>Boobular webcomic banners (warning: not dialup friendly)

>[Edited: The images should work now]

A brief side note: Things are going to slow down quite a bit until after the holidays, due to the many and varied holiday celebrations that come with having a large family. I’ll try to pop in and it least post some links, but things won’t pick up again until after New Year. So go and have a good holiday and take a break from reading about headache-inducing sexism. The wundergeek commands you!

Another brief side note: Yes, yes I know that webcomics aren’t games and that I’m “diluting my focus” by talking about them here. Whatever. Webcomics are still a bastion of geekery, so I view this is related.

And now, the ranting:
There are a lot of webcomics out there that rely on badly drawn boobs to try to draw traffic to their sites. And man, I get tired of badly drawn boobs. At least with game art, 95% of the time I get well-rendered disgusting boobage. I’ve been collecting banners that I’ve come across while keeping up with my favorite comics. Just as a “fun” little exercise, I made a little collage for your viewing enjoyment:


(click for much larger version)

The discouraging part is that it only took me three or four weeks to collect all these, and I’m not in any way a huge webcomic addict. (Or at least, with “only” 9 comics that I follow on a regular basis I’m certainly not as huge a webcomic addict as some people out there.)

I get kind of the same feeling looking at this that I do sometimes when I’m walking around the Dealer’s Room at GenCon, except with the added frustration that I want to make half of these guys take a f*cking anatomy lesson. Big fake breasts are one thing, but if you’re going to have them in your comic then at least draw them CORRECTLY. I mean, some of the boobs in this collage are just horrific. (I’m looking at you, Wireheads.)

It’s just frustrating, because I feel like I can’t escape the legions of horribly drawn boobages (yes I’m making up words again) even when I’m reading my favorite comics! The comics I love have strong female heroes who are not any more sexualized than their male counterparts – so why should I have to put up with this invasion into my nice, sane comic space?

Arg.

For those of you who’d like a snarkier take, I also did a second version of the collage with my comments overlaid. I won’t post it here since it, too, is quite large. But you can find it here if you want my analysis of why these banners suck.

17 thoughts on “>Boobular webcomic banners (warning: not dialup friendly)

  1. >I don't read webcomics but listening to you describe wading through the muck sort of recalls a time for me when I was first trying to get a grip on my transness, by way of the internet. And trying to find legitimate information was nigh impossible because all every search yielded was an endless barrage of porn and fetishization. It was impossible to relate to that stuff and I can't begin to describe the damage it did. I literally lost years of my life thanks to that crap. Anyway, not really the same thing at all, but that's what it reminded me of.I wouldn't describe the boobage invasion as the opposite of sane, though. The people creating that content aren't mentally ill…they're somewhere on the spectrum between misguided and fucking evil.Happy Holidays…hope they're amazing and great for you!

  2. >While I greatly agree with this post (and as a big webcomic reader, I have to say that the rate of boob ads shows NO limits), I have to defend one of the banners in the collage. On the left and somewhat center (side boob) is for a webcomic called I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space! For a comic that features the lead characters in Madonna-inspired metal bustiers, the image in the ad is quite tame….Which doesn't really SOUND like it's worth defending, but it's done in pulp comic book style that's really campy and fun.

  3. >Vie: Rival Angels actually isn't terrible either. (It's not high art, but it's entertaining in a low brow sort of way.) But the point is to put all of these boobular banners together just to illustrate a point.

  4. >Hi! I'm the artist of Lesbian Pirates and a reader sent me a link to this.I have found that when parodying something sexist, you have to show the sexism to break it down, but without *context*, it just looks like regular sexism.It wasn't meant to be a "boobs boobs BOOBS!!!!" kind of ad. Honestly, I liked how I achieved the silver effect on her dress and wanted to show it off. But again, someone with no context doesn't know that. And since it's an ad aimed at people who have never read the comic, of course they have no context.I suppose I've been making ads from the wrong point of view. I need to think about how they'll appear to people who have never read the comic (which is why I'm advertising in the first place!) Perhaps that ad makes new visitors think LPFOS is constant lesbian space orgies. That may explain some of the reactions I've gotten from people who are upset about its content.So this was a nice sort of wakeup call, not that I need to stop being sexist, but that I need to do a better job of more accurately reflecting the content in the ads. Thanks! I really do mean thanks completely unsnarkily.And as for the post itself, I think you make lots of interesting points about how indie artists still retain some of the conditioning of mainstream media. Despite having no ties to any big companies, many still have the Hollywood mindset. From big boobs to the "Hollywood ugly" and "Hollywood fat" characters that abound in both the ads and the content, it's really frustrating to get yet another dose of that unrealistic "ideal" reinforced for us.Good work! Keep doing it!

  5. >As a female webcomic reader, I also get frustrated by the massive quantities of sexist ads put out by webcomics. I mean, I like pretty people–and good art of a pretty person WILL get me clicking, whether she's female and half-naked or not–but not if it's a boobfest. If I see an ad like the majority in your collage, I make a mental note never to bother with that comic, because chances are, everything from the story to the art to the jokes will also revolve around poorly-drawn boobs.

  6. >Usually I wouldn’t bother responding to something like this, but I’ve already dealt with this stuff in my blog a few times, so I have a ready made response. A fan sent me the link like the other artist that commented. These old blog posts I’ve cobbled together more or less cover this topic as well as a range of general stuff related to it. I’m not going to waste time defending my ads. I know full well what they bank on, and regret nothing. Just don’t go thinking I throw some poorly drawn tits up on the web without thinking about it first. Most of what I write on the site goes unread because people have attention spans that can only be measured in nanoseconds, and they come to look as words with pictures, so this will probably be one of the only places where these words will actually be noticed. Between Failures is extremely hard to sell in a little square. Even if you manage to get someone here they have to be the type of person who can maintain focus long enough to make it through the archives. You have to kind of sell things on pretty, and pretty is not the best part of the comic. Especially early on. I have never come up with a satisfactorily concise enough way to explain Between Failures anywhere.I know people well enough to understand that if I try to sell it on the merits of the story I’ll basically be pissing away money. People will not click on an image of Thomas being angsty about retail. Well, not in numbers sufficient to make it cost effective.Right now I’m playing around with targeted advertising. Sort of. Like the ad I made specially for Shortpacked that mentions Transformers. The one running on Wapsi Square right now (at least in the places I’m winning the bid.) features tits. Carol’s of course, because tits are a major part of that comic’s draw. There may well be a deep storyline concerning the exploits of people touched by the supernatural, but tits is what got the audience there. Which is fine. Just because you’re human, and therefore drawn to sexy things, doesn’t mean you aren’t a multifaceted being with an array of likes and dislikes. Deep down everyone is perverse. I learned that working retail too.Getting people here is one thing, getting them to stay is another. Mostly I just hope for the best. Hope that once people get there they won’t feel too betrayed that not every page is a temple of sexy. Hope that the multifaceted human will win out over the pervert that got them here.Guess we’ll see…

  7. >The comment thing made me cut this up so I continue here:There’s a “debate” going on right now between various comic creators about female artists getting creepy shit said to them. I recognize it’s mostly pointless, and your average reader doesn’t care, and probably shouldn’t. That said I have a perspective on this issue that no one has brought up and I feel like working it out in a public forum. I’ve talked about it before, so for those of you who actually delve into my underworld this will be OFN.I have learned that when you read text you bring your own tone into it, which may not reflect the tone of the writer. Most commonly I read innocuous statements as personal attacks, because my world view tends to be very adversarial, bordering on paranoid. I color someone else’s words with the paint of my outlook. So now I run comments I’m not sure about past other people to help me decide if I’m understanding the intent correctly.Sometimes I get comments about the female characters that I read as creepy. Carol in particular, but I’ve gotten them for all the girls. My first instinct is to delete anything that reads as creepy to me, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not sure exactly what creepy is. Years on the Internet have blurred the lines for me, and probably made me hyper aware of certain things that other people wouldn’t think twice about.This is as close as it’s ever going to get for me when it comes to experiencing sexism as it applies to a girl. Although since I attribute the comic randomly between all the mutations of my name I occasionally get people asking, or assuming, that I am one. (Jackie is my first name in case you weren’t aware.) Anyway, if someone says they really love Carol’s full, plump, figure, or Nina’s sweet ass, or what have you, I’m not exactly sure how I should feel. I mean, those are reasonable things to think. The girls are flawed (depending on how you define flawed anyway.) but none of them are unattractive. I am pleased to know that I have created characters that people can buy into to a point that they wish they could find a real person just like them to love. It’s flattering on some level because there is a lot of me written into the main cast, even the girls. They are as much aspects of my personality as Thomas, or Ed, are. Jolene in particular is a mix of the childlike glee combined, with the abject terror, that I experience the world with, and she is by far the most openly adored female.It is a very complex issue. I certainly don’t want people to feel like they shouldn’t compliment the physical attributes of any of the characters. I’ve spent most of my life feeling totally uncomfortable expressing my masculinity. Never quite sure of where the line between creepy and acceptable is. In fact, as time goes by, I don’t even think there is one rule for it. You have to judge every situation individually and hope for the best. That is not really how I like things to be.

  8. >I have only recently begun expressing myself openly in terms of what I find attractive in the opposite sex. As I said before, I’ve always been made to feel like expressing that part of me is wrong. Not by my parents, but by society; the weirdly twisted puritanical American media that on the one hand wants you to abstain from sex, but also go forth and populate the whole world with little Christians. It is very difficult to come to terms with when you’re base personality consists almost completely of crippling shyness.At the end of it all I’m still not sure what to think about any of this. I would much rather have someone awkwardly trying to compliment the girls than saying nothing at all. I don’t want to kill the participation, or camaraderie, that sort of thing can foster in readers. And I have come to know the regulars as decent people who mean no harm.There’s a whole other level of discussion when it comes to Carol. She is much fuller figured than is typical in any media. It has taken her longer than any other character to settle in to herself physically. I’ve received many emails from women thanking me for making a big girl the romantic lead. Girls who felt better about their bodies after seeing a girl like them get the guy, and get him in a very confident way. In retrospect I’m kind of sad that I didn’t push it a little further. The fact of the matter is that I was too much of a pussy to test that boundary any further than I did. By my reckoning she is barely even plump.I think when a guy sees Carol portrayed as a confident, well adjusted (in so far as anyone is), curvaceous, woman they assume, quite rightly, that I find that type of woman attractive. Then they want to connect to me, and potentially other readers, on that level as a man. (Or woman if she’s oriented that way.) A level I still have trouble expressing openly. And why shouldn’t they? It’s natural to want to connect to other humans. Especially if your opinion is not held by the majority.At the end of it all I still don’t really have any answers. I just have a few tangentially related thoughts strung together looking for some kind of direction. I’m not going to pretend that my motive for making Carol the way she is was a totally altruistic desire for a bigger girl to be a romantic lead. I’m sure some of you could name comic artists that try to pretend that’s why their female leads have massive breasts, or what have you. I am not that guy. I love big girls.Of course I love girls in general. That’s at least part of why Nina, Carol, and Jo are so different. I’m a man of many moods. As much as people give each other crap for having different tastes the fact remains that beauty is subjective. I hope, if you’re a girl, and you see similarities between yourself and Carol, it gives you hope that you can find someone who loves you the way you are. Assuming you haven’t already.If the Internet has taught me anything it’s that there is someone, somewhere, looking for someone exactly like you. (No matter what you look like.) It cuts every direction for any sex or orientation. Mike has even gotten fanmail from girls, and guys, who think he’s the cat’s pajamas.The recycled stuff ends here, so this next part is more like directed to this actual post.I’d just like to say, in closing, that I know many of the people this blog has targeted. None of them are inhuman monsters. They are nice people. In fact, the guy who draws Treading Ground is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in the time I’ve been doing my comic. He helped me out several times when no one else would even bother talking to me. So there you go… That’s all I had, I guess.http://betweenfailures.com/ if you feel like judging me on the strength of my efforts rather than the ire of a blogger. If you still think my work has

  9. >There’s a “debate” going on right now between various comic creators about female artists getting creepy shit said to them. I recognize it’s mostly pointless, and your average reader doesn’t care, and probably shouldn’t. That said I have a perspective on this issue that no one has brought up and I feel like working it out in a public forum. I’ve talked about it before, so for those of you who actually delve into my underworld this will be OFN.I have learned that when you read text you bring your own tone into it, which may not reflect the tone of the writer. Most commonly I read innocuous statements as personal attacks, because my world view tends to be very adversarial, bordering on paranoid. I color someone else’s words with the paint of my outlook. So now I run comments I’m not sure about past other people to help me decide if I’m understanding the intent correctly.Sometimes I get comments about the female characters that I read as creepy. Carol in particular, but I’ve gotten them for all the girls. My first instinct is to delete anything that reads as creepy to me, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not sure exactly what creepy is. Years on the Internet have blurred the lines for me, and probably made me hyper aware of certain things that other people wouldn’t think twice about.

  10. >(Um, I'm sorry that you find the comment system here inconvenient. I use Blogger because I'm too lazy to learn how to run WordPress. *shrug*)So. Man. I think basically what you're saying boils down to "sex sells because people are stupid/inattentive/lazy". I might be oversimplifying, but that's what I'm getting. And to that I can only respond with this: Yes, sex sells – TO A CERTAIN DEMOGRAPHIC.I can tell you right now that whenever I see a banner like any of these, I file that comic away in my mental file of comics never to read. You can claim that "everyone is perverse" all you like, but that won't change the fact that there's a number of people for whom boobular banners are an instant interest-killer. By slapping boobs all over your banner, I instantly stop giving a shit about your comic, your art, or your story. Yes, selling a comic through a tiny square is a challenge, but there are plenty of people who manage to do just that without resorting to HEY LOOK BOOBS! I've seen some very clever flash ads and animated gifs that manage to get around many of the limitations of the small box. Resorting to boobs to sell anything is just lazy marketing.Furthermore, I'm not terribly convinced by the BOOBS = VIEWS argument, here. Most of the 9 comics I read on a regular basis were ones I heard about through word of mouth and not through ads. But, you know, I'm just a humorless, artist-hating feminist, so what do I know?

  11. >That isn't exactly what I was saying, but my remarks wouldn't post in full. I'd say check your email if you're interested in what all I had to say, but I think it's pretty clear that you aren't going to consider anything I have to say in a meaningful way. I'm sorry I sullied your Internet with my cloying attempts at validation. Good day.

  12. >As a male creator who frequently has female main characters or strong female characters (In the past 7 comics I've done, and including the one running now, I've had 4 of them have female leads.), I have to give you a huge THANK YOU! I really try to stay away from the advertising (or even storywriting) tactic of "BOOBIES!" unless necessary to the story. While yes, I can go back to Bill Engvall's "I'm just a guy" argument for the fact that "sexy" is not a bad idea, the biggest problem here is that the ads depicted don't say anything about the comic. Wayward Sons is a huge offender in this, as are many of the comics in the list. The advertise boobs, but you go to the site and it's not sexy or it doesn't have that type of story to it.Rival Angels actually is about female wrestling, and that ad shows a character in a costume she wears in the comic in a full body shot. I don't find fault there, even if it does have hints of pandering.Flipside was originally about sexuality, and the ad there is from one of the chapter pages. At the time it fit that storyline and yes it totally does fall into cheesecake mode, it at least has some connection.But then you get things like Wayward Sons, Treading Ground (which has a distinct lack of sex despite advertising it in the banner not only with the naked girl but also the tagline), and oh geez Wireheads what happened there…ugh.I'm a firm believer in writing what you know, even in a fantasy or other wild setting. The girls I hang out with (and I hang out with quite a few) are strong and capable of many things. Sure I went to college, and I have met girls who fall into this other stereotype, but that's hardly the majority.Also, thanks Rosalarian for linking this😛

  13. >I'll admit I actually read Rival Angels despite hating wrestling. I still stuck it in there because from the banner you'd never know it was actually a good comic.

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