Comic Talk and General Discussion

How do you make a sexy/attractive character? What makes a character sexy and or attractive?
KimLuster at 7:31PM, April 9, 2015
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More specific stuff, eh?  Great sense of humor and ability to carry on conversations about a wide array of subjects, likes outdoor adventurous stuff, has a great appreciation of music (prefer being able to play an instrument or sing, but just an appreciation and general knowledge of music culture goes a looooong way), a desire to visit new places and try new things, from visiting new cities to parks and trails to explore, has a love of culture, treats family (parents and children) well and genuinely wants to spend time with them…
Physically (beyond the basic biological stuff we all find attractive), I find a wide gamut of body types for both sexes attractive.  I like someone who looks active and is reasonably fit, clearly takes care of themselves but isn't fanatic about it!  Where it's clear they think there's more to life than having visible tendons and veins poking against dehydrated looking skin!   Here's a final arbiter I use to determine who's sexiest when I see two people of the same gender and are roughly the same level of attractiveness: the one who most appears like they could kick the other one's ass, that one is the sexiest!
ozoneocean at 8:10PM, April 9, 2015
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Hahaha! Now apply that to comic characters! :D
 
Sway at 11:03PM, April 9, 2015
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Sex is fun, weird, and often messy. Characters that tend to personify those qualities go a lot further towards being “attractive” to me than those that are all gloom and doom. When I started working on The Harlot, I found myself in a conundrum: I was making a boner comic, but I didn't want to fall into the standard tropes of that genre. I wanted it to be graphic, but not gross. Exciting, but not exhausting. I wanted it to be something that would be welcoming to people from a wide variety of backgrounds and personalities, as long as they could get past the fact that it's a comic with a boob-ton of boobs flopping around on nearly every page. I quickly discovered that the magic bullet for that scenario was fun. Sure, I designed the Harlot to look like the stereotypical male fantasy, but she's hopping all over the place beating up bad guys and calling people buttholes. More importantly, she is actively enjoying her sexuality as she does those things. Add a bit of comedy and confidence to your pot full of wangs and hoo-has, and baby, you got a stew goin'.
Genejokewrote:
draw them without clothes.
This works too.
 
last edited on April 9, 2015 11:08PM
KimLuster at 4:27AM, April 10, 2015
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ozoneocean wrote:
Hahaha! Now apply that to comic characters! :D
lol I keep drifting from the fact we're talking about comic characters instead of real people!!!  *gaaaahh… must concentrate on title*  Oh well… any comic character that has the listed characteristics I'd find sexy too!!
bravo1102 at 8:26AM, April 10, 2015
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But if no one has clothes the sexiness sort of fades. Look at Polynesia or ancient Egypt. People ran about naked or clothed very minimally a lot yet it wasn't necessarily sexy (except to uptight over dressed Westerners). The ancient Germans (among others) would have their women bare their breasts in contempt for an enemy not to entice him (no matter what Tacitus may have thought) Just because a culture has less inhabitiona and shame ovber how they dress does not mean they are more sexually open. Just better at compartmentalizing clothing versus sexuality.  Remember some of the most passionate love poetry was written to a pair of eyes glimpsed through a berka and veil.

But Sway does make a great point. FUN. Fun is a big part of sexiness.  A reasonably unattractive person that is lots of fun to be with becomes more attractive because they're fun to be with. Knowing how to have fun is indicitive of a postive attutude which can be viewed as a plus for potential children. Some guys have ended up having a long healthy relationship with that “sixpack” ten because she has a winning personality and can sire beter and more viable offspring than Miss Distant but Gorgeous (who may be distant becuae of personality problems that could damage potential offspring).

And all of this feeds into any work of fiction especially those that seek to create or recreate a world different from our own. 
fallopiancrusader at 11:30AM, April 10, 2015
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To me, sexiness is mostly about the balance between power and vulnerability. I have seen many dancers who are technically flawless, but so are so aloof that the audience has no emotions to hold on to, so the performance becomes cold. It's the same with comic book characters. I want to create characters that are hot, and heat requires a willingness to take on outrageous risks that may destroy you. Heat requires competence, but humor, humility, and silliness too. It requires forceful power, but also the ability to open up to the feelings of others, and thereby be touched by others. It requires the valor to stand up for one's principles, and maybe ending up being undone by them. A sexy character is someone who takes responsibility for her/his own sexuality on his/her own terms.


Comic book characters that I find attractive would be Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical character in “Persepolis”, any number of characters from Giovanna Casotto's short stories, John Howard's title character from “Horny biker slut”, and John Blackburn's Coley from “Coley running wild” (don't Google those last two at work!)


I have no idea why the type in the second paragraph is blue
last edited on April 10, 2015 11:36AM
Gunwallace at 5:45PM, April 10, 2015
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fallopiancrusader wrote:
 
I have no idea why the type in the second paragraph is blue
Because some of the content was?
David ‘Gunwallace’ Tulloch, www.virtuallycomics.com
bravo1102 at 7:20AM, April 11, 2015
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A short-cut to creating a really hot female character is to have her going through menopause.
tupapayon at 8:34PM, April 13, 2015
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bravo1102 wrote:
A short-cut to creating a really hot female character is to have her going through menopause.
Taking a pause from men… seems like a good idea…
tupapayon at 8:46PM, April 13, 2015
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If i want to make a character to be sexy and attractive I'd have to make a drawing of what I see in the mirror… But seriously, as Kim mentioned, there's the animal physical/sexual attraction, the instinct. Sway and Bravo mentioned being fun as a good trait, yes. Also, I think it was Ocean who mentioned it, it's going to be the other characters in the comic who should feel atrsacted to the “sexy” character. My opinion is that if you need to make a character attractive or sexy, you have to decide what you mean by that, and for whom this character should be attractive or sexy. For your readers, another character in the story, for yourself?… Now, excuse me, I have to look in the mirror and admire my sexyness…
ozoneocean at 9:37PM, April 16, 2015
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For female characters: legs. That goes a loooong way. ^_^
Also big lips.
For males: broard chests.
Also square jaws.
 
- Just thinking about the sorts of features they have in ultra simplified art in newspaper strips. You know, something like Wizard of Id, Crock (hahaha showing my age here). Those are comics that slim eveything down to its essence to make it easier and fast to draw but it STILL works.
That's sexy AND efficient.
 
last edited on April 16, 2015 9:38PM
HippieVan at 10:36AM, April 17, 2015
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ozoneocean wrote:
Also square jaws.
Who would you think of in real life as having a square jaw? I'm not sure that I'm a fan, but I'm sort of thinking of those exaggerated superhero square jaws.
Duchess of Friday Newsposts and the holy Top Ten
ozoneocean at 11:02AM, April 17, 2015
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Robert Z'Dar… but that was freaky. :)
In reality it translates to big chins I think, like Bruce Campbell, Kurt Russell, Kurt Douglas…
On real people I don't think it's a sure fire indicator of masculine atractiveness, but it's a good visual indicator for a simplified representation.
 
It's the same as real women with huge lips and really long legs, big busts etc can look really weird, but those exagerations work perfectly ok for a normal atractive female figure in a stylised cartoon.
 
bravo1102 at 10:10AM, April 19, 2015
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I once heard cartoony sexiness described as being simply the “S” shape of the boobs and butt with lipstick.  Men where a the football goalpost shape of the shoulders, and chest and a “V” for the abs and crotch.


The crossdressing of Bugs Bunny follows the same route.


And then there is a real bunny girl. Bugs Bunny's girlfriend Lola.
last edited on April 19, 2015 10:11AM
bravo1102 at 2:20AM, April 22, 2015
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And hair and eye lashes.  Sometimes female sexiness can be reduced to a wig, lipstick and eyelashes especially when dealing with anthropomorphized animals?  Or is that really a product of 1940's Hollywood just the same as the hourglass is actually from the Gibson girl of the late 1800's?  So female sexiness is actually the curves of boobs and butt/hips and males just broadness of the shoulders?

Is there a universal  that can be glimpsed under all the layers of culture?  In women Boobs and hips, in men shoulders and firmness of jawline?  And a sort of proportion between them all as an indication of overall health?  
ozoneocean at 3:16AM, April 22, 2015
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I think you have to be careful about making universal assumptions…
I like your point that certain things come from traceable origins- Hollywood, Gibson girls etc.
A lot of what we see as beauty or even male and female is cultural rather than universal:
So dresses and long hair were once the main symbols of feminitity in a lot of the Western world, while in China at the same time maybe it was small feet since the woman had their hair all bound up and wore trousers?
  
Even with big broad chests and massive jaws that we look on now as being very masculane traits- back in the 18th century it was tiny chins, soft round faces, bumpy noses… in the 17th centry it was lots of long flowing hair and big calf muscles! - Which gave rise to the use of the high heeled shoe as a fashion item (for men) instead of just something for riding, because it showed off the calves so well.
 
If we go right back we get the fettish sculptures like the Venus of Willendorf- a big round fat apple figured woman with gigantic boobs, fat legs and short curly hair.
 
But for now though, in this day and age, yes: long lashes, big lips, boobs, bum, thin waist for ladies, big chests, shoulders and jaws for the men.
 
KimLuster at 5:19AM, April 22, 2015
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ozoneocean wrote:
I think you have to be careful about making universal assumptions…

To an extent, but Bravo is right about about boobs and hips in women, and shoulders and chest in men…  It's hardwired in us - these are our evolutionary species' indicators of general health, ability to bear and raise children and protect the group.  Our genes urge us to mate with the people that have them, therefore these things will always be sexy.  The preferred proportions can vary by culture, but the general ‘look’ really is universal
.
Of course, we humans have thinking brains and we do make other accessories sexual, but underneath all the bling the basic stuff remains, and it has an effect on us whether we like it or not…
ozoneocean at 6:21AM, April 22, 2015
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But for the examples I mentioned above I don't think those are universal or as “hard wired” as we tend to think, because we have evidence to point to in the form of idealised images of beauty for many thousands of years.
 
Look at acient Greece:
- There were two main “atractive” body types for women; the maiden and the mother.
The maiden type is almost boyish, with small breasts and slim hips. She's a developed woman though, just.
The older figure has wider hips and a bit of a small belly.
 
- For men There's the “wrestler” and the “runner” figures.
The wrestler type is very large in figure, heavily muscled and usually always bearded. His chest is only as wide as his stomach though generally, not wider. He's just one solid muscle slab.
The runner type has a lot less muscley, a lot smaller and leaner, no where near the muscle definition of the former type. He had a broader chest compared to his tummy, also unlike the former type.
 
Earlier imagry from the same culture had men and women appearing much alike; both had wide shoulders. The woman had relatively slim hips and small breasts.
 
 In the 1920s the masculane idea was a pidgeon chested profile for the men: wide when standing sideways, but slim in most other ways. Jacket shoulders weren't really padded much if at all and torsos were slim.
For women it was slim and boyish all the way down, with taped down tits and dresses that draped low on the waste, designed to de-empasise the waste to hip ratio.
-Which was a huge contrast to the 1910s when the corsette and the hourglass shape was in…
In the 1930s hips and wastes came back, but the shoulders were emphasised way more.
 
———————
 
If we're to garner any “universal” truths from the evidence, I would say that people simply gravitate  towards the cultural gender norms of the time (whatever they are), and those are associated more and more strongly with that gender - and we tend to view everyone else from other cultures and points in history from the lens of the views of our current culture.
 
last edited on April 22, 2015 6:26AM
Hawk at 8:18AM, April 22, 2015
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I know I've posted this video on this forum before, but this BBC documentary suggests that there are some universal factors in attractiveness, and a certain amount of it is mathematical and symmetry-based.  The whole thing is worth a watch (it was suggested to me by a professional character designer), but here I'm linking to the part about beauty:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DivDzQkhNdY
 
It doesn't account for personal taste though, which can sometimes run counter to popular opinion.  Sometimes I've seen people that I knew weren't “conventionally attractive” but I thought there was still something cute about them.
 
ozoneocean at 8:47AM, April 22, 2015
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I saw that series years ago and I was very disapointed in it at the time. It seemed very superficial, mainly be based on popular texts, and relied heavily on extraporlating modern western taste on to all periods, cultures, and ethnicities (just like the point I ended my last post with). I even felt it was a little racist.
 
THAT was my reaction at the time… It made me lose a lot of the respect I'd had for John Cleese.
 
But you make up your own mind.
 
KimLuster at 9:15AM, April 22, 2015
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Ozone, I'm not sure why you're hesitant to say there's a universal aspect to sexual attaction.  For a species that depends on sexual reproduction to survive, there has to be ways for one gender to identify the other and also determine if they are fit enough to bear/sire their offspring.  Nature does this with sexual characteristics that are pretty much universal for each species.  If we just decided what we thought was attractive instead of there being some sort of built-in mechanism to determine what the best mating pairs would be, I think we would have died out long ago…
.
For a man to find a woman attractive, first she has to look like a woman (meaning there has to be certain traits that men don't have), and for her to be attractive those ‘womanly’ traits have to stand out in some way…  (and of course the same applies to women looking at men)
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Yes, the particular proportions (and accessories like clothes and jewelry) can vary by culture and time but the basic traits stay the same
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Men of today do not find a woman who looks exactly like Arnold Schwarzenegger attractive…
Men in Edwardian England would not find a woman who looks Prince Albert attractive…
Stone age women would not find a man with giant boobs (like the Venus of Willendorf) attractive
.
Disclaimer: yes, our human brains can do weird things with our base urges, making some men think a woman who looks like ‘Ahnold’ attractive, but in pre-civilized times those types tended not to stick around ;)
ozoneocean at 10:03AM, April 22, 2015
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The idea of “universal atractors” veres too far into evolutionary psychology for me, which is a field based on a good dose of bulshit and guessing, with any real science few and far between,
 
What you're really talking about is sexual dimorphisim, the physical differences between the sexes. BUT, how far do physical, superfical cues go in influencing the survival of the species? Making a connection between those two factors is a very long bow to draw.
 
With all the differences between proportions, body shapes and features between individuals and ethnicities around the world I think the best that can be said is that straight men and women are atracted to each other and those that look as if they fit into the prime child bearing age range are the most atractive, with points off for deformaty.
 
-Breast size, hip to waste ratio, penis size, chest size, muscularity etc. We know these can't be true universal factors or we'd have maxed out the stats on those (so to speak) eons ago, but human bodies haven't changed too much since we evolved into the modern creatures we are.
 
KimLuster at 11:24AM, April 22, 2015
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I think most psychology (evolutionary or otherwise) has it's fair share of bullshit,  but even so, I still think there is such a thing as a unviversal sex stat that we all subconsciously check out…  but I think the reason they don't get ‘maxed out’ out like you say is because we know when too much is too much…  When boobs and dongs get too big, they hinder survival, and we don't won't our children having such ‘maxed’ traits!
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But a tendency toward ‘maxing’ can (and does) happen…  Look at lots of bird species…
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A great example of a ‘sex stat’ almost so maxed out that it hinders the survival of the species is the Peacock. Take a male peacock's tail.  That lovely thing in no way increase an individual peacock's chances of survival - all it is is a Peacocks version of ‘big boobs’, and if it got any larger, then those that the larger version would most likely die, not passing on the genes - thus make the maxed trait undesireable.  Large tail = sexy… Too large = untouchable freak!
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And you can't say all that is cultural!  It's a Peacock!  It's instinctual
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I agree that we humans throw tons of cultural things on top, and as a species with thinking brains we have gotten pretty good at making cultueral preferences sometimes override our the ‘base traits’ - I just think the base stuff is still there, and we still notice it, even when we don't want to…  You said
straight men and women are atracted to each other and those that look as if they fit into the prime child bearing age range are the most atractive, with points off for deformaty.
.which I agree we do this.  I just don't we consciously choose to do it.  We see the traits that indicate this is so, and we find it sexy.  Okay I'm done - we're probably just going in circles now haha – Cheers!
tupapayon at 10:58AM, April 23, 2015
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Fight! Fight! Fight!… I'll put $5 on Kim… another factor we have to consider is the beer to beauty ratio… how many beers do I need to find sexy a woman who look like Arnold?
bravo1102 at 4:05AM, April 25, 2015
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tupapayon wrote:
Fight! Fight! Fight!… I'll put $5 on Kim… another factor we have to consider is the beer to beauty ratio… how many beers do I need to find sexy a woman who look like Arnold?

Psychology only becomes BS when it challenges your belief systems.  It's BS and can't be right because personal cherished beliefs are inviolate.  Accepting that you can be wrong is one of the first steps to greater wisdom.  Or so my psychologist tells me.
 All the of the cultural differences STILL all come back to the “S” of the hips and bust and the goalpost of the male shoulders/chest.  No matter what the relative size is it still comes back to those features.  The sizes and proportions vary but the it's still the same stuff culture and time and again.  There is a universal pattern and to deny it is akin to denying gravity to which human attractiveness is often compared.

The Warner Brothers examples I used are very specific to the mid 20th Century.  But the eyelashes and lipstick would not be out of place in Ancient Egypt.  As would the goalpost shoulders and chest of a male and the gentle curve of the bust and swaying hips are on a woman. 
KimLuster at 6:21AM, April 25, 2015
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No, it's just that phychology is way too inexact to be a proper science for me.  There's too much of a gooey, touchy/feely aspect to the profession.  Definitions of mental disorders and their causes change constantly and yet they have to sound like they know exactly what they're talking about when working with you…
.
“Your son has autism…”  Oh really!  And what caused it?  Is Jenny McCarthy right?  I took all my prenatal vitamens… !  Different doctors prescribing some pretty serious drugs to your kid and arguing/disagreeing with each other's diagnosis…  One shakes his head upon hearing what another prescribed… Finally you say to hell with it, raise your son without their help as best you can, and by 10th grade he's making almost all A's! (not atypical for someone with autism) but he's also become very social, joins school choirs and sport teams, and just acts amazingly… normal.  Who'd a thunk?!!
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(perhaps I have some personal experience here ;)
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I understand there's lots of starts and stops, breakthroughs and setbacks in science, but when the object of study and experimentation is your (or your loved one's) minds, the stakes are a bit higher…  And of course the brain is only the most complicated thing we've encountered so far in the universe…!
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Perhaps a little humility in the field isn't a bad thing…
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But I agree on everything else you said Bravo! ;)
last edited on April 25, 2015 6:23AM
ozoneocean at 7:09AM, April 25, 2015
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Bravo you make massive generalisations there and they aren't correct- as happens when anyone takes that approach.
Evolutionary psychology has been very roundly critised  and discredited quite a lot in the last few years- that's the practise of relative bahvaiour patterns or whatever else to behaviours that started out in prehistory. It's basically 99.99999% speculation.
 
Your insistance on the “univeral” factors seems just a touch too desperate there. You WANT it to be true. So you may as well beleive it :)
 
Kim- the peakcock example isn't right. You could only relate that to humans IF you had a sexually dimorphic trait that was as pronounced. We don't though. Humans are notable among animal speices as being pretty similar gender wise. Our differences are subtle compared to dmorphic differences in other animals. Boobs and no facial hair on females are probably the most obvious dimorphic traits: our primate cousins don't share those sex differences so those are particularly human. :D
Yup, forget the rest, that's what our early (male) ancestors liked: ladies with no beards and a set of chest-bumps.
Thankfully our idea of beauty and attraction DOES change. ;)
 
-Don't ever forget about clothing, makeup, jewlry, hairstyles, posessions, and all the rest. Those purely cultural things have been part of our species for many thousands of years now and have played a role in our evolutionay choices.
Kim, your peacock example comes in to play here: Like birds humans have been carefully arranging their plumage since before recorded history. And like bowrbirds we even arange our “nests” to attract mates as well.
I will stop before I vere too far into the trap of speculative evolutionary psychology… D:
 
bravo1102 at 7:46AM, April 25, 2015
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ozoneocean wrote:
Your insistance on the “univeral” factors seems just a touch too desperate there. You WANT it to be true. So you may as well beleive it :)
Yes, but the broad generailzations work in a comic character. Isn't what this talk is about?  It may not be real or evolutionary, fine I concede the point. I was stretching it too far and 99% suppostion of a lot of guys with too muchh time on their hands and not enough girls. But for Pinky TA or Kimber Lee what makes them sexy?  That “S” shape of female proportion will give you a sexy female in a comic. Bumps and no beard won't unless you add some basic proportions that mimic that “S” proportion.  Bumps and no beard will give you a female character but not a sexy one as in certain minimalist comics. To get her sexy suddenly she has hips and her body assumes a rough “S” with the breast becoming more rounded.

This may not be so in Asians wearing traditinal dress like the straight lines of a woman in a kimono but it does hold true in Asian pornography.  Asian traditional sexual depictions show big butts and big boobs and men with broad shoulders the same as the dressed man has exaggerated shoulders and the female none. 

Go back to the original topic of drawing a sexy character.  Use the “S” or the goalpost shoulders and you got it. And it'll work across cultures from Africa to Polynesia.  The philosphy and evolutionary biology dosen't help me create a sexy femme fatale for my hunk guy to fool with, but “S” proportions do.  I want to sex up a girl in a kimono and the butt sash grows a little and sticks out a little more and the body becomes more of an “S” even in ancient depictions from before Western influence.  
binaryfaye at 8:38AM, April 25, 2015
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I was going to comment as to what I find sexy, but I think I missed the boat because this is a little more extastential than I was expecting.
Aaaanyway, I was just going to say that I find characters who are treated as real people much more interesting. With real flaws and foibles. I love me a good visual quirk! As soon as a comic or storyteller mentions that they're a perfect adonis or some idealized beauty my brain just tunes out. Maybe by now it's such an obvious happening that it's become boring. “Yeah yeah, yeah. Yet another impossibly handsome millionare with severe emotional problems. Next please!” I would be much more keen on a comic with a sultry woman covered in freckles, or a stud with one eye than a comic whose creator just went down the hot-person-checklist and called it a day.

fallopiancrusader at 8:41AM, April 25, 2015
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To weigh in on the academic end of the dicussion, I would say there are three heirarchical factors that influence sexual attractiveness: 1) Biology, which is hard-wired. It's the stuff that makes humans attracted to each other, and not attracted to chimps or horses 2) Socialization. Some cultures think overweight is sexy, some cultures think skinny is sexy 3) Personal experience and personal idiosyncracy, which can contradict the other two. There is a whole category of porn out there that deals with people having sex with animals, so sometimes human idiosyncracy will trump biologically wired instinct. As for my own personal idiosyncracy, what ultimately determines sexiness for me is the narrative of the sex. If the characters aren't surrounded by context, motivation, and story, then the sexiest drawing in the world will not arouse me very much.

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