Small, at best (or would that be worst). I’m more prone to self-censor. Once I worked for a kids’ comedy magazine, more than 25 years ago, they censored some artwork, but it wasn’t sexual content. They misinterpreted it as offensive in other ways too stupid to enter. But I’ve been very fortunate. Or prudent. Or some mix.

Your illustrations often depict nudity. What exactly is it about the unclothed form which makes you draw it so often?
I likely do so less than I used to, because my porn work apart, I typically include nudity when it is germane to what’s going on. But it is only interesting. The human body is interesting to draw.
Given the American sensitivity toward nudity, does this affect your work and what you put in your novels or what you print? Or how or where you print it?
Yes. Within my forthcoming novel, MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE(out Spring 2013 from Image Comics), I went in and really toned down some of the more overt, or arguably gratuitous, nudity in hopes of reaching a bigger audience and never scaring away some more conservative retailers. So, yeah, it’s a thing you will need to think about. I’ve a prose novel I Have needed to write set in Hell, and the damned souls are nude inside. My representative really encouraged me to tone down the nudity in a publication which was only text. I chose not to because that is taking it too far. I also tabled the novel for now, but for other reasons. But America is rather strange about sex and nudity. It’s a society obsessed with the prurient but absolutely at odds with its own nature.
Well now we need to inquire. Is it more interesting to draw male bits or female bits?
Man is more amusing, female is more gratifying.
Do you believe anything should be censored? And where do you draw the line?

Yes. This really is becoming a bit dark, but anything involving kids. But even there I assume context is everything. If you merely described some of the items they’ve actually depicted on South Park you might balk. But they are able to get away with some pretty improper things because they’re geniuses at weighing the scale fully on the humor. I draw the line occasionally taking into consideration the marketplace. But in spite of what many people might believe, I Have only normally calmed down on particular issues. On the other hand, I did tone down Pariah. My first draft got much darker and nastier in certain arenas and I pared that back to help it become more palatable. Sometimes too much is too much, you know?
Can you feel torn about the self censorship? Would a better compromise be making a censored version and an uncensored version?
Not actually. There is a time and a place. If the nudity is a distraction and does not function the story it perhaps doesn’t need to be there . But there is something to be said for alternate variants, sure. I like that sort of thing. It is having your cake and eating it nude.
Would you think non-sexual nudity should be censored?
It is about context. I love to depict nudity, but there’s a time and a location. So, there’s no tough, firm, solution for that.
What do you think of the Nipplegate episode and in addition the recent instance of an Austrian museum censoring its promotional art poster of nude men? Can you believe this kind of censorship has become more common? Is that okay?
The New Yorker matter is moronic. Sergio Aragones depicted bare breasts with dots for nipples in over thirty years ago. And that is a magazine ostensibly for children. So the fact that anyone was fussed over dots in the New Yorker is utterly ignorant. And the redrawn version makes no sense at all. It is just not a gag any more. As for the Vienna thing, since those a public kiosks I think it makes more sense to cover the male pieces. If they were covering them at the actual exhibition that would be another matter.
There are other nude art posters plastered all over Vienna, except they feature full frontal female nudes. These were absolutely satisfactory, while the male nudes caused a huge uproar. Any ideas on this or why there was such a difference in reaction to them? Should just specific kinds of nudity be censored in public?
Okay, this points out a couple of things. First is the inherent hypocrisy of male vs. female nudity. Some would argue that it’s because female genitalia is internal (although these days, with some many women completely waxed, one could argue you can see plenty of the close anatomy), while men’s bits are completely on show. I think it essentially comes down to many (most?) people finds penises kind of gross. Or ridiculous. Or both. What do I understand?
So there you might have it. The lowdown from two cartoonists and how they cope with nudity taboo, female nipple bulge and censorship.
What do you readers think? Is nudity censorship getting out of control today? Or do cartoonists still get away with a lot more because it is a cartoon?
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