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The Sex Comic Strips | The Comic Strips
Nearly a century ago, Mafia money bankrolled an explosion of erotic popular fiction, says Arifa Akbar. The biggest surprise in the gloriously tawdry history of erotic comics is not they first emerged in Prohibition-era America, when people were thirsty for a drink, nor that they saw their heyday during the Great Depression, when people were scrabbling for jobs and food. The most peculiar fact in the annals of these bawdy comics is that they were the creation of the American Mafia, which used them as wrapping paper for their contraband goods, and peddled them in nightclubs and barbers' shops. Audiences at the Port Eliot music and literary festival, which takes place from 19 to 22 July, will hear how it was the Mob that began to commission these crude, graphic and often humorous images that were used to wrap bootleg bottles of drink to stop them from clinking, and so being discovered. For the price of illicit alcohol, punters got these salacious comic-strips thrown in. To buy on their own, they were no more than a few cents — disposable booklets drawn on rough paper and printed cheaply: the American equivalent of chip-paper. A decade after they came into being, Mafia bosses created a series of dirty comics that have since come to be known as the Tijuana bibles, or more commonly, "bluesies".
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions. Traditionally, throughout the 20th and into the 21st century , these have been published in newspapers and magazines , with horizontal strips printed in black-and-white in daily newspapers, while Sunday newspapers offered longer sequences in special color comics sections. With the development of the internet, they began to appear online as webcomics. There were more than different comic strips and daily cartoon panels in American newspapers alone each day for most of the 20th century, for a total of at least 7,, episodes.
Reader discretion is advised. While obviously there have been comic books about sex in the United States since the beginning of the 20th Century, these comics were almost always simply Tijuana Bibles, childish attempts at drawing popular celebrities and comic characters in sexual situations to appeal to the lowest common denominator. When it comes to actual good comic books involving sex, the American comic book market has lagged well behind Europe and Japan, where comic books about sex are quite common.