When the daughter of late manga godhead Osamu Tezuka announced last week that she’d managed to open his long-locked desk, the discoveries included ephemera (a half-eaten chocolate bar), critical writing (an essay about Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo), and, perhaps most curiously, various sketches, several of which depicted a curvaceous mouse lady lounging seductively. This last detail delighted certain elements of the comics internet, although the stunned prurience of some reports was kind of silly: Tezuka might be best known for characters like Astro Boy, Japan’s Walt Disney and Jack Kirby combined, but his style and audiences changed over his career; the avuncular master also produced the lurid ’70s thriller MW.
If the funny-animals trope has been used throughout cartooning history to simplify, interpolate and transfigure, then lust defines the medium too, even when it was necessarily sublimated beyond the sleaziest outlets. And what would be a more suitable way to illustrate that than counting down the sexiest anthropomorphic characters in comics history?
10. Maybe you’re into rumpled French dads? What if that dad was Lewis Trondheim, as a duck, recording his flustered reactions to the baffling inanities of modern life?
9. I know a lot of people who would fuck Elliott Gould circa 1973 and I feel like Fritz the Cat has a similar appeal. Certainly moreso than Robert Crumb does, at least.
8. “In 1976, Reed Waller founded Vootie, a fanzine intended to promote funny animal comics. He began developing the concept for ‘Omaha’ the Cat Dancer after one of the magazine’s contributors said that there was not enough sex in the genre … He visited local strip clubs in St. Paul with his sketchbook, and read newspaper articles about attempts to shut the bars down.” And that pro-sex-worker furry porn would come to be nominated for multiple Eisner Awards.
7. We already spoke of Osamu Tezuka’s fluidly rendered mouse cleavage, but as a side note, he also seems to have essayed a rare sexy cartoon snake.
5. Emily Carroll can make reptiles look sensual even in death, as her comic “Grave of the Lizard Queen” shows.
4. Before the era of obsessively sanitized Disney licensed products, Floyd Gottfredson drew a 1931 Mickey Mouse strip where this hulking cat turns out to be lispingly, stereotypically fey. Being a period-accurate bigot, Mickey attacks him in the next panel, but it’s 2014, anybody still disdaining femme boys, feline or otherwise, needs to get with the spirit of the aeon.
3. So Hazlitt contributor Lisa Hanawalt did this story for the second issue of erotic-comics anthology Thickness, and it’s a teacher/student fantasy, except the horny professor is a bird and his lust object has a featureless worm head, and there are also worms writhing from her tank top, and…
2. Magica De Spell: stylishly amoral, powerful witch, cackles at the social order, probably wants to domme Scrooge McDuck.
1. If comics has a single emblematic Everyman, it must be Krazy Kat—not an Everyman at all but a genderqueer feline, forever seeking affection from Ignatz the Mouse only to receive bricks flung at their head. Is that sexy? Certainly it feels redolent of love.