Erotic comics are adult comics which focus substantially on nudity and sexual activity, either for their own sake or as a major story element. As such they are usually not permitted to be sold to legal minors. Like other genres of comics, they can consist of single panels, short comic strips, comic books, or graphic novels/albums. Although never a mainstream genre, they have existed as a niche alongside – but usually separate from – other genres of comics.
During the mid-20th century, most comics were produced for children, and in North America the contents of most comics were constrained by the Comics Code Authority to be suitable for children. Consequently, erotic comics have sometimes been subject to criticism and extra scrutiny compared to other forms of erotic art and storytelling. Additionally, the application of laws against child pornography to materials featuring fictional characters with no legal ages, have varied internationally.
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