Well, I thought my next essay would be a follow-up to STRENGTH, IN NUMBERS, but instead it's a reprint of an argument from this BEAT post. I reprint it here in case I choose to develop any of the points later.
"People commission and collect drawings of superheroines. How many people have ever commissioned text stories of any length about one?"
I can't offer you any stats, but I have heard that prose commissions have been purchased with respect to people writing sex-stories about superheroes and various other pop-icons. Perhaps it could be demonstrated that that more comic-art commissions are turned out each year than prose commissions. But even if such a generalization was confirmed over the space of (say) ten years, that in itself would not prove that prose intrinsically is less useful for purposes of raunchy stimulation. It would only prove that there existed more customers for one thing than the other.
"Graphic child pornography gets a person in trouble immediately, while even ambiguous images raise suspicions. Pornographic text, conversely, is prosecuted very rarely."
This proves only that legal authorities feel more comfortable in prosecuting images rather than words. This suggests that the law places an implicit faith that the image, more than the word, can inspire the fabled "monkey see monkey do" reflex. But that's all it proves.
"It’s hard to imagine someone having the same reaction to a text description of a heroine that he would to a picture of her, especially after repeated exposures."
There are a lot of sites online focused on sexy pictures. Also a lot of them focused on sexy prose stories. Are there more of the former or the latter? I would say the latter, but YMMV.
"There’s little effort made to write superheroes as people in stories for children, because the children don’t need the realistic details. "
Anything I could say to refute this opinion has already been better said by CS Lewis in refuting the notion of the inherent juvenility of fairy stories.
The Inadequacies of Liberalism
22 hours ago