From chicks in chain-mail bikinis to musclemen in tights, from the Tijuana bibles of old to the latest panty-flashing fan service in Japan, sex and comics go together like a complete lack of social skills and comics. So here's a brief roundup of some notable comic book hotties – according to me. Your mileage, true believer, may vary, and you are of course invited to let me know whom I missed. (Look, I had a crush on Marionette from The Micronauts when I was 12, but you don't see her on the list.)
Wonder Woman: Not long after inventing the polygraph machine, psychologist William Moulton Marston co-created, with his wife Elizabeth and their live-in polyamorous partner Olive Byrne, the heroine who'd go on to grace the cover of the first issue of Ms. in 1972. There's a barely sublimated kinky streak running through Wonder Woman's early adventures, with the crime-fighting Amazon inevitably getting hog-tied before busting loose and dominating the baddies. Then there's jiggle queen Lynda Carter, whose TV turn in the star-spangled panties had '70s dads swallowing the pull tabs from their Billy Beers for three seasons. Still in print 70 years after her creation, the character is more powerfully built and scantily clad than ever. So yeah, Wonder Woman's hot. But if you find yourself rubbing one out in front of an old Super Friends cartoon on YouTube, seek professional help.
Runner-up Catwoman: How Halle Berry managed to fuck this character up I'll never understand. Sleek, slinky and secretive, Catwoman can also lick her own butt! (No, I made that up, I think.)
Octobriana: Looking like a Bolshevik Bardot, with a thin strap restraining her missile tits and a red star emblazoned above her unibrow, Octobriana is the lusty, brawling, Coke-swilling champion of the true ideals of socialism, but also an enemy of both political and sexual repression. Her high-heeled boots and low-riding snakeskin pants don't get in the way of her wrestling yaks to the ground and dispatching giant walruses with nothing but a dagger. Allegedly created in the mid-'60s by a clandestine group of Russian freethinkers called Progressive Political Pornography, she was actually cooked up by a Czech artist who based Octobriana on art he swiped from some compatriots before fleeing his country. Billy Idol has her tattooed on his arm, so there you go.
Runner-up Tank Girl: She's an anarchic Aussie with a 120 mm case of penis envy and a thing for kangaroo cock.
Omaha the Cat Dancer: Omaha is a sensual force of nature, an exotic dancer so smokin' she causes riots and who happily beds friends of both sexes. She also has the face, ears and tail of a cat, which somehow only makes her hotter. Looking back at Reed Waller and Kate Worley's beloved indie comix series from the '80s, it's hard to say what's sillier, all the feathered hairdos on display or the fact that they're being worn by anthropomorphic animals. But Omaha bridged a lot of gaps, audience-wise. Its soap-opera storyline was accessible to noncomics nerds. It was chock-full of pleasant sex that was explicit but not exploitative and earned the comic a big female readership. And it was an erotic "funny animal" comic that you didn't have to be a "furry" perv to enjoy.
Runners-up Annie and Nibbil: Characters from Colleen Coover's gleeful lesbian romp, Small Favors.
The real man
Jaeger: In the award-winning sci-fi series Finder, the rigid rules of ancient ethnic clans bump up against the mores of wealthy high-tech society. Jaeger travels between these worlds; he's one of the most seductive and complicated rogues in all of comicdom. An outcast from his tribe, he's a sort of tracker whose heightened senses often need to be sated (or drowned out) with a punch-up, a good fuck or maybe just a cigarette. He's a nomad with a (crazy) woman (or five) in every town, charming and infuriating, shunned and desired, and possessed of a supple, muscular build that you can't get in a gym. Jaeger can be a grade-A asshole, but there's more sex appeal in that curl of hair at the base of his throat than in a legion of superheroes.
Runner-up Wolverine: If you prefer a simpler version of the hairy he-man type, Logan's your guy. Snikt? Schwing!
The indie darlings
Hopey and Maggie: Few alternative comics fans, at least those of a certain age, can deny carrying a torch for at least one of Jaime Hernandez's two Love & Rockets leads. It's not fair to simply lump the slim, volatile Esperanza "Hopey" Glass and the more zaftig and passive Margarita Luisa "Maggie" Chascarillo into the "hottie" category. They are highly crush-worthy, and no one draws female body type varieties as beautifully as Hernandez. But for nearly a quarter-century, readers have watched these two L.A. Chicanas transition from an angry teen punk and a lovestruck rocket-ship mechanic into a couple of complex middle-aged women with a lifetime of stories behind them. After years of following the elliptical orbits of these sometime-lovers, inevitable friends as they cross and drift apart, our affections for them lie closer to the heart than the crotch.
Runner-up Craig Thompson: From the autobiographical Blankets and Carnet de Voyage, a slender, soulful emo boy who sanctifies his lovers and his life with inky, flowing brush strokes. He's enough to break your heart. (The real-life Thompson's a great guy too.)
Alice Mitchell: That'd be Dennis the Menace's mother. Don't argue. I have it on good authority that she's hands-down the hottest mom in the funny papers. Besides, who's the competition? What's-her-name from Zits?
Runner-up Blondie Bumstead: How's that for a porn-star name?
A version of this article appeared in the Detroit Metro Times.; firstname.lastname@example.org