Re the webcomic "Wapsi Square" does too much obvious fan service make you lose respect for a comic?

I kind of enjoy this webcomic occasionally.

The main protagonist is a large breasted female, and the artist does (it appears) a reasonably good business selling his original drawings on ebay, especially the cheesecakey ones. Occasionally (as in the current series) he will be all about her tits. This is somewhat odd in that in it’s main dramatic plot lines and dialog it’s not a sexist, or even all that sexy a comic.

It’s so blatant lately I’ve kind of lost some respect for the artist as this latest series appears to be an obvious attempt to generate some quick ebay cash with big tit drawings.

Can fan service go too far?

I was all prepared to answer yes until I thought more. I don’t think it’s the degree of fanservice as much as the execution thereof. There are some works that are ridiculously oversexualized, but are written with a degree of comfort, self-awareness, and perhaps even respect that even though there’s a heavy “fanservice” component it comes off as good. I’ve heard Oglaf is one of these (though I haven’t read it myself). It’s when writers start creating episodes/strips/whatever that are basically written with a concept that begins at ends at “loltits” with no sense of irony or respect that it starts to devolve into eyeroll territory.

In other words, there’s a difference between arbitrarily taking all of your female characters and putting them on a pinup calendar, and putting your female characters on a pinup calendar while they break the fourth wall and call the artist and the reader a perv.

ETA: The more I think about it, the more I think that the degree of terribleness is often proportional to how hard the artist tries to pretend it’s not a cheap attempt at fanservice.

I don’t read Wapsi Square so I can’t offer an opinion on it.

But generally I agree with what Jragon wrote. It’s really a matter of context. A certain amount of nudity can be gratuitous fanservice in one webcomic and that same amount of nudity can be acceptable in another.

For example, Menage a 3 has a lot of nudity in it but it’s never felt like exploitative fanservice to me.

Looking at the comic (and several before it) linked, I’m inclined to say that yeah, that’s pretty bad. But there are some Questionable Content strips (which I’m not arsed enough to go find) that are similar, and yet I don’t find as annoying or pandering. I’m not sure what exactly makes some contexts okay and others not, “I know it when I see it” I guess?

I don’t care either way. Though the comic today is a bit weird, as those things barely look like breasts. I was all prepared to say I didn’t get it–until I looked at the archives.

EDIT: I’ve actually always thought an interesting show would be one that was all women, all fanservice, but no mention was made of what it was doing. It was all serious. Different fetishes could even come up, again with no comment. If I had the ability to do a webshow, and could get the actual people, that’s the type of thing I would do.

On second thought, maybe I’d think such a comic was a good idea.

Okay, I’m stepping back from this post now.

Wow… forget Wapsi Square. That’s quality fan service!

That’s not a fair comparison. Menage a 3 can’t offer up fanservice. It consists of caricatures, cheesecake and ridiculous sexual situations. For it to be fanservice, the nudity would require titillating material that isn’t normally part of the content. If one found Ma3 exploitative, it would be the comic as a whole.

If we saw the characters from the now ended Penny and Aggie (also drawn by Gisèle Lagacé) doing pretty much anything anyone has ever done in Ma3, that would definitely be fanservice.

I’d disagree. I don’t put Menage a 3 in the same category as a comic strip like Jane or Little Annie Fanny, in which the “story” essentially served as a means of showing the title character losing her clothes. Menage a 3 is more like a soap opera, with the point of the story being the relationship between the characters - yes, there are scenes where they’re naked and/or having sex but there are also extended scenes where they’re not.

I’d give Moon Over June as another example of a comic strip that, while it has a lot more explicit sex and nudity than Menage a 3, still doesn’t have sex and nudity as its main purpose (in my opinion).

That is unrelated to the question of fanservice. It’s not about the amount of nudity - characters sometimes being clothed for lengthy periods doesn’t automatically turn other times when nudity or cheesecake/beefcake poses occur into fanservice, nor does constant or near-constant exposure. Those instances need to be, not only gratuitous, but at least a little bit outside the norm for the character, story or genre as a whole in order to qualify as fanservice. TV Tropes supports this definition.

I don’t know those older print comics (and would need time to look at Moon over June), but from a brief scan of the wiki pages plus your description, they sound like actual porn, of the sort where any plot is a bare framework to justify the scenery and with just enough characterization to give the actors “reasons” to have sex. None of it would be fanservice because it’s not gratuitous, it’s the the direct purpose of the comic.

I agree that Menage a 3 isn’t at all like those comics as described, but I don’t understand your description of it as a soap, either. That implies a heavy, perenially hyperdramatic tone that just isn’t there, unless you’re referencing some other kind of soap than the ones I have seen. Rather than being soapy in any way, Menage a 3 is a comedy, and more specifically, a sex farce, wherein sex and relationships are not the purpose but the fodder. While it’s definitely not porn, you still don’t end up with fanservice, because again, cheesecake poses and nudity are par for the course. Sex is not the purpose of Ma3, it’s part of the medium, so no particular instance can be singled out as gratuitous; if any of it qualifies, all of it does.

Wapsi Square, a supernatural adventure/hero’s journey-ish story peppered with random bursts of single panel cheesecake shots, is a completely different critter from either of these genre types.

Just to say I’m totally in love with Sugarbear.

What do you think now?

“Fanservice” to me implies a sexualized/eroticized image. Just large breasts or nudity isn’t enough unless the image itself is arousing.

I looked through the comic back to June 29, and except for some “guest” drawings, I didn’t see anything arousing, and only about three panels that featured large breasts prominently.

I think I must be missing something; what fanservice??

Exactly. I’ve been reading Wapsi Square for a long time - this thread must be from when I was on sabbatical - and cheesecake serves as intermissions in either the current story arc or between arcs. The artist takes offense at any notion that his strip’s primary purpose is to titillate.