15 of the Most Important Modern Sex Scenes in Comics

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Scott Pilgrim & Ramona Flowers

Comic: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life
Writer/Artist: Bryan Lee O'Malley
Publisher: Oni

"I don't want to have sex with you, Pilgrim. Not right now...and I reserve the right to change my mind about the sex later." And so Scott Pilgrim didn't quite consummate his burning adoration for Ramona Flowers, but accomplished a feat far more important: showed his patience. In Bryan Lee O'Malley's six volume slacker epic, Scott grows up through growing with Ramona. What sets him apart is a gradual restraint and perseverance to serve his inamorata and her burdens on their own terms—even with seven evil hipster d-bags in tow. Pilgrim's willingness to pump the brakes in bed stands as a pivotal marker of consent and how sexual relationships glide on the shared navigation of two parties, not the needs of one. Sure we're cheating as there's not actually any sex here, but Flowers and Pilgrim enjoy plenty of corporeal pleasure after earning each other's trust through events like this. Sean Edgar
Bryan Lee O'Malley

Silk Spectre & Nite Owl

Comic: Watchmen
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Dave Gibbons
Publisher: DC Comics

Most of the sex witnessed in Watchmen has nothing to do with love or desire, but Laurie Juspeczyk and Dan Dreiberg's first successful attempt at coitus stands as the major exception. Newly estranged from her omnipotent, blue husband, Doctor Manhattan, Juspeczky happens upon Dreiberg on the cusp of a transformative turn. He's an ineffectual fuddy duddy until he reclaims the Nite Owl mantle, and the surge of self-confidence renders him Spectre's only option for a wholesome relationship in Moore's brutally unwholesome vision of the 1980s. As for Dreiberg, he loves Juspeczy, but he needs the bird costume. Barry Thompson
Dave Gibbons

Superman & Wonder Woman

Comic: The Dark Knight Strikes Again
Writer/Artist: Frank Miller
Publisher: DC Comics

Oft-ridiculed for its "unconventional" visual sensibility, this stratosphere-scratching quickie marks Frank Miller's first attempt at humanizing Kal-El. Following an ill-advised confrontation with the resurfaced Batman, a physically and emotionally spent Superman wallows in self-pity. Diana, a regal pragmatist under Miller's direction, finds such blubbering indulgence unbefitting the last son of Krypton, and lets him know through a well-intended dose of airborne ardor. What Miller's iteration of the Kal/Diana coupling lacks in Wonder Woman's neck makes up for in fiery, felonious passion. Barry Thompson
Frank Miller

Suzie & Jon

Comic: Sex Criminals
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky
Publisher: Image Comics

We've been there: met someone at a party and talked all night, the tension thick and exciting. Suzie and Jon take it to the next step. They hook up, expecting the crash of loneliness once the thrill of the chase completes. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky subvert that moment so amazingly in Sex Criminals. Suzie rolls over, expecting the aloneness, the crash of her orgasm and the literal isolation of her superpower (and what an awesome metaphor is that, by the way) and instead finds that Jon is there with her. They're the same type of weird, the perfect complement in a partner. Tini Howard
Chip Zdarsky

Abby & Swamp Thing

Comic: The Saga of Swamp Thing
Writer: Alan Moore
Artists: Steve Bissette, John Totleben
Publisher: DC Comics

Leave it to Alan Moore to conceive comic's all-time most transcendent sex scene—without any penetration or even two full sets of human genitals. By this point in his legendary Swamp Thing run, Abby Arcane is in love with Swamp Thing, but they obviously lack the proper components to consummate their connection. In lieu of a traditional union, Swamp Thing grows an hallucinogenic tuber from his body that Abby consumes, allowing the two to share a psychedelic orgasmic experience. Artist Steve Bissette and inker John Totleben deliver on the visuals, reproducing what every '60s love child surely hoped to see while dropping acid and making love. Moore even follows this sublime issue through to its less-lovely ends, with Abby eventually facing legal charges for "crimes against nature"(!), although no court on Earth could reduce the genuine connection she and Swamp Thing forge in this issue. Steve Foxe
Steve Bissette, John Totleben