Black Is the Old Black

Buy the new book, "Beaucoup Arlo & Janis!"Today's "Arlo & Janis!"
Today, a true classic from 10 years ago. I ran across some discussion on the Web the other day about A&J. No, I did not Google myself! I used Bing. A few years back I had drawn Janis getting dressed, much as in the strip above. She was slipping into a camisole in the process of donning a heavy cable-knit sweater, and the very lowest sliver of her right breast was depicted. Big deal? Well, apparently. It generated a lot of internet discussion (“Underboob” it was repeatedly called.) and even a newspaper column about whether this was “appropriate” for the comics. I don’t have time to post a link to the cartoon, but I have every faith that if you watch the comments below there will be one within the hour. So, I ask, why is it okay to show any and all of the female breast above the nipple (after 5 p.m., of course!) but not anything below? Besides, I truly was not trying to be lascivious. I grew up reading comics 50 years ago. The women in The Heart of Juliet Jones and Apt. 3-G rarely wore anything but underwear! And the paper was chock-a-block with illustrations of lingerie available in the Atlanta department stores. Trust me on that one. Besides, there is a double standard at work here. I could draw Arlo in his drawers a hundred times and not generate one comment. I’m not saying this is strange; I’m just saying it is true. It is also true, I guess, what our mothers told us when we were young: “If you get a bad reputation, well… that’s it!”