So what kind of person buys a “Torture variant” cover anyway? (NSFW, trigger images)

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I know everyone tsk tsk’s Avatar’s habit of putting out gory, exploitive covers, but seriously, after looking at some of their “torture variant” covers, I find myself asking “WHAT KIND OF SICK FUCK BUYS THIS SHIT????” I get the appeal of a little transgressive gore now and then, but these are basically images of sawed off limbs, flaying and twisted sexual situations that make Mark Millar look like Hannah Montana. And yes, I know people are getting what they asked for but….seriously what kind of people are they? How can anyone read this with a straight face?:

Jamie (Hellblazer) Delano’s brutal story of suffering in the swamp comes to an unforgettable conclusion. Steve must face her former friends all now Crossed maniacs to defend the life growing within her. But in the end, her choice to adapt or die will leave you reeling. There is no hope.  There is no escape. There is only the Crossed.   Available with a Regular and special Red Crossed Incentive cover by artist Jacen Burrows as well as a Wraparound by Raulo Caceres and Torture cover by Matt Martin.

I’ve put the covers in a gallery. Warning, they are very very NSFW and some are truly disturbing.

Comments

  1. The Torture Variants are usually higher-priced collectibles sold to collectors who preorder them from DM retailers or buy them online or at cons. Few retailers put them on the racks (which is probably why you just discovered them; they’ve been around for years).

    Senator KEFAUVER. Here is your May 22 issue. This seems to be a man with a bloody ax holding a woman’s head up which has been severed from her body. Do you think that is in good taste?

    Mr. GAINES. Yes, sir; I do, for the cover of a horror comic. A cover in bad taste, for example, might be defined as holding the head a little higher so that the neck could be seen dripping blood from it and moving the body over a little further so that the neck of the body could be seen to be bloody.

    Senator KEFAUVER. You have blood coming out of her mouth.

    Mr. GAINES. A little.

    Senator KEFAUVER. Here is blood on the ax. I think most adults are shocked by that.

    Shocked, I say! ;)

  2. This makes my worst stuff look pretty wholesome in comparison.

  3. george says:

    Avatar’s content is just as revolting as their covers. I flipped through one of their “Night of the Living Dead” comics displayed in my local comics shop. One page showed a zombie performing oral sex on a woman, then ripping out her sexual equipment with his teeth (shown in graphic detail).

    Just imagine if some clueless comic-shop clerk sells one of these to a kid, who takes it home and shows it to Mom and Dad. Avatar’s comics are MUCH more disgusting than anything published by EC or even Victor Fox in the ’50s.

    I assume the buyers are people who get off on gory horror flicks — so-called “torture porn” like Hostel and its sequels and imitations. In other words, adolescent boys of all ages.

  4. The second to last cover is the most disturbing image I have seen in a long time. Maybe ever.

  5. Looks like Japanese *Guro*, which is a popular sub genre. Very over the top violence with some sexual torture added (Ero Guro). Often, as seen in some of these covers with the victims smiling or being *okay* with being dismembered. I’m not excusing it, but I know there is a segment of readers who follow it. A segment large enough to support it. I can only assume (beyond underground gore comics) that Crossed is cornering that very market in North America.

  6. The Crossed Torture covers are in Previews. Avatar’s covers have always done a good job of accurately representing contents than a lot of folks’ cover art, so I’d call these truth in advertising.

    The idea that people “get off” on horror is just silly. One can enjoy a gory horror story (say, Takashi Miike’s Audition or Romero’s zombie flicks) without having to like the characters or events. Well, some people can, anyway.

    The “what about the children” argument might be more valid if the average comics buyer’s age wasn’t 40. Comics shops don’t have “mature/adult” sections anymore; they have “all-ages/kids” sections. Welcome to 2013!

  7. george says:

    Mike Hansen said: “The “what about the children” argument might be more valid if the average comics buyer’s age wasn’t 40.”

    Actually, it’s 18 to 34. That’s the target demographic for most publishers. I’m saying “what if” a kid got his hands on these. You’re assuming that such a thing will never happen because it’s 2013. And if it did happen, nobody would care, because it’s 2013.

    You’re taking a lot for granted, Mr. Know-It-All.

  8. Torsten Adair says:

    Really? Diamond didn’t censor the comics? Move them over to the “Adult Previews” PDF?

    I was always surprised that the “Royal Blood” storyline of Hellblazer never tripped any alarms. That was rather disturbing, even for a Vertigo comic.

    But then, I put off buying and reading “Sandman” because it looked like a horror comic. (It was, just not in the mainstream sense.) Why did I start? Because of a story about a severed head that sang. (All of me… why not take all of me…)

  9. Haggard West says:

    Crossed is always a good read. I don’t “get off” on the covers, but the content is solid for the most part. If you can’t get past the cover, that’s fine.

  10. You don’t have to be a sick fuck to enjoy horror. Some people just do. Whoop-dee-doo.

  11. Rich Harvey says:

    ” In other words, adolescent boys of all ages.”

    And girls. Let’s not exclude anyone. You’ll see men and women, boys and girls who like this type of material at Monster Mania and Chillercon, both held in the old Garden State.

  12. It’s a book about maniacs. what is it you think maniacs do to people? The word torture comes to mind. If these covers could just randomly show up on shelves, that could be a concern, but they all have to be specifically ordered and put into the hands of a responsible retailer before reaching a customer. Yes, the covers are disturbing, but that’s their whole purpose. I like to possess all of the art from variant covers in the form of a tpb that collects them. When I get around to reading Crossed, I’d probably want to possess these in that same fashion…as disturbing and unnecessary as they are.

    No big deal.

  13. Amen, adgy.

    Crossed isn’t my cup of tea. But at the same time, these covers make it pretty clear exactly what kind of tea it is. And I’m sure the fans (well-adjusted and not, same as superhero fans and everyone else) enjoy the hell out of it.

  14. Monty Wirth says:

    Jamie Delano agrees that these “torture covers” are reprehensible, and he won’t do any further work for Avatar as a result. He said in a recent interview: “I certainly won’t be doing any more. I was a bit offended when the book actually came out that Avatar did a limited edition with what they called ‘torture covers’. There was some overt sort of sexual violence against women on the cover that I really found a bit too much. And they probably said, ‘Oh, sorry, Jamie, if we’ve breached your limits’ kind of thing in a supercilious sort of way. So I just thought, I won’t bother any more then. The material is pretty strong anyway, but to put a cover on it that has absolutely no relation to the story inside it just for it to appear shock value and to appeal to the worst tastes of teenage boys who are probably going to go on to be Columbine shooters or something like that. I was a bit offended, I have to say. … I particularly dislike overt sexual violence against women. I think that’s extremely counter-productive. The world is full enough of real-life sexual violence towards women and minorities, and so I don’t like to go there unless there’s a reason for it. Unless I’m going to present some kind of counter-argument, I won’t sanction that kind of thing.”

    Relevant portion starts at the 12:00 minute mark:
    http://www.comicdom.gr/2013/04/27/jamie-delano-cca2013-interview/

  15. Dave Hartley says:

    “WHAT KIND OF SICK FUCK BUYS THIS SHIT????”

    I haven’t paid for a Torture Variant cover, but I enjoyed the first series of Crossed as Garth Ennis’ riposte to The Walking Dead (which I dislike intensely). I didn’t like the David Lapham follow ups so much and gave up on it but I might look at it again some time unless something more interesting catches my eye. Would I grab my copies of Crossed if my house was on fire? No. But I might grab my S Clay Wilson’s so I guess that puts me somewhat into the “Sick Fuck” category.

    Avatar pander to their audience(s) exactly like every other comics publisher. They’ve produced a lot of stuff I’m not interested in, some I don’t much like the look or the implications of and some like Necronomicon which I’ve enjoyed.

    It’s horror. The clue is kind of in the name. There are lots of types of horror, from affect horror (like the above) to fantastic horror, and lots of ways of approaching it. People see the world in different ways and in the same way they respond to different kinds of fantastic fiction.

    Reading the olinguito story here at The Beat the other day I was struck less by its raccoon-like lovability than by the account of this unfortunate creature being moved around from zoo to zoo in fruitless efforts to force it to mate with another species, before it died and was presumably stuffed. I didn’t find this a pleasing fantasy but a rather grim and sad story. I don’t suggest my response is better or more valid than any other, but I also don’t think it’s worse or less valid.

    Well I don’t imagine that really answers your question but there you go.

  16. Serhend Sirkecioglu says:

    I never liked anything Mark Millar has made, it always reads as a 14yo boys wet dream and Crossed reads like something you graduate from Millarworld. i meant to chime in on the JR-JR interview but never got around to it. i don’t like either of these creators bodies of work, but to each their own and no real reason for stepping on their toes. So eh, rape and torture seem to sell more than sex nowadays, but the reason why is all in the justification for the gorn/guro. Millarworld and Crossed are in the realm of “I lack the class to make a thoughtful fictional commentary so here’s some rape and gorn/guro to throw you off and a hipster nihilist rant to make it all seem it was justified when frankly just wanted to show some rape and gorn/guro” and that stuff is the low hanging fruit for me, i just roll my eyes and read Attack on Titan. i suggest you do the same.

  17. george says:

    Just shrugging and saying “It’s horror” is a cop-out. There’s a difference between mainstream horror and the stuff Avatar publishes, which is over-the-top gore combined with explicit sexual violence against women. You won’t find that in George Romero’s zombie movies, where the female characters tend to be anything but victims (after the first movie).

    Like Jamie Delano said, this is pandering to the worst tastes of teenage boys. I’m afraid there’s a lot of that in comics. (See: the works of Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis and Mark Millar.)

  18. Nick Jones says:

    After seeing these covers I think I understand why adults are turning to stuff like My Little Pony.

    In fact, I do believe that I’m going to go attempt to scrub my own brain by reading the Amelia Rules! trade I recently picked up.

  19. Garth Ennis said in a panel I recorded (and I’m paraphrasing from memory here) that he likes his horror to be *horror*

    I don’t mean to put words in his mouth but I get the impression that he’s not a fan of “surprise and giggle” type horror. He did mention he didn’t like horror going mainstream to the point where vampires were considered cute.

    I get that. It’s not to my tastes and I don’t buy it, but I can understand the desire to write something like that.

    The Garth Ennis and Crossed panel was from last years New York Comic Con and can be heard here: http://www.thecomicbooks.com/Audio/12-10-13-NYCC-GarthEnnisAvatar.mp3

  20. Jay Barnet says:

    Seriously, if this is your thing, there’s something wrong with you. It’s really not normal behavior.

    I realize that’s a sweeping judgement, but… really, this is completely screwed up and there’s no need for it.

  21. Carlton Donaghe says:

    There’s no sense in this kind of crap, and if you like it, or if you condone it, there’s something wrong with you. People who like this kind of thing can say whatever they want to about me, I’ll just consider the source– I have no respect for you or whatever you might say.

    It is interesting that the writer of the book itself now is done with Avatar. They’ve really gone too far.

  22. >> It is interesting that the writer of the book itself now is done with Avatar.>>

    A writer of the book, not “the” writer.

    CROSSED was written at the start by Garth Ennis, but since then has been written by Jamie Delano (who’s the one who’s decided not to work with Avatar any more), David Lapham, David Hine, Si Spurrier and Christos Gage.

    An impressive roster of writers, but I can’t say the book looks like something I want to read.

  23. Generally speaking, I find CROSSED pretty far from the “violence as titillation” subgenre. Ennis’s original run found a fresh take on the mass horror fears that zombies used to evoke but which have been rubbed raw from overexposure. Si Spurrier’s webcomic version, CROSSED: WISH YOU WERE HERE, is one of the best horror comics in decades. There’s a lot of sex-related violence in CROSSED; sex is a fertile ground for fear. But within the pages of the comics, the violence is not arousing, and it’s targeted at males about as often as females.

    I also note that the primary consumer of horror comics in the household is my wife, who has been a published horror scholar for ~30 years.

    All that said, though: the torture covers are over the top–especially the hypersexualized ones; they celebrate violence instead of using violence as a tool to evoke the range of emotions that a good horror story does. I understand Delano’s decision, because those covers diminish the entire project.

  24. that is some really sick shit, no doubt about it. now i understand we have free speech and freedom of expression and the boundaries of both are always being pushed and pulled in any and every direction possible, but just because one does have the freedom to create that kind awful offal , does that mean one should? do the folks that create this stuff feel that they are in some way being artistic, or do they get a kick out of offending people the same way a child gets a kick out of offending people by farting in a crowded room?

  25. Heidi MacDonald says:

    Just because the Japanese have a word for it doesn’t mean it’s laudable. As I tweeted earlier, Avatar has the right to publish this, people have a right to buy it, and we have a right to say it’s repulsive. I would go so far as to say we have a right to make fun of anyone who enjoys looking at an image of a dead mutilated woman having arrows shot into her exposed nether regions.

    And now, in the spirit of equal time, here is a picture of my cat, Lucy.

  26. Chris Hero says:

    This is a really interesting comment thread. I dunno, this is *really* not my thing, I’m more a Bone/Madman/Aw Yeah Comics type of guy, but who am I to judge? I’m personally not comfortable with judging other people’s tastes. On the other hand, I don’t like gratuitous violence against women in comics because comics, on the whole, have pissed away any sort of good will as far as assuming the violence has anything to say or serves the story in any way. (That’s a bad sentence, but I’m coming off a migraine.)

    All this conversation has made me revisit the authors and works I’ve enjoyed where violence against women is part of the story. I think the works I’ve enjoyed where there was violence against women handled the violence in a way where it was deplorable and informed the story, but I still feel I need to review the books I’ve read and see if I’m part of the problem. I’m suddenly getting really bothered to how mysonginistic comics on the whole seem to be.

  27. It should be pointed out that the actual comics — especially the Lapham ones — are more revolting than anything shown on these covers. Lapham’s CROSSED is to Ennis’s as Millar’s AUTHORITY is to Ellis’s, basically.

  28. Serhend Sirkecioglu says:

    It’s not a cop out, i’m just going to not buy it and read it more than i already have(about half of the first trade). you can have your high horse about women-in-refrigerators but that does not undo the demand and the fact there are people who actually like it. sorry for being pragmatic, saving my fucks for something else, and voting with my wallet.

  29. Heidi said it best. We can all agree to disagree, and everyone has to the right to condone it *and / or* the right to criticize it — and criticize those who read it. And the reverse is likewise true.

    I’ve never read it. I don’t plan to. I *get it* for the genre that it serves, but I don’t have to *read it*. The same was said for my work in the last 5 years. There are some books that are not made for everyone.

  30. I would never buy one of these, but I’m glad they are available. I want Comics to be able to do whatever the hell they want……even if it’s a cover of a guy shooting arrows into lady’s back-end.

  31. The CROSSED series is an equal opportunity kill zone comic, women get raped, men get raped, everyone gets the rough end of it. Majority of the people complain about just violence against females in comics. Crossed goes beyond that and EVERYONE is on the bad end of it.

    The violence is over the top, but most of the stories are about survival and all the most horrible unthinkable things you can imagine.

    And for those saying “this is sick, why would you read this” Well you watch shows about serial killers, and movies containing violence, so FUCK YOU for being judgmental.

  32. Heidi MacDonald says:

    Iman, I would like to note that the discussion is about “torture variant” covers, not the interiors of Crossed. I watch Dexter and The Walking Dead, which are both grim and gory. I winced at the gruesome torture and mutilation on Game of Thrones. That said I am not a horror fan, Audition gave me (and gives me) nightmares, and I once told a friend who sent out pictures of people burning to death in cars to take me off his mailing list.

    The artist on most of the above covers has a long career in S&M comics. I acknowledge that such things exists and an audience exists, but don’t understand or identify with the fascination. I’ll leave it to psychologists to argue whether or not it is healthy. I’m probably a little too obsessed with cute kittens and Chris Hemsworth, and you can discuss if that is healthy, too.

    I’ll tell you one thing, shooting arrows into a woman’s hoohah is not healthy.

  33. And honestly its offensive you saying what kind of sick fuck buys this shit…its called entertainment. So everything you read is all sugar plums and holding hands? There’s no violence in any of the comics you read? Or shows you watch? Or movies? Don’t people have a right to ENJOY something without being judged for it?

    Its seriously disgusting that you are painting people into a box basically saying they have issues cause they like horror comics. Obviously there’s a market for it, so all those who read the crossed books are sick fucks also?

  34. There you go turning this into a woman issue, MEN ALSO GET TORTURED in this comic, please don’t turn this into a woman in Refrigerators discussion.

    Dexter kills people, by wrapping them in plastic and stabbing them through the heart.

    The walking dead has zombies eating people, and humans killing humans.

    So what does that make you?

  35. Charles says:

    All things being equal, I really hate the “What if a kid got their hands on this” conceit. I’d argue that a big part of being the kind of kid who’d even consider stepping in to a comic book store is watching/reading/seeing things that are meant for “adult eyes only.”

    I understand there’s maybe more to it than simply wanting to protect a child’s innocence, but some people act as though they never stayed up late watching horror movies or reading violent/gory manga as a kid…

  36. Charles says:

    Actually, it’s maybe a bit churlish to assume everyone had the same experiences with popular culture as I did.

  37. Charles says:

    And yeah, if I had a kid I wouldn’t want them coming home with a comic that had a woman being mutilated on the cover.

  38. Personally I’d like most comics to come with Lucy the Cat variant covers.

  39. Not me. That’s who.

  40. David Hudson says:

    Those covers are pretty disgusting but they’re not the most stomach-churning comics I’ve seen recently – Bluewater’s Margaret Thatcher Tribute beats them by miles.

  41. Jay Barnet says:

    Anyone condoning or consuming this type of violence as merely “entertainment” is divorced from reality. Just how sheltered and desensitized do you have to be to think this garbage is acceptable?

  42. Pedro Bouça says:

    I’ll never understand the US. You guys censor basic nudity and let this pass?

    In an European bookstore you will find Manara stuff easily, but comics like these would probably be refused…

  43. Chris Hero says:

    To everyone complaining this is a women in refrigerators thing…I think I was the one who got on that soapbox, not Heidi. Personally, I’ve been really bothered lately by stuff as a result of Millar’s comments. I dunno…maybe I’m looking for it everywhere now.

    @Pedro Bouca

    Dude, I live here and in this regard I don’t get the US, either. Jimmie Robinson mentioned he’s gotten similar criticism for his work and his stuff is fun cheesecake stuff, not Manara.

    @MOF

    That’s disturbing about Lapham. I’m a fan of his and generally try to support him, but I bought one issue of his Crossed work and decided never to go back. I thought his stuff was on par with Ennis, but if it’s like your Authority analogy…. Lapham has so much talent but he seems Hell-bent on locking it away and never using it again.

  44. jaroslav hasek says:

    probably the best reason to put out this covers is it gets a whole bunch of people so worked up. the reactions from squares is half, if not all, of the fun.

    i’m also much more offended by the notion that anyone who enjoys these covers must be mentally unhealthy. its the solipsistic argument that because YOU don’t enjoy them that anyone who does must have something wrong with them. that is actually disturbing to me.

    go to any middle school in america and check out the doodles on the notebooks. you’ll see stuff like this. most kids grow out of it. some adults don’t. no big whoop. its just ink on paper. chillax everyone.

  45. Scott F. says:

    I for one am a huge Crossed fan and own some of the “torture” variants. Some people enjoy extreme gore and horror in fiction for various reasons that do not need to be psychoanalyzed by those with more delicate sensibilities. Fictional gore I have no problem with, but real life violence sickens me. I am much more disturbed by people who watch documentary medical shows that linger on surgical procedures than I am with people who enjoy fictional violence.

    If you are so disturbed by these images, why post pic’s instead of merely describing them and voicing your condemnation? More people have been exposed to these “disturbing” images due to this site posting them, so you are really just promoting them to a wider audience. Brava, anything for hits I guess.

  46. They’re over the top, and meant to be, but as a statement, this is our society. There is a part to it that revels in this kind of twisted shit. The fact that the artist enjoyed making these, to the publisher liking them enough to publish, to the fans who buy and enjoy looking at these. That’s a part of our society, we just have to deal with it and be on guard, cause there are sick fucks who will fantasize about doing exactly these things depicted on these covers. It’s unfortunate, but as we all know this world ain’t pretty.

  47. “I’ll tell you one thing, shooting arrows into a woman’s hoohah is not healthy.”

    I don’t know David Lapham personally, but I’m pretty sure no women (or other people) got hurt in the making of CROSSED, Heidi. I think the distinction is pertinent and worth keeping in mind when talking about art and fiction — even when it’s disgusting shit like CROSSED.

    If people always got this worked up when folks like Giffen or Romita shrug off and facilitate the revolting treatment of their peers — actual human beings — by their publishers, then U.S. mainstream comics would be a much better place.

    So why not try and remember what’s fact and what’s fiction, rather than get distracted by who’s putting on the nicest face.

  48. Heidi: This stuff is way over my line, too. But if you’re going to cover it, wouldn’t it also be fair to do a story about all the terrific Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, and Alan Moore comics that Avatar publishes? Not to mention Jamie Delano and Kieron Gillen? Some of those, I suspect, are partly paid for by torture cover variants.

  49. I would buy♥ I love gore~

  50. Synsidar says:

    One justification for condemning the cover images is that people view/read material for different reasons.

    Some people read material for enjoyment. That includes reading for intellectual stimulation and to appreciate the aesthetics, as well as reading just to enjoy the narrative–to see what happens, who lives, who dies, etc. They might also read formula fiction for enjoyment, without minding the repetition, but as a relief for stress, that’s no worse than watching a TV rerun.

    Some people read and view material for the stimulation, to fill needs they can’t satisfy elsewhere. They read or view hard-care porn, simulated torture, and child pornography. If someone consumes such material habitually and can’t justify consuming it for enjoyment, the habit is automatically suspect. Recall that law enforcement treats obscene graphic material differently from “obscene” text, because text has to be processed to have a stimulative effect. Graphic material doesn’t. Back in 1981, Piers Anthony had On the Uses of Torture published. The graphic depiction of a human being tortured got reactions. I read it decades ago and decided it was an interesting literary stunt. But would anybody consider doing the graphic equivalent? Probably not.

    Until a person crosses the line separating legal from illegal conduct, he hasn’t done anything wrong. However, there have been more than enough instances of people trying to realize sexual and predatory fantasies–Ariel Castro is just the latest example–to believe that people who habitually consume such material are potential threats to the public.

    SRS

  51. Dave Miller-lad says:

    Wow! There was a time when there would be a kurffufle if it was suggested on the printed page that Wolverine killed some thugs. Now . . . Hoo-boy!

  52. swampy says:

    “Seriously, if this is your thing, there’s something wrong with you. It’s really not normal behavior. I realize that’s a sweeping judgement, but… really, this is completely screwed up and there’s no need for it.”

    That’s how I feel when I see someone over the age of 16 buying superhero comics.

  53. Chris Hero says:

    @MOF

    “If people always got this worked up when folks like Giffen or Romita shrug off and facilitate the revolting treatment of their peers — actual human beings — by their publishers, then U.S. mainstream comics would be a much better place.”

    Preach on! I’m right there with you on all of that, but it seems like whenever people like you point out how morally bankrupt something like Before Watchmen is, pretty much everyone runs to scream about how creators need to get over themselves. I wasn’t particularly pleased with Jr Jr;’s weaselly answer over drawing a rape, but I can’t believe the free pass Giffen is getting over outright dismissing Maguire.

  54. Johnny Memeonic says:

    Crossed sounds like it’s going to be quite a few creators’ own personal “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” in about ten years.

  55. You guys, we can not allow Fun Home to be in our public school libraries. It’s indecent. It leads to immorality and will corrupt our children! What sick freak is into that? Not in my house!

    Lost Girls is gross and promotes pedophilia and incest. What store would ever carry that book?

    Lady Chatterly’s Lovers is puerile filth. Anyone owning that book is depraved.

    Let’s all pat ourselves on the back for a moral job well done.

  56. jaroslav hasek says:

    btw, anyone else find it ironic that The Beat just published, for all the world’s impressionable youths to easily locate, all the covers to comic books only sick fucks enjoy?

    the last sentence reads like parody. THESE IMAGES ARE REVOLTING AND ONLY BROKEN PEOPLE LOOK AT THEM ON PURPOSE. I’VE ASSEMBLED THEM ALL HERE FOR YOUR PERUSAL.

    cool, thanks!

  57. Oh another article against Avatar / Bleeding Cool / Rich ! Yeah, thank you Heidi.. Get off your high horse please ! This site is becoming more of a joke every week, like a Newsarama 2.0

  58. I am just glad they didn’t have any gore variants for Fashion Beast. My old LCS used to just order all the same cover of Avatar books, and if one person requested the gore, everyone got it. I never usually give a shit about “bad” covers, but when I was reading War Goddess, I felt the need to specifically request the lower-key covers. But then, I’m more the psychological horror fan. Hannibal is as about as gory as I can handle.

    That said, I’m not really judging the people who buy them, but I am thinking “Is that REALLY necessary?”

  59. I have to second Stuart’s points. Avatar does publish some very good comics by some of the industry’s best and brightest.

    I would expect Avatar does them because they sell in enough numbers to make them worthwhile and likely helps enable the company to produce riskier or potentially less-lucrative projects. It might be analogous to Fantagraphics porn line of books back in the 90s.

  60. HsssH says:

    There is nothing “horror” about those covers. I never understood why all this “torture porn” crap gets thrown into “horror” camp. Its not scary, its repulsive.

    “If people always got this worked up when folks like Giffen or Romita shrug off and facilitate the revolting treatment of their peers — actual human beings — by their publishers, then U.S. mainstream comics would be a much better place.”

    Yeah, and if we all got worked up about African kids having nothing to eat world might be a better place.

  61. Sid Hoffman says:

    @Richard Pace: Are you joking? Absolutely none of the work you’re referring to is of the same quality as the work “the industry’s best and brightest” does elsewhere. It is bottom drawer stuff, done knowing that Avatar will publish literally anything. I don’t even think the writers Stuart Moore lists in his post would argue otherwise.

  62. What Richard said, exactly. Avatar has published a ton of great comics over the last several years (if you like superhero stories and haven’t read Absolution, you’re really missing out).

    There’s nothing wrong with enjoying good comics, whether adult (say, Brandon Graham’s Pillow Fight or Fantagraphics’s erotic manga line), horror (Crossed, Ferals, Locke & Key), superhero (Hawkeye), sci-fi (Saga), humor (Too Much Coffee Man), or all-ages (Aw Yeah Comics, Oh My Goddess!, Adventure Time, Little Nemo, etc. etc. etc.). Me, I dig all of the above!

    Good comics is good comics is good comics. It’s simply a matter of taste. And, again, there’s a world of difference between enjoying a story and enjoying the actions depicted within a story (look at Peanuts, not Crossed, if you want to see the true depths of cruelty!). If you want to judge a story based on your personal tastes, fine. If you judge other readers or creators for having different tastes, you’re the problem.

    That said, the world needs more good cat comics. What’s Michael? has been out of print for way too long…

    (This post is dedicated to Mike Diana.)

  63. “BIFF! POW! Comics aren’t just for kids anym– JESUS CHRIST THAT SHIT IS FUCKED UP!”

    — MrJM

  64. I’ve never been a fan of Crossed, it always struck me as a series that was all set-up and no development, so I stopped giving it a chance after the first two volumes and moved on to other things. Similarly, I’ve never been a fan of Avatar’s cover strategies because they nearly always sacrifice actual artistry in favor of maximum shock value. That said, I find it disturbing that so many people in the comics journalism community feel it’s appropriate to condemn people based on taste and to make psychological observations despite not having any training in that area. It’s not just a questionable argument, it’s a dangerous assumption and it’s the type of thing that has previously harmed the medium, as the Wertham trials ably show.

    There’s no evidence to support the argument that taste in something society deems questionable makes you a disturbed individual, just as there is no evidence that violent media creates violent individuals. And while as a citizen of the United States you have every right to be disgusted by something, I would hope that as a journalist you would be more interested in telling a more nuanced story than “here are some images I find distasteful, which I have conveniently provided for you to look at as I tell you how much I dislike them,” not just because that’s extremely lazy and hypocritical, but because it does nothing to promote a conversation. Were there no psychologists available for comment? Were all the artists involved completely unavailable for questions about why they felt okay illustrating these scenes? You couldn’t find any fans who could provide some perspective on why they like this stuff and give us a glimpse at what they’re like outside of their tastes? What about a look at similar art in other media, like, say, the film Salo or the new French horror movement, or even American Psycho? It’s so disappointing to see content like this on a respected site run by a respected writer operating in an industry that desperately needs better journalism. Why aim so low?

  65. Greg N says:

    It’s the sexual violence on the cover that’s most unsettling to me. The violence isn’t too different than a lot of the horror book covers in the market. That sexual stuff like a man unbuttoning his pants while a woman is being tortured, I’m not okay with that

  66. Erik Scott says:

    “Absolutely none of the work you’re referring to is of the same quality as the work “the industry’s best and brightest” does elsewhere. It is bottom drawer stuff, done knowing that Avatar will publish literally anything. I don’t even think the writers Stuart Moore lists in his post would argue otherwise.”

    I think some of them might, honestly. I mean, your free to have an opinion and make judgement as you see fit, but speaking for the actual writers on these books where you seem to have no basis to do so offends me much more then these covers ever could.

    Yes the covers are extreme and defintiely not anything I would buy (I think Tom Spurgeon makes a good point about them being essentially nothing more then product produced to sell a thing…which is far more stomach churning to me then the actual content in the covers), but I’ve seen the points that Heidi makes in the above article made almost exactly the same about horror writers like Stephen King and Clive Barker. So I think it’s a slippery slope you walk when you start to call people’s specific tastes into question.

    I feel like the reactions to these covers that I’ve seen here and on Twitter isn’t that far off from reactions to reaction a lot of the religious right and ultra conservatives had towards people like Mapplethorpe. I think it’s much more important to present an open piece that covers all sides of the issue and hears all the dialogue involved with the discussion instead of the dismissal and consternation this piece seems to garner.

  67. We vote with our wallets every day in America. Becoming too worked up about any comic we consider over the top just draws unwelcome government intervention. Let’s just not buy it and it will go away.

  68. Joe S. Walker says:

    I laughed at the arrows-in-the-arse cover, which is where the whole thing tips into self-parody. All those covers are wilfully ugly and linger on disgusting details, but in that they’re not much different to most comic art these days.

  69. I read a lot of horror comics, old and new, but I had to give Crossed a miss other than the digital spin-off. It’s a bit like horror films that sacrifice plot in order to squeeze in more shocks, not my kinda thing.

    Those covers make me uneasy though, in the same way that knowing the Human Centipede films exist do. People use horror as such a broad all-encompassing genre which I don’t think really helps in these discussions – I’ve seen plenty of horror and/or gore comics done well, but those covers are pretty unrelated to any of that.

  70. “There is nothing horror about those covers. I never understood why all this torture porn crap gets thrown into horror camp. Its not scary, its repulsive.”

    Horror is a genre label, just like science-fiction, mystery, crime, romance, western, etc. These labels exist largely to help marketing people sell things.

    Yes, this type of story is in fact one facet of the horror genre. But horror is a vast and varied field. Take horror prose, for example. It’s a field big enough to include quiet, evocative writers like Charles Grant or Ramsey Campbell alongside mainstream writers like Stephen King and Joe Lansdale, and Splatterpunks like John Skipp and David Schow, and “hardcore” authors like Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum. It’s the same with horror films, horror comics, and horror video games. Personally, I’m pleased to read, enjoy, and make a decent living from a genre that can produce everything from Poe to H.P Lovecraft to Edward Lee, and everything in between. Not all of it will be to my tastes, but that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be to my tastes for me to acknowledge it has merit and value to others.

    Horror doesn’t *have* to be gory or violent, but gore and violence are indeed one facet of the genre. And what seems to be lost in this discussion is the fact that the gore and violence so prevalent in Crossed SERVE THE PLOT. The book isn’t a quiet, supernatural tale about a lonely Scots widower haunted by the ghost/memory of his wife. It’s a story about 90% of the world’s population turning into savage, deviant, murderous sadists who delight in torture, cruelty, and death. In that context, it then stands to reason that the writers are going to write about savage, deviant, murderous sadists who delight in torture, cruelty, and death. It would be bizarrely out of place in The Legend of Hell House or The Occult Files of Doctor Spector or Hellboy, because such a thing doesn’t serve those stories particular plots. But it serves here, just as having dead folks eat people serves The Walking Dead or the death of Buddy and Maxine’s son in Jeff Lemire’s brilliant Animal Man run serves that title’s story line (a borderline horror book that’s totally about family and how Buddy’s decisions impact them).

    I haven’t read beyond Ennis’s initial run on the book, but from what I *did* read — Crossed is extremely violent and gory. It also has some memorable, heartfelt moments and some stellar characterization. There were indeed scenes of rape, cannibalism, and other terrible things. By my read, they weren’t gratuitous, served the context of the plot, were not played for laughs, and had a negative impact on the characters. They evoked an emotional response of fear and dread in this reader, which is what horror, regardless of whether it’s “supernatural” or “dark fantasy” or “slasher” or “torture porn” IS SUPPOSED TO DO.

    It would be inappropriate for someone to give Crossed to a child, and anyone that did should be beaten for the good of all mankind. But Avatar isn’t selling these to children. They’re selling them to comic stores, who are in turn selling them to horror fans — specifically the portion of the genre that enjoys this end of the genre’s spectrum. I’ve got no problem with that.

    I do have a problem, however, with others telling people what they should or should not read, and suggesting they suffer some sort of mental illness for their preference in fictional entertainment. Personally, I’d rather gouge my eyes out with spoons than read vampire erotica (another facet of the horror genre) but I would never presume to suggest that anyone who reads vampire erotica has something wrong with them.

    My two cents. Your mileage may vary.

  71. “Those covers make me uneasy”

    Horrified, even? This is exactly what horror is supposed to do.

    These covers just exploit an age-old marketing tactic in a gruesome way–one-upmanship. These covers go to eleven on the fucked-up dial. They’re no better or no worse than any other cover. They’re just one more…innit?

    As long as there are suckers to buy them, they will exist. All of this discussion can only drive demand and increase their price as back issues…because you’re not going to shame people into not buying them, but what you can do is artificially create a low supply/high demand situation by all of this attention.

    Congratulations, you’ve just shot your own foot.

  72. Al™ says:

    I wonder what the sales figures are for this title?

  73. Reminds me of when music albums started getting labels on them to draw attention to their content, and then nobody bought them anymore. Oh, wait…

    (This post brought to you by “Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society” by Tipper Gore, and “Startin’ Up a Posse” by Anthrax.)

  74. Al™ says:

    Oh, to answer my own question, here is the Sales Estimate for May 2013
    (Comic Book Resources figures, from Diamond)
    AVA Crossed Badlands 29 7,595

  75. Synsidar says:

    Personally, I’d rather gouge my eyes out with spoons than read vampire erotica (another facet of the horror genre) but I would never presume to suggest that anyone who reads vampire erotica has something wrong with them.

    Isn’t vampire erotica erotica?

    The problem with the material you describe isn’t reading it occasionally; it’s reading such material habitually to satisfy a psychological need. That’s not reading for entertainment.

    SRS

  76. “Hey… what’s grosser than gross?”

  77. “Hey… what’s grosser than gross?”

    The sales figures for Fifty Shades of Grey?

  78. David Bird says:

    I haven’t read Crossed before this blog post, and I’m certain I won’t be, but I would like to point out that this sort of comic isn’t sold to minors, so let’s stop blaming teenaged boys.

  79. “Isn’t vampire erotica erotica?”

    These days, in the era of True Blood and Twilight, it’s grown enough in size to be considered a genre of its own, for sure. But back in the day when the sub genre was basically Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton, I know of booksellers and salespeople who marketed and shelved it as horror.

    And speaking of Laurell, that reminds me to leave an addendum, if I may. Laurell’s a friend and peer, and her accomplishments in the genre are legend. The work she’s best known for is not my cup of tea, personally, but it has merit and value and serves the genre and many, many readers enjoy it. I would never think to suggest they must be fucked up for doing so, nor suggest the same of her for writing it.

    Which brings us back to Crossed…

  80. “The problem with the material you describe isn’t reading it occasionally; it’s reading such material habitually to satisfy a psychological need. That’s not reading for entertainment.”

    Great point, and one I agree with, at least on the surface… but I do wonder how we quantify that in the form of a serialized, monthly comic which (if you’re not trade waiting) is designed to be read habitually. Genuinely not trying to be snarky. Just curious how we’d tell the difference.

  81. Whatever says:

    This website went batshit crazy over JRJR depicting rape in KickAss 2. You just posted a cover of a women being raped and dismembered. Seriously? I have no interest in telling other people what they can read but some crap doesn’t need to exist and this is it.

  82. Synsidar says:

    Here’s an excerpt from an article about people who view child pornography. How similar are the behaviors of people who practice particular fetishes?

    The report suggests that any participation in an online community devoted to child pornography should be seen to exacerbate the crime. Contact with likeminded fetishists online could “escalate the level of offending,” it says, while allowing child pornographers to be “appreciated, understood and acknowledge[d] by their peers … which in turn reinforces their deviance of fantasizing about children.” According to this theory, the more involved you are with one of these communities, the more dangerous you are and the longer you should be locked up.

    There are good reasons to support this rule, says Michael Seto, a forensic psychologist at the University of Toronto and author of the book Internet Sex Offenders. The evidence in favor comes from two observations made by criminologists: first, that members of these online groups tend to promote the idea that child pornography is OK; and second, that hanging out with anti-social people more generally can make you more anti-social. But no one has shown directly that online child-porn communities really do make people more likely to commit offline crimes against children, Seto says. The case against the online subcultures comes from a “two-step inference.”

    The issue isn’t whether viewing offensive material leads directly to offensive behavior; it’s that knowing that someone habitually consumes offensive material makes it reasonable to suspect he’s capable of committing offensive acts.

    SRS

  83. Warren says:

    SRS, that’s not reasonable at all. Do you really suspect all fans of horror? That seems a bit absurd.

  84. Synsidar says:

    Do you really suspect all fans of horror? That seems a bit absurd.

    I haven’t made any complaints or accusations about reading for entertainment.

    SRS

  85. A friend and I used to work at a comic store some 15 years or so ago, and I’d read something about a story by Hart D. Fisher in Verotik comics being… similarly horrific. Curious, I read through it, and yeah. Awful. Stands out as one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen. My friend/co-worker read through it too, same morbid curiosity (she’s a Rice fan), and we still talk about it to this day as just being the epitome of awful

    Now, as a storyteller, as an American, all that, I support people being able to make their “art.” To express themselves. We had an actual section of the store clearly labeled and accessible only to Adults, and that’s where his book stayed (I don’t know that we ever sold any copies of it, to be honest, because it seemed to stick around longer than I did at the store), and I appreciated that, because it was never exposed to children at all, I worked in a place that didn’t censor material people might want just because we personally found it objectionable.

    But I don’t blame a single other store for not ordering this. Or anything else from Avatar if this is how they do their business. I’d probably argue that, if you have a customer that wants it, and you want to keep that customer’s business, maybe you order it strictly for them. But I would never want this on the shelves of a store I’m working in. Nor do I have one iota of interest in Avatar or their books. Not my bag.

    If it is your bag… I just don’t see us hanging out. Sorry.

  86. This Guy says:

    He’s shooting arrows into a dead women’s anus, and or vagina.

    Just say that out loud. Better yet, tell your friends and family that’s the comic you like and support.

    Vile.

  87. Greg Hill says:

    Different strokes for different folks.

    There’s many things in life some people do for psychological need rather than just entertainment or enjoyment. Coffee. Sweets. Porn. Even comic book collecting. That doesn’t necessarily make them bad. I’ve met people who like from being strapped to a cross and have someone beat them with a cane just sort of bleeding. I can’t see that as being very enjoyable, but they sure as heck do. Or maybe it’s just a psychological need…

    A post above tried to make a correlation between the aforementioned comic and child pornography. That’s hogwash. Child pornography hurts a helpless party, the children while the comic, even if one supposes that it *is* hurting the reader in some psychological way, is *only* hurting the person that buys the comic. As a long-time literary horror reader, I just don’t buy into that rap either. I haven’t killed, mutilated, or even spindled a single person yet.

    What it boils down to is leaving it up to the reader to decide whether they want to buy it or not and up to the shops whether they want to carry it or not. It’s not my job, or even society’s job to determine what is “offensive”. There are just too many different things that different people find “offensive”. Thanks…but no thanks.

    GH

  88. hsssh says:

    @Brian Keene

    “Horror doesn’t *have* to be gory or violent, but gore and violence are indeed one facet of the genre.”

    I don’t know, i wouldn’t agree fully. We have plenty of action movies with body parts flying and blood going everywhere. We also have war movies that often show fatal wounds and casualties. Maybe its more of a storytelling technique (instead of facet) thats more often used in horror genre than in others?

    But even then i like stuff that Clive Barker’s does, many of his stories have gory things and torture/pain plays an important role in his work. But i don’t label it as “torture porn”, probably because i feel its used with style and reason while in “torture porn” work it feels like its done simply to disgust viewers/going for cheap shock.

    Like take second cover for example: picture implies that woman was raped and it shows arrows going thru her ass/back, why do we need that again? I think that its plenty scary that woman was raped and some crazy dude is going to kill her/torture with arrows. What extra scare do we get by having arrows go thru her butt? It just goes too far without adding any value to story/event/whatever that is shown on the picture. Imo stuff like this actually lowers “impact” since if it showed only him aiming at woman it would be left to us to imagine whats going to happen. Is he going to torture her by shooting her arm/whatever, is he going to kill her with some fatal shot to neck? Is someone going to save her but she will be traumatized forever by what happened? Nope, she will get shot thru her ass… my first reaction to that is “…okaaay”.

  89. giuliano says:

    This is the dumbest article I ever saw on this website. People read stories because they like characters, plot, suspense and the other elements of a narrative; then anyone has his favorite genre and aesthetics.

    Generally people don’t read gore horror or collect torture variant because they sexually excited from those images. To assert that to like a narrative genre or buy a special cover you have to be a sick fuck it’s really an expression of illiteracy and ignorance. It’s like saying that to appreciate super heroes when you are more than 16 years old you have to be retorted.

    More ignorance and illiteracy is shown when is implied that one that likes this sort of images because excited by them are “sick fucks”. They are not, they are a person with severe problems caused by family, education or social environment (like ignorant people like you that contribute to themselves feeling “evil”, or “wrong” and isolate more and more from society) . Surely no comics or gore.

    Thinking the way the author think, that the so called “deviants” (criminal, perverted and so on) are “evil” it’s akin’ to go back to the medieval age. Read some Focault’s studies, some sociology and psychology essays on the topic, get some culture that goes beyond comics and science fiction if you want to write opinion pieces, please. Or shut up.

    Nobody needs more ignorant people with simplistic views of the world spitting out their mistaken thoughts just because they are able to operate a WordPress admin panel.

  90. @Synsidar

    “The issue isn’t whether viewing offensive material leads directly to offensive behavior; it’s that knowing that someone habitually consumes offensive material makes it reasonable to suspect he’s capable of committing offensive acts.”

    But the source you quoted says that has not been shown. It’s speculation, not a reasonable conclusion. While someone who buys torture porn may in fact be properly diagnosed as a “sick fucker”, it does not follow that he is any way dangerous because of it … any more than all of the “sick fuckers” who enjoy gun porn such as Call of Duty and Kick Ass are necessarily capable of committing gun violence themselves. Probably most of them are milquetoast Walter Mittys for whom the fantasy is enough.

  91. Xenos says:

    At some point I think I was still buying Crossed for freedom of speech reasons. I recently chopped it off, like so many body parts get in the book, because I had really fallen behind in all my reading and I needed to cut back somewhere. Yet I’m all for the book for people who want to read it. Arguing for freedom of speech and satire of only things you like or get is almost meaningless.

    And, yeah, this is satire. And, while a good deal more extreme and envelope pushing that what Gaines did back at EC, this is still right up that alley. Hell, most mainstream horror is well beyond what Gaines was doing. So of course the comics that aren’t mainstream push even further. Zombies are a big thing now. Crossed takes that idea to an extreme. Walking Dead is a comic that got turned into a media darling and top ranked television show. If that’s today’s Leave It To Beaver, of course the extreme indie comics are going to be even more extreme. (Have you seen the Beav? He’s not in the house.)

    I wasn’t paying much attention to the variant covers, just whatever was in my pulls usually. Personally, so many covers every single issue is a bit much. I do dislike Avatar flooding the market with them. It makes variants so much less special. They’re kinda worse than DC and Marvel with that, though I think the big two should take more blame as pack leaders.

    Yet there were a couple disturbingly hilarious wrap arounds I am sorry I missed. I think one of them had an Arab, a priest and a rabbi executing someone at the Dome of the Rock. Now that is the most twisted priest and a rabbi joke I have seen. I’m half surprised there’s not an Aristocrats joke somewhere. Maybe in a final issue or final issue of a Crossed series that would be a good cover. Some Crossed pitchman is telling that punchline to a horrified studio exsec and then you see behind him the horrific set up he made.

    If you think satire and free speech only pertains to safe sanitized non-offensive topics, then you’re not really for free speech and do not get satire.

    This is why Mad Magazine today is a total limp dicked farce and I’m sure even kids that watch the crappy show on Cartoon Network think it’s lame. Unless somehow half hearted generic jokes about Twilight and Bieber are supposed to somehow be cutting edge.

  92. @Sid Hoffman – Read what Richard said again. He said that the writers are “some of the best and brightest”, not that the works by them which Avatar publishes necessarily reach that standard. Those he merely described as “good”. I haven’t read any of Avatar’s books (not my cuppa), so I can’t comment on that, but the list of writers they’ve published includes Warren Ellis, Alan Moore, Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis, Steven Grant, and Jonathan Hickman, who I think can reasonably be described as “some of the best and brightest”.

  93. Chris says:

    Bigger question. This title has been doing this for several years. Many stores have been carrying it for several years. This title and it’s covers have been in Avatar’s solicits and in Diamond previews for years as well.

    How is it that this site, an industry insider, a pop-culture beacon in comics, a daily read for people who like comics, is just now finding out about this?

    Are you that out of touch with what actually happens in a comic shop? Do you instead rely on what you download or watch on Big Bang Theory? Shouldn’t you know what writers like Garth Ennis, David Lapham, Warren Ellis, Alan Moore are up to?

    Or is this about outrage? Is this about traffic? Because it certainly isn’t journalism.

  94. Chris: shhh ! Don’t dispel the myth that this site does actual comics reporting, you know like Rich at BleedingCool.

  95. And for all the people saying that these horrific things are harmful and lead people to act upon them and thus it is immoral for Avatar to publish it, well.. I hate to break it to you.. but I am not hunting you down to shoot arrows into your butthole. I’ve logged many many hours shooting people in the head and lighting people on fire in Team Fortress 2, but I don’t think I’ve burned anyone alive in real life. I don’t think I’ve even thrown a jar of urine on anyone for mini-crit damage.

    Do people not have free will? Is it the gorey media’s fault that people who are mentally ill enough to commit these horrible act aren’t receiving the proper supervision and help they need? Is Catcher In The Rye to blame for John Lenon’s death or the actual shooter? And even more than the book he read, the people around him who let him slip into his sickness and the lack of proper mental health care. Why is it the work of fiction’s fault for the actions of real people?

    Really, that leap of logic reeks of thought crime accusations. Fiction is now a punishable offense? We can’t commit crimes in our mind now? Believe me, if they prosecuted people for that, I’d be on trial for the multiple murders of Jack Thompson. I really don’t see the different between that crazy asshole fundy Christian, who got backing from both major parties, and the lunatic rantings about these covers causing some lunatic to go out and recreated these in real life.

    I know the closest I’ve gotten was recreating Walking Dead covers and panels for a photo class in college. Yet I used Halloween props and old jelly for blood. I didn’t go out and hack someone to death.

    Unlike Jack Thompson, and it seems some people here, I am well aware of the difference between reality and the fiction in a comic book or video game.

  96. I have every crossed cover that was printed. the only thing I don’t like is that my badlands box is now two boxes and its only at issue 35.
    I love the gore and the art is amazing I always feel sorry for the dude that has to fill the red ink at the press I bet they have a dedicated red ink filler

  97. jaroslav hasek says:

    @xenos: “but I am not hunting you down to shoot arrows into your butthole.”

    hah, made me laugh. so did the see saw pun in the second to last cover. luckily i am able to tell the difference between a drawing and someone actually getting sawed in twain by children. i guess we share that special ability to recognize something that is made up and not real. unfortunately many people don’t, which is some folks wanted Steven Spielburg arrested for killing all those actors to make Saving Private Ryan.

    We should also have the surviving members of Beatles arrested for slaughtering these babies to make an album cover AND all the sick fucks that buy their music.

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_rv4L4DN6GRI/TN7RRpQsxNI/AAAAAAAAACM/q8Kw7LgQ0Gs/s1600/Butcher+babies.jpg

  98. Synsidar says:

    It’s speculation, not a reasonable conclusion.

    Note these comments from Engber’s article:

    In real life Brown never harmed anyone nor took steps toward doing so. Whittemore disagreed: “The risk is that obsession becomes more than fantasy,” he said. “At what point … does that line between fantasy and risk of threat get crossed?”

    It’s altogether possible that online chats like Brown’s would have no effect whatsoever on his likelihood of killing or eating anyone. It could even be that finding a community of like-minded people offers some protection against criminal behavior. “If someone is truly isolated,” Seto says, “then some connection with other people who appear to understand them is protective,” although he adds that there is no evidence whatsoever that child-porn communities might actually prevent child sexual abuse.

    Already cited: and second, that hanging out with anti-social people more generally can make you more anti-social.

    You can’t conclude that someone who consumes torture porn is likely to act out the fantasy, but there’s also no evidence that consuming torture porn mitigates the risk of acting out. If someone with a fetish joins an online community, that might mitigate the risk, but associating with anti-social people who’ll reassure him that the fetish is okay will only make him more anti-social.

    If a fetish affects personal behavior to the degree that people notice it and react to it negatively, then it’s a problem for that person. Arguing that it’s legal and seeking reassurance from like-minded people that it’s okay does him no good at all. There are people like Whittemore who will worry that an obsession will lead to illegal behavior and can point to people like Ariel Castro who actually do act out fantasies.

    SRS

  99. Heidi MacDonald says:

    I see the misspellers have arrived so it’s time to take down the thread. It’s been fun!

    BUt I’ll leave you with this: why does so much “horror” involve sadistic misogyny against women? And are you okay with that?

Trackbacks

  1. […] myself involved in a little back and forth on Twitter yesterday. After Heidi MacDonald on The Beat, posted a piece criticising Avatar’s covers for the series Crossed, fellow Beat writers Amy Chu and Steve Morris called me out for bias asking why I […]

  2. […] the outrage-o-tron has moved from torture to movie casting, here is a round-up of reactions to the “Torture Cover” post the other day. Actually I don’t even need to write anything, as the Outhouse […]

  3. […] So what kind of person buys a “Torture variant” cover anyway? (The Beat) […]

  4. […] looks like this: If anything, this reminded me of a somehow more life affirming version of those torture covers everyone was appalled by the other day. If struck me that Fuckitor was firmly in the same camp as […]

  5. […] Heidi found over at The Beat, when she learned about a comic company who publish something called ‘torture covers’. These are an incentive variant for retailers – if they buy, say, 50 copies of a comic to […]

  6. […] regarding adult or inappropriate content.” So comics liked the always-controversial Crossed and Neonomicon can only be bought on […]