And on the subject of ‘edginess’ in comics…
You can show sex without having it be tasteless:
You can discuss rape without having it be exploitative:
You can portray prostitution without fetishizing it:
You can write dark storylines without having it be soulless:
You can write addiction without treating it simplistically:
I am not crying, there’s just something in my eye.
I am not suggesting that comics should consist of nothing but squeaky-clean fluff. You want to write something dark, controversial, non-kid-friendly? Go for it. Comics aren’t just for kids anymore.
But do it with respect. Do it with sensitivity. And for the love of God, do not do it just to be “edgy”.
You want to know what these scenes have in common? They have heart. They have nuance. And they fit into the context of telling a larger story - one which is ultimately empowering, not degrading, to the characters involved. These scenes were written for more than shock value.
Too often, when these issues are brought up, that is not the case. There is no thought, no heart, no nuance. There is no larger story. It’s blatantly obvious that the writer just wanted to be shocking or “gritty”, and so they decided to bust out the sex/drugs/rape/torture/”hookers”.
That’s not how you do it. You can’t use these things for shock value. You can’t use them as a plot point. You can’t use them just to be ‘edgy’. You owe it to your characters to treat them with more respect than that.
I literally cannot “THIS” enough.