Erotic Comics and Graphic Novels

The underground comics movement of the sixties was only continuing an earlier tradition of the "Tijuana Bibles" -- little pornographic pulps that enjoyed wide, though unacknowledged, circulation since the 1930s.

But artists like R. Crumb, Gilbert Shelton and others lifted the genre with their brilliant drawing, evocative characters and compelling storylines. These comics morphed into the graphic novels of today, full-length books that combine character development and complex narrative structure with artful pen and ink drawings.

The erotic themes of the Tijuana Bibles have persisted in many of today's adult comics, which often display wild, raunchy, sexually adventurous heroes and heroines.

Fun reading!

Recommended Erotic Comics and Graphic Novels

Bad Sex! by Danny ShanahanBad Sex!

Let's face it -- at one time or another we've all had bad sex. Thankfully, we have New Yorker cartoonist Danny Shanahan to remind us, through this collection of witty and sinful drawings, that bad sex is definitely better than no sex. Shanahan's playful world of naughty pillow talk and wild bedroom misadventures -- from lions having phone sex wearing leopard-print underwear to Casual Sex Fridays in the office --illustrates just how real and often ridiculous love can be.

Maybe Bad Sex! is for you -- the perfect gift for someone you love . . . or once loved . . 2007, Abrams Image

Best Erotic Comics 2008 by Greta ChristinaBest Erotic Comics 2008

A literary and artistic exploration of human sexuality -- and a fun dirty book, featuring today's smartest, raunchiest, funniest, filthiest, most beautiful, and most arousing adult comics! Best Erotic Comics 2008 smashes the divide between literary/art comics and adult comics by including both the hottest work from the literary/art comics world -- and the highest-quality work from the adult comics world. 2008, Last Gasp

Best Erotic Comics 2009 by Greta ChristinaBest Erotic Comics 2009

Comics for erotica fans! Erotica for comics fans! Smart, hot, and cutting-edge, Best Erotic Comics 2009 features the sexiest, funniest, filthiest, most beautiful, most unsettling, most inspiring adult comics of today, with work by Junko Mizuno, Peter Kuper, Gilbert Hernandez, Ellen Forney, Rick Altergott, Cristy C. Road and many other first-rate erotic comic artists. For erotic connoisseurs who aren't familiar with the world of comics, this anthology will open up an entirely new world of erotica. And for comics fans who would enjoy erotic comics if so many of them weren't so tacky, this anthology is for you. 2009, Last Gasp of San Francisco

Erotic Comics: A Graphic History from Tijuana Bibles to Underground ComixErotic Comics: A Graphic History from Tijuana Bibles to Underground Comix

This international survey of erotic comics chronicles a groundbreaking form of sexual expression up to 1970, the years when mainstream culture spurned explicit eroticism. In the 1930s, American "Tijuana Bibles," little pornographic comic books that parodied popular comics and comic strips, were widely available. World War II gave a boost to erotic comics, especially illustrated pin-ups. This set the stage for men's magazines such as Playboy, which included racy cartoons from the beginning, and fetish comics. The flowering of the counterculture in the next decade gave rise to underground comics, whose acknowledged master was Robert Crumb. Erotic Comics is sexy, artistic, entertaining, intriguing, and informative. 2008, Abrams

Erotic Comics 2: A Graphic History from the Liberated '70s to the Internet by Tim Pilcher, Gene Jr. KannenbergErotic Comics 2: A Graphic History from the Liberated '70s to the Internet

For over four decades, erotic comics have flourished around the world. Erotic Comics 2 examines how this budding art form exploded from the California comix scene to become an international publishing phenomenon. Beginning with an exploration of newly liberated American artists in the '70s, this overview examines the gay and lesbian comics scene, current artists and publishers in Europe, and Japanese erotica. After delving into the sexual mores of Japanese Hentai: from tentacle sex to Yaoi, the book looks to the future, where erotic comic creators are sidestepping legal issues by producing work solely for the Internet. 2009, Abrams ComicArts

Gotta Have 'Em: Portraits of Women by R. Crumb, Ron Warren, Neil Gaiman, Grace Yu Ying Smith, Penn, TellerGotta Have 'Em: Portraits of Women

R. Crumb, the visionary founder of the underground comics movement and unwilling hipster to multiple generations is lauded as a draughtsman on par with Breughel. For the first time ever, his drawings of women are collected in one brilliantly offensive yet hilariously poignant volume, in chronological order, spanning the 38 years since his pen-and-ink beginnings. The usual fetishes are on display, natch--the built-from-the-ground-up body type, the lovingly fixated-upon solid thighs and buttocks--but so is Crumb's heart, on his sleeve, in the great tenderness with which he has rendered the women in his life. They're all here: his high-school crushes, his paramours, the girls and women who tormented him--and to whom he gave it right back--or who caught his eye on the street, and, of course, his wife and fiery sometime collaborator, Aline, and their daughter Sophie. Add to this his mistress of fifteen years, and you have not only a catalogue raisonné of Crumb's portraits of women but also a revealing record of a passionate life. 2003, Greybull Press

Paying for ItPaying For It

Paying For It is a compelling look into one man's history of employing prostitutes as a replacement for romantic love. In June 1996 Brown's then girlfriend broke up with him. After three years of celibacy and his growing conviction that romantic love is destructively possessive, Brown works up the courage to see a legal prostitute and finds the anxiety over whether to pursue a relationship with any particular woman forever removed. The next 200 pages are an explicit dossier of the various women he did business with, until he meets one that he ends up with in a monogamous -- but still financial -- relationship. 2011, Drawn and Quarterly

The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book by R. CrumbThe R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book

Robert Crumb, world-famous illustrator and definite pervert, got his start in the underground comics scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book is a collection of his best work from the last 50 years (it's got kids stuff, too, which is pretty fascinating). The volume is a welcome reminder that, screwed up as Crumb may be, he's also a tremendously talented, utterly original artist. He artistically embodies a certain segment of the '60s, and as that fades even further into history, Crumb's material becomes more important. 1998, Back Bay Books

The XXXenophile Collection Vol. #5 by Phil FoglioThe XXXenophile Collection Vol. #5

Anyone who can't laugh about sex probably isn't doing it right. By that reasoning, Foglio depicts it done very well.

In Volume 5 Foglio continues his visual exploration of the funny side of sex, collected from comic books printed some years ago. It's a series of short stories, all with fantasy or science fiction themes, allowing a lot of room to explore outrageous ideas. That means, for example, that the reader should have a liberal attitude towards dating outside of one's species. Like the other XXXenophile books, this expresses a generally happy and consensual approach to adult play. The overall goofiness assures that the plots won't be taken too seriously. For example, most people wouldn't think that a dark spirit, sent to enforce an evil curse, would be open to seduction. Well, I guess dark spirits have to have a love life, too. 1998, Studio Foglio

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