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Nudity as Social Commentary in Our Comics

In the upcoming two months, we’re going to do something we’ve never done before. Two different titles just happen to have female nudity in them, where before there was no nudity in our titles.

Let’s have a grown-up discussion about that.

In my previous post, I talked about the empowering use of nudity in the upcoming title Time Warriors #1. This time, let’s talk about Wynter #4 and use it to take a wider look at the do’s and don’ts of nudity as art in comics.

 

How Nudity Shouldn’t Be Used

Here’s a list what nudity shouldn’t be.

  • Nudity shouldn’t be used for titillation in a story that’s meant to be honest. When a writer uses nudity because s/he knows it’ll bring more readers rather than because it fits the story, the story is less honest. Wynter is being FedEx-ed from my gut to yours. Considerations of popularity shouldn’t interfere with that.
  • Nudity shouldn’t be used to give an unrealistic view of the human body. Girls shouldn’t be made to feel bad because they don’t have unrealistic bodies. Boys shouldn’t learn to expect unrealistic bodies in girls. And vice versa.
  • Nudity shouldn’t be used in a way that steals the show. Nudity is such a focus taker that it’s hard to put anything before it or after it that won’t be forgotten. You have to be able to tame its effects and limit them or they’ll take over your story.
  • Nudity shouldn’t be used to cheapen our perception of the body. It’s so easy to go from “Whoa” to “Been there, seen that,” to “Borrring. How can we take that to the next step”. That last statement there is a slippery slope, and many teenagers can easily fall into an emotional place that cheapens the human body.

 

How Nudity Should Be Used

When you’re trying to empower people or, at the very least, not disempower or cheapen them, these are the various uses of nudity:

  • Make nudity empowering. Have you seen the film The Full Monty? If not, watch it now, I’ll wait. It doesn’t have full frontal nudity, but it’s the ideal movie on the subject. You can’t watch it without at the end feeling good about your body. That’s a great use of showing skin!
  • Use nudity to teach people something about themselves. In a TV show I’d written a long time ago (it did not get produced) I used the horror genre and nudity to show to the men in the audience that there’s a beast inside them all. I showed nudity in a titillating way only when the bad guys did something bad to the women. So whenever you, the man watching this, felt titillated and wanted what you were seeing, you were identifying with the animal part of the bad guy. So hopefully you would have realized that there is something of that beast in you.
  • Use nudity as social commentary. Case in point: Wynter #4. Our series, Wynter, shows us what the logical future of apps, iPhones, internet, and social media takes us, for good or bad. One example: Google Glass is just the beginning. In the future, we’ll all be recording everything all the time, from our eyes, and we’ll be able to post it immediately. So how often do you think pictures of nude or half nude girls/women will be posted on the web without them even knowing about it? That happens to our heroine in Wynter #4. And when it does, you don’t feel titillated, you feel violated. Because you’ve already identified with Liz Wynter, our heroine, and you know what a violation that is for her.

Here’s part of it:

Violated

Violated

 

Why Are We Having This Conversation?

I want to have a grown-up conversation about this.

I want you to have a look behind the curtain of New Worlds Comics.

I want you to know how seriously I take every decision and direction made by New Worlds Comics, and how deeply we consider things.

I want you to learn who we are, deep in our DNA.

And now I want to learn who you are. What do you think?

Category: nudity