by again and shoot my mouth off. It’s been fun! I look forward to seeing YOUR takes on this notion.
Until next time,
By Cari Silverwood
Is erotic romance any different?
In my first novel, the heroine is woken from a sexy dream by her cocker spaniel, Killer, slurping
her on the face. To me this was just an adorable thing to put into a story. It helped me make
my lady, Danii, real and three dimensional. If I want to engage the reader and get them to dive
into the story and wiggle their toes in the wet sand as the waves sweep toward them, smell the
lemongrass in the Thai meal, or maybe even, hell, get carpet burns off the rug, I have to put in
real stuff. Pets are part of that, and children too.
But one of my readers disagreed vehemently. Killer was the worst thing in my story and from the
sounds of her review, yanked her from the story. Being a little concerned with this, I did a poll of
readers of BDSM and erotic stories. To my relief most readers seem to love stories that have pets
and children in them.
A few didn’t want children in there due to getting worried about the virtual children, as they
called them, but almost everyone wanted pets. Some of their real life anecdotes about cats and
the male dangly bits being latched onto during sex may even make their way into a story. Ouch.
Sorry guys but they were funny in a tears-in-my-eyes way.
Some publishers do specifically demand no children in stories but they seem to be in the
minority. I’m not talking pedophilia here of course; the sex scenes get nowhere near the children,
just as in real life. But letting your heroine have a baby somewhere along the line, or maybe a
children’s party in between all the sexy shenanigans is perfectly okay with me. If it serves the
story, adds something, makes everything clearer and realer, I say go for it.
One proviso that a reader pointed out is that if the pet gets killed off they automatically throw
the book. I’m a bit that way myself. After reading several books where the dog or whatever died
at the hand of the villain, one day I consciously said to myself, no way am I doing that in one of
my books. I hate it when I read about a pet and find I’m making a mental note along the lines of:
Oh-ohh, this author’s put this in just so the death of the pet will make the villain come across as
meaner. Hate hate that with capital letters. HATE.
So if you kill a pet in your story at least give me another happy pet to pat while I sob. And be
prepared to run, real fast. I may be rummaging around in my closet for my antique sabre. I keep
it for burglars and authors that rile me.
Raised from childhood as an assassin, Claire finds her world knocked off kilter when Theo Kevonis, a rich, ex-Air Corp nobleman, rescues her from an airship crash. Being a soldier of a hostile nation she cannot reveal her identity, but Theo sinks his steely Dom fingers into her heart and soul, showing her the pleasures to be found in surrendering to his touch. Captivated, Claire cannot help but bind herself in lie after lie rather than risk losing the one man who’s ever loved her.
When her loathsome commander returns from the dead, her deceit is uncovered. Somehow, Claire must find a way to win back Theo's trust and destroy the man who threatens them both. And Buy Link:
“Stay there,” he said.
She could smell him.
She almost opened her eyes to say something, but instead balanced there. Why she obeyed him, she wasn't sure but it satisfied something primal, something deeply sexual. And letting go like this, made her feel safe.
Anticipation strung her insides tight. She yearned for further caresses. Her cleft swelled.
“Here. Raise your feet.” An article of clothing, both silken cloth and something harder, slid with muffled clicks up each leg. Theo arranged it about her torso, cool beads shifting across her breasts until the garment fitted snugly on her body. Something narrow settled between her legs. She gasped at a throb of pleasure as his fingers played in her moisture. A few more adjustments and he led her off to one side. A light flared on. “There. Open your eyes.”
In a tall mirror, she saw herself, dressed in a black corset paneled with satin. Coming down from a halter, pearl ropes fanned out over each breast with her nipples peeking out between. A tiny skirt of chiffon, divided at the crotch, barely made it as far as her upper thighs. Lines of seed pearls undulated down the satin and a string of larger pearls dove deeply between her legs, emphasizing the split lips of her sex. She could feel it run up between the cheeks of her bottom at the back. Even as she looked, she felt a renewed throb, for every movement she made, from breath to heartbeat to shift of feet, moved the line of pearls and rubbed against her clit.
In the reflection, she saw Theo beyond her shoulder, bare-chested, the ringlets of his black hair stark against his forehead. He raised a satin and pearl choker and positioned it about her neck, clicking it into place. “And these,” he said, holding first one wrist and then the other to snick matching black satin bracelets on her wrists. “They suit you.” From the hardness, metal lurked beneath the black cloth.
Where the choker and bracelets rested on skin, her pulse rose, thumping, to the surface and reminded her of where she was, who she was with, and especially, how dangerous this could be. But…she trusted him.
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