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Someone asked me on facebook whether I feel I could use comedy for every subject, or if some things were taboo. After some reflection, I realized this question is worth a post of its own. Thanks Esther :-)

What is a taboo?! I could have asked that question back too, because taboos are individual and connect with our own values and boundaries. It’s a very intrigueing question. And I realized that indeed there are boundaries which I hold on to. In short my taboos are sex and death!


Tits of Steel and A*ses of Marble- Comicbook title-page made in 2005

Sex: I have an issue with nudity (oh I see raised eyebrows and “really?”)… well yes, I make jokes about sex and there is an amount of cleavage and the occasional butt-cheek, but I do have an issue with nudity, as I do respect my characters privacy and my readers sensibilities. I would not depict sex in a comic that could be considered pornographic and I don’t think I could make fun of child abuse as I think this is the most horrible thing ever.

Death: Again, I made jokes about our society’s tendency to be in denial about death. But then I doubt I could make jokes about actual tragedies, accidents and deaths. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t let a character die (in a funny way, maybe?), but that’s fictional for me. Although I remember when I wanted to kill off Simon a friend reminded me “I don’t know, life imitates art,…” and so I didn’t kill him. So I am careful with that too.

I also realize that if people make fun of those taboos, I do feel offended. So taboos for me are very much linked with what we feel is offensive. And as someone once asked me “Do you reflect on what people might think when they read your comics?”. I do actually. In the end I try to make comedy for a purpose. So even when I am consciously offensive, I am offending the system and the structures we created collectively (so it’s a shared offense). But my aim is not to offend any reader. when I scratch on topics that could be considered taboos (homosexuality, racial stereotypes, gender stereotypes), it is from a systemic perspective. I try to reflect what I observe in our society.

Which ultimately leads me to my question: Is there anything you, my fellow readers, find “crossing a line” in my comics? It would be interesting to explore that. As I always believe, if we find something that offends us personally, it holds valuable information about ourselves. And THAT is the interesting bit.

Please, feel free to comment and tell me your views!

  • http://sunandski.com jeremiah

    I think when it comes to taboos, intent is everything. There is nothing in my personal life i wont joke about. When it comes to what i put in my comic though, it can’t be hateful. If you are going to joke about a hot button issue, you have to do it the right way. Death happens, and some of us try to see humor in it because that is how we cope. As far as that goes, child abuse and rape. Those are two subjects I wouldn’t touch if you paid me.
    As far as working beauty I have never found it offensive, cheeky at worst, but always awesome.

    • Working Beauty

      Thanks Jeremiah! I agree with you on the intention bit! I can joke about many things but I know my intentions and I know who I am, and so do people around me. However joking in a public forum is more tricky, because people might not understand the intention behind it because they don’t know you well enough. That’s why I hope and try to be careful when I publish things, just like you are. … I am going through the “restoration” process of an old comic story, and I realize it’s much more politically incorrect :-) I am curious what people will think when I put it out there…

  • http://sunandski.com jeremiah

    I’m REALLY looking forward to it! you’ve got some supportive fans, I’m sure it will be well received. But if not everyone still loves working beauty, and tinka XD

    • Working Beauty

      Thanks so much… I am getting there… I’m on page 40 from 62… Frankly, my cartoon style has become a lot better since then, I used to be a bit sloppy :-)… but the story is still funny I think…

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