Quote of the Day: Healthy Xxxenophile

“I had a pediatrician tell me if she had a choice between a young teenage boy finding XXXenophile and Batman, she’d throw him XXXenophile because it teaches much healthier interactions.”

From a great interview with Phil Foglio. I’m a fan of Xxxenophile, the porn comic for everyone, myself. He also talks about successful webcomic business models (and the caveats involved), such as his Girl Genius, and why he put Myth Adventures online.

5 Responses to “Quote of the Day: Healthy Xxxenophile”

  1. Rob Says:

    Good interview. I think he had a good point about how fortunate he was going into webcomics with (1) an established fanbase, and (2) material in-hand to sell.

  2. Argo Plummer Says:

    I have held off on commenting on this topic for a few days because I didn’t want to come off as a closed minded prude. I am kind of a prude, but I pride myself on my open-mindedness.

    I get what the point of the statement by the pediatrician is…our culture is permeated by violence and we are numb to it and I see how many people could feel that a man who dresses as a bat and beats the snot out of people could be viewed as unhealthy… personally, as someone who views Batman as the greatest character that comics have given us and among the top ten literary characters ever, chooses to see the positives in his character, but that’s kind of beside the point.

    I agree that our society is really screwed up when it comes to portraying healthy views of sex and sexuality and that teenagers are foremost among those who need open and honest discussion about sex and they are the ones who are least likely to get that.

    All that being said, I not only have worked with many teen males, but I myself was one not all that long ago (no matter how long it might seem to me) and I can’t agree that Xxxenophile represents a healthy portrait of sex.

    To be fair, I have only seen one issue…I found issue # 1 at my local used book store, buried away in a box of independent comics. I was curious, so I took it to an isolated corner–so I wouldn’t be caught looking at smut–I may live in a liberal community, but I’m not comfortable enough to flaunt pornography (or what could be considered pornography) to the good customers who are simply looking for the latest Jodi Piccoult novel–and read through it.

    The art was amazing–I do love Phil Foglio’s art–his Angel and the Ape mini-series from the early 90’s is still a favorite of mine–but if I remember correctly, the issue featured a human having ridiculous sex with a demon, a woman who mysteriously replicated each time she “pleasured” herself, and a woman who used a robot for sex. And all the women were portrayed as sex crazed and all drawn with ridiculously unrealistic proportions. As humorous as one might find these stories or as provocative as one might find them, I am hard pressed to promote any of them as examples of healthy sex or sexuality. They are fantasy–plain and simple–the type of fantasy that, in my opinion, is part of the problem our country has with sex, not part of the solution.

    If I have overstepped my bounds with anything I have said in terms of content for your blog, I absolutely apologize. It’s just that while I may have conservative views on sex, I do believe that we should talk openly about it, no matter how uncomfortable that makes me. This topic really spoke to me and I wanted to respond in a tempered manner.

    To conclude, as a father of three boys, I hope they never see an issue of Xxxenophile or anything like itwhile they are in their teens, although I know that is wishfful thinking, so I hope I will be able to talk with them when they do find things like this in an open and honest way about how Xxxenophile, or another comic or movie does not accurately portray real, healthy sexual relations.

    Thanks for reading my ranting.

  3. Johanna Says:

    I liked that quote because I don’t think modern comic writers, for the most part, handle Batman properly. They play up his insanity and indulge in excessive violence and gore. If you wrote him, I’d probably like it a lot better. :)

    You’re right that Foglio’s women do tend to fall into one excessively cartoony cheesecake mold. That aside, I think you may be reading “strong interest in and enjoyment of sex” as “sex-crazed”. I guess that distinction is just a matter of where you choose to draw your line. And yes, many of the Xxxenophile stories are very fantastic or take sexual twists on science fiction concepts. That’s their audience and the milieu they come out of.

    No, you haven’t overstepped anything. You’ve expressed your opinion clearly and politely, and you’re entitled to disagree, with both me and the quote. I love Xxxenophile, and I’ll defend it on many grounds, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. (If you object to the idea of “rear-door” sex, for example, then you won’t enjoy many of the stories. And I’m using a euphemism to avoid certain kinds of ads popping up.) I appreciate hearing from someone with a different point of view as to what they thought of the book and why. It’s enlightening.

  4. Argo Plummer Says:

    First, I will respond to the Batman point–I too hate that Batman is often reduced to a broken, insane man. I much prefer the view that Bruce uses the Batman persona as a way to stave off the horror and insanity of his life. Yes, it might be nitpicking, but I believe controlling the insanity and using it for good is much truer to the character than succumbing to the madness.

    I also hate that most writers tend to forget that he is the world’s greatest detective and a master escape artist. As much as I love the Oracle character and the new lease on life it has given to Barbara Gordon, many writers use her as a crutch for Batman’s leg work when really he is the one that should be informing her of stuff, not the other way around. Some of my favorite Bat-writers are the ones who focus on these elements rather than the violent, psycho-babble, i.e. Mike W. Barr, Denny O’Neil, and yes, even kooky Bob Haney from the halcyon days of the Brave and the Bold. Hell, even the cheesy Batman from the current Brave and the Bold cartoon is much closer to “my Batman” than most of the current incarnations.

    As for Xxxenophile, we will just agree to disagree. Again, I am working off the one issue I have read, but it did seem to go beyond a “strong interest in and enjoyment of sex” to me. Looking at it particularly from the point of view of a teenage boy (since that is who was mentioned in the quote), I don’t think the intended message of healthy sexual enjoyment would come across and the material would be viewed more as wish fulfillment–very busty women who can’t get enough sex and the sex is very unrealistic, due in large part to the fantasy / sci-fi elements. I just think that teenage boys would not be able to glean the more subtle message in the face of all the crazy sex scenes.

    All that being said, I thought about your points and will give Foglio credit for having female characters who initiate the sex and are very clear about their wants and needs. While the women may look like the typical male fantasy, they are portrayed (at least in my limited experience) as sexually independent and driven by their own desires rather than “servicing” a man, which often permeates sexual situations in all entertainment.

    Xxxenophile is not for me, but the quality of workmanship makes it more acceptible to me than most of the other “adult, sexually explicit” comics out there.

    To amend my earlier statement, if my boys do come across Xxxenophile when they are teens, at least I know they will see some very nice artwork and the more fantastic elements can be explained by the sci-fi / fantasy setting.

    Enjoying the discussion…keep up the great work on the blog!

  5. Johanna Says:

    You’re probably right about the teenage boys, but I’m not sure they’re picking up on the more subtle messages in ANYthing at that age. :)




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