TITLE: Elementals Sex Special Issue 4
YEAR: February 1993
COMPANY: Comico Comics
Writer: Eric Dinehart
Artist: Michael Davis
Colorist: Marcus David
Letterer: Tim Eldred
The 1990’s, it was a time where up-and-coming artists recreated the images of popular superhero characters and to happiness or chagrin (depending on the comic book reader), there was either less clothing, skin tight clothing or possible an over-exaggeration of female proportions.
Needless to say, it was the beginning of a change with comic books with writers and artists wanting to do their own thing and not be restricted by the comic code authority, which would end another decade later.
But it was part of the stigma of comics at the time… sex sells.
It was quite evident with the swimsuit or lingerie issues that comic book companies were selling at the time and you either loved it or you hated it, but regardless of what one thought…back in the ’90s, sex sells (and later on, somehow it would change to violence sells). And many creators wanted to cater to those comic book readers who were no longer young, were in college or young adults.
For Comico Comics, the company who were founded in 1982 and would be known for their comics such as “Primer”, “Grendel”, “Mage: The Hero Discovered”, “Evangeline” and Bill Willingham’s superhero group, “Elementals”.
With Comico experiencing problems after choosing to distribute to the newsstand market, the owners of Comico would sell the company to Andrew Rev, who became president of the company and give Comico a new relaunch. While many of the popular titles jumped to other comic companies, “Elementals” stayed with Comico but only one shots or a three issue third volume of the series were made available.
While I remember Comico Comics for “Elementals” and their run through the 1980’s (and of course, “Robotech”), my main memory of Comico Comics was “Elementals Sex Special”.
With Rev now owning the rights to the Elementals, he would shock/titillate longtime fans of the series by featuring the characters nude and having sex.
Rev would write in the inside cover page “Society chooses to separate sex from other day to day activities of a character. We hope to make the reader care about the characters and their unique personalities, to make them multi-dimensional. Sex is just one aspect of their personalities. Some characters cannot live up to their accustomed heroics when it comes to their sex lives. The book is designed to expand and supplement the understanding of these characters, and is meant to be interactive with the regular Elementals storyline. Fans recognize that knowing the characters intimately is an integral factor in producing more enjoyable fantasies in their own imagination”.
And so, “Elementals Sex Special” features just that.
“Elementals Sex Special Issue 4” focuses on Agent Mary Lo discussing trying to get Thomas Czuchra. As she is training in the dojo, she becomes flustered because she is discovering that she has fallen in love with Tommy.
And sure enough, who has come to her, Tommy formerly “Monolith” who has been killed several times and somehow manages to come back by building a new body. But in doing so, he loses a part of himself.
And immediately, both start making love in the dojo but poor Tommy, with his new body…he is unable to…you know.
The second story features Morningstar (Jean Crane) who is feeling all alone in her room (and happens to be nude) and yet tormented with her fight against Cold Mary.
Upset that her husband Ambrose is not with her, she goes to find him and find out that her husband, a reagent must prove his virility every four years and must have sex with another female creature (this must be some furry thing) which leaves Jean even more upset about the idea that this has to happen.
And while the sacred ceremony is important, Jean’s anger over her husband making love with another female may get the best of her.
For the most part, the humor is still an integral part of the series. But the big question is whether or not you want to see your superheroes engaged in sexual activity in a comic book?
By no means is this anything new, Japanese manga have managed to show sexuality and violence and some of it has been released in the U.S. during the ’90s through Viz Comics. But people see that as cultural differences, but in the early ’90s, it may have been a major issue that riled fans up. But I saw the issue in a different perspective. If people were buying and the company was making money, then so be it. Comico Comics had to make major changes to become profitable and if they wanted to go through the “sex sells” route, so be it.
The same thing happened with the anime industry when they first marketed their videos to the United States and it was a common thing to see back in the ’90s. Tentacles anyone?
These comics were marketed as mature and there was a lot of experimentation going on with the “Elementals” during this restructuring phase for the company. Unfortunately, it was not enough to keep the company afloat.
I did find the letters/comments section to be creepy as readers were asked the question “What is your most erotic fantasy involved yourself and an Elemental”. And my thought was that I couldn’t believe they were going there and the readers were going there.
But for longtime readers of the “Elementals”, seeing this superhero team having sex in a comic book is probably the last thing one would ever expect, but it was the audacious ’90s and Comico Comics no doubt shocked longtime fans with these “Elementals Sex Special” issues.