One of today’s most iconoclastic cartooning voices is Connor Willumsen, a traveling ninja who periodically busts out experimental and beautiful comics. He’s also known for turning his back on mainstream work, including a run on Punisher Max that he left early on. Prompted by Ronald Wimberley’s powerful “Lighten Up” about being asked by a Big Two editor to make a mixed race character lighter, Willumsen has followed up with “Penetrating Rule,” about Marvel’s ban on showing anal sex. (Although…Alias #1…) I highly recommend you read both pieces, as they show why…well, let’s be honest, we need indie comics and indie comics that pay living wages.

I can understand why showing Wolverine giving a lady a blast in the can may have aroused alarm bells, but it’s certainly worth discussing.

Link a bit NSFW, especially if your W does not like the sight of Wolverine’s hairy ass.


  1. Well, at least that explains why that one panel in a later issue of Fury MAX was inelegantly resized to move the sex outside the panel borders. In MAX comics, as Willumsen reveals, face-to-face male/female sex is always vaginal and therefore permissible, whereas sex from behind could only be anal and therefore cannot be depicted because anal sex is dirty, but don’t worry we still love you, gay people!!! Needless to say, this is a bizarre set of assumptions to run a “mature readers” imprint on.

    Wimberly’s essay undoubtedly raises big issues, but the specific case he relates, more than being a case of whitewashing, seems to be the result of an editor’s failure to give an artist up front the references he needs to do the job he’s been assigned. If she’d provided examples of how that character was currently being depicted, he wouldn’t have needed to do his own research on a comics fan site and then guess at an appropriate skin tone based on the character’s ancestry listed there, which unsurprisingly turned out to be different from the character’s published appearances. Of course, it doesn’t help that the editor, perhaps being quite new at the job (we are talking about Katie Kubert here, right?), doesn’t herself seem very clear about the character appearing in the story she’s editing.

  2. What’s the point of warning readers that you are linking them to a site that is NSFW b/c it has images of “Wolverine’s hairy ass” when “Wolverine’s hairy ass” is the very graphic you have for this story on your homepage? Doesn’t that make the NSFW warning a little too late?

  3. Seriously? Marvel doesn’t want one of its characters shown having ANAL SEX and they have to get a lecture about it?

  4. I suspect this rule is in place BECAUSE of Alias #1, not in spite of it.
    Bendis has said that scene was not meant to depict anal sex, yet many people misinterpreted it, and took to the internet because of it.

    Im guessing Marvel is trying to avoid a repeat.

  5. “Blast in the can”? Didn’t know that one. There goes my credibility as a boundary-pushing queer pornographer, eh? Or do I get a free pass because I make comics that frequently depict the act in question? :)

    “…we need indie comics and indie comics that pay living wages” Well, yes, we do. Doing my best both to produce and buy them.

  6. When I read that headline, I thought you were talking about characters being banned from defacating on the toilet. You probably need a new euphemism.

  7. I’m going to start using that phrase as much as possible, even when it makes no sense.

    “Well ain’t that a blast in the can!”

Comments are closed.