Comic Talk and General Discussion

Adult Rating Parameters?
hansrickheit at 7:01AM, Sept. 20, 2017
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At what point does explicitly drawing the human body (or a cartoonish version of it) become pornographic? So far, I’ve tried to keep Cochlea & Eustachia at a “Rated R” level.
It’s kind of extraordinary to me that just by altering the very simplified way I draw the girls will notch the “Adult” content level of the whole comic. Just by removing the two or three lines that indicate the top covering of their dresses so that their nipples (two little bump lines) are exposed caused traffic to the website immediately triple. (The two little bumps lines to indicate their nipples have always been there, I just altered some of the details around them and everybody gets all excited.)
I’m now drawing a scene with an unobstructed view to a girl’s underside. In the context of this particular scene, it is unavoidable that her vagina will be visible. Of course my rendering of it will be nothing more than couple of dash lines
Is there a simple guideline for what will keep a comic book (or movie, etc.) just below an “X-Rated” status? It’s always confused me. Is pubic hair acceptable these days or not? Bare breasts seem acceptable. Penises seem to fall in a sort of grey area - What level of flaccidity is acceptable? What about a completely soft pecker that is flapping around in the wind so it appears to be extended? What are the parameters, folks?
KimLuster at 9:31AM, Sept. 20, 2017
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posts: 716
joined: 5-15-2012
Yeah, it's quite arbitrary, and sometimes prudish, but it has to be considered… I've certainly wrestled with it…

My personal gauge (that I think fits most American ratings):
If your rating is less than Family, probably shouldn't even be discussing this ;)

If your work is rated Teen, you can briefly show female nipples in a general non-sexual way (the character isn't boning), but showing them under clothing is okay (provided it's not too gratuitous). Genitals are largely out, although the hint of pubic hair for females could be alright (but again, non-sexual)

If your rating is Mature, nipples and full frontal nudity for both genders, with or without pubic hair, are fine. But you can't show penetration of any sort, and, imo, the classic porn spread, where female labia are spread open, and all the inner folds and openings are visible… that's probably too much… Maybe allowed if you were depicting a birth scene…

If your rating is Adult, go Hog-wild!!

I changed my comic from Teen to Mature midstream because I got tired of the endless self-censoring when the nature of my story was so very mature!!

Anyway, I love your comic, with or without the nudity! I was a bit taken aback when you finally introduced full nudity! In some ways, the hint of it was more interesting and added to the general absurdity and surrealism of it all (you know those strange girls had nothing on under those skirts, but you never actually saw, just got achingly close). But, as you say, if showing the full monties is getting you more views overall - Well, that's alright too!!
hansrickheit at 12:58PM, Sept. 20, 2017
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joined: 5-10-2016
Thanks for the insight. Nudity was less of a choice and more of the natural development of events. Very little of the comic's elements are consciously devised. It would not be interesting to me if I knew where it was going… Adding more titillating elements to get more attention was bot my intention - but I'm not complaining!
Another topic I wanted to open up for public discussion is the subject of sexism. I will never deny that COCHLEA & EUSTACHIA is a grotesquely sexist comic. In spite of this, I consider myself a feminist and myself frequently appalled by the objectification of women as mindless sex objects in everyday mass media. It's a weird internal schism for me that I feel I absolutely MUST draw these comics. I do hope that people reading them will view them not as an endorsement of abusing women, but as an expression of empathy, regardless of its undeniable prurience. Thoughts?
KimLuster at 1:49PM, Sept. 20, 2017
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posts: 716
joined: 5-15-2012
Ha, it did seem as if your comic was largely a stream-of-consciousness thing!! I thought I was picking up on that - glad to know it's true :D

As for Sexism and Feminism… Honestly, I think feminism has gone a bit too far these days. While a fight for equality under the law was needed, sometimes the cause doesn't know when to stop! It's a slippery slope to start seeing (through a feminist lens) objectification in EVERYTHING that depicts a woman…!! (complaining about stores that don't have fat mannequins, only skinny ones… really?)

Ha, seeing what I put my main character Kimber Lee through, people could paint me as a self-loathing anti-feminist!! But… although we may deny it, I think we really know when we're objectifying something vs trying to accomplish something and sometimes just having to draw on some pretty dark stuff to get there…

And honestly, when it's tongue in cheek, objectifying can be humorous (I love ‘sploitation movies). Yeah, you’ve got some creepy dudes (and things) messing around with those gals, but I haven't felt any crossover into serious sexism so far (beyond the supremely absurdly humorous kind)!! At some point, I wouldn't mind seeing the gals get one over on one the creeps though…

Turnabout's fair!! *wink*
ozoneocean at 9:48PM, Sept. 20, 2017
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posts: 26,723
joined: 1-2-2004
Kim gave the perfect description of the ratings here :)
Yep, showing the bare underside of your characters is ok with an M rating.

As to objectification I mostly agree with Kim in that objectification can be a lot of fun in certain contexts/ Though I really hate when it seems like it's the default way of showing female characters in most media… Not because I'm overly feminist about it, rather it's because it makes the work unrelatable and dull:
The female characters are not seen as full humans… they're just semi-sentient robots or pets to be admired and lusted after, or they're just there to support the male characters, without any agency or humanity of their own, which is unspeakably lame.

Anything is ok when it's only done from time to time, but when it's the default it gets to be a pain.
 

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