So, for the last couple of months I’ve been chasing down any 1990’s Image comic, and imagine my surprise when I found Gen 13 Bootleg #18, which is the first comic I’ve read which includes naturism. Well, a nude beach anyway.
Gen 13 Bootleg #18 was published by Image Comics and WildStorm Productions (who were part of Image at the time) back in 1998, although, all (or most) of the characters now belong to DC after WildStorm were bought by DC. It featured a story and artwork by Kevin Altieri (known for Batman, the Animated Series, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Spectacular Spider-Man), with inks by Mark Farmer, colours by WildStorm FX and lettering by Amie Grenier and Denice Park and two covers, one by Kevin Altieri and Mark Farmer, and the other by the legendary Bruce Timm.
Anyway, the comic takes place on a nude beach in La Jolla, which for those of you who know the history of naturism will know that the beach is indeed Black’s Beach, America’s first nude beach. The story has Lola Montressori, a wealthy heiress, being attacked by a group of Nazi Pirates who want to kidnap her, but she is saved by Grunge, who was surfing at the beach that day. The pirate submarine then fires a torpedo, but it is turned around by Grunge. There is also a lot of surfing.
In my opinion, the comic is great. It has the right balance of humour and action to keep the reader interested, and new readers can still enjoy it, even if they haven’t read the previous issues, as it is a self-contained story. Although the only naked person to be a part of the main story is a flirtatious ‘bimbo’ (she is described as a bimbo on the main cover, so I’m not being rude), the scenes in the background show that naturism is suitable for all ages, young and old, and for, essentially, everyone. One scene has Lola in the foreground, with a couple sat on the beach, a mother playing with her child and a man stood near the woman with the baby. There is also a man failing at surfing, being thrown several feet in the air, but that’s beside the point. Point is, the comic does show that a naturist comic could be possible, even if every nipple and such is obscured. Regardless of tour views of nudity, it’s certainly a great and funny read.
But, with every great thing, there must also be a downside, or something. Although I absolutely love this comic, it does make the only one who’s nude in the main story seem like some kind of sex fiend or something. Still, I’d love to see more comics which aren’t afraid to include naturism, even a little bit, and not make it out as if it’s a joke.