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Comic-shop porn

Comic-shop porn — X-rated trading cards, featuring the women of ”Penthouse” and ”Playboy,” come to comic-book shops

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There’s a very different kind of Supergirl and Wonder Woman in comicbook shops these days. Hardly ”good guys,” they’re the decidedly naughty women of Penthouse, Playboy, and Hustler, X-rated videos, and the Dollhouse strip-joint chain — all appearing (topless and often bottomless) on trading cards, just like Mickey Mantle. And just like the Mick, they even come with statistics. (Tiffany Stevens: 22 years old. 40-24-34. No telling if she bats left-handed.)

Though girlie cards have been around since the late-19th century, they’ve only recently arrived in the same comic shops where little ones browse for the latest issues of Duck Tales and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. ”The comics people have been extremely successful with our product,” boasts Brian Bentson, president of CS Enterprises, which makes and distributes the Penthouse cards. ”Comic-book shops have had adult consumers for a long time.”

True. The problem is, unlike the adult-book stores where the likes of these cards are usually sold, comic-book shops have lots of little customers, too. Moreover, while comic shops that carry adult-oriented comics generally do so in a ”mature readers” section, these explicit cards are often on open shelves or, at some stores, next to the cash register. And even in shops that don’t carry the raunchiest cards, kids can readily buy cards by fantasy illustrators such as Boris Vallejo on which topless warrior-princesses meet S&M space girls. The prices are certainly allowance-friendly: generally $2 for a pack of 6 to 10 (although 100-card boxed sets sell for $20 to $50).

”If they’re within view or reach of children, that should be illegal,” chides Nancy Clausen, director of communications for the National Coalition Against Pornography. ”This is so frustrating, because at an early age, we’re teaching young males to see relationships with females as two-dimensional trading cards — raising young men to objectify women and treat them as playthings.”

Retailers we asked say they don’t sell these cards to minors (it’s legal to sell them to adults), though in some stores they’re sold right next to Bugs Bunny plush dolls. ”I’m opposed to censorship,” says Clausen, ”but I think people should show some responsibility. And this is irresponsible.”