‘Money Shot’: A spicy comic to read for the plot

By Isaiah Colbert, Opinions Editor

Chloe McMullen

While looking at Vice News with his wife, Tim Seeley came across an article about how scientists were struggling to fund their projects during former President Donald Trump’s administration. When his wife suggested the scientists could just make porn, the comic book writer began creating a pitch based on what he said was one the finest ideas he had ever heard, which led to “Money Shot.”

“Money Shot” is a comic book from Vault Comics following pansexual scientists called the XXX-plorers who fund their space exploration by filming porn with each other and aliens they encounter.

Seeley, an adjunct faculty member in the Interactive Arts and Media Department and writer of “Money Shot,” said he tapped into his desire to make a science fiction comic in a setting like “Star Trek,” except there would be no funding for science endeavors and everyone would have an OnlyFans account to live off of.

“Money Shot” came out in a “weirdly opportune time” during the pandemic when people were feeling far from each other and wanted to be connected, Seeley said.

While “Money Shot” was being created in early 2019, Seeley said it was decided the comic would show nudity as a natural human state but would not focus on genitalia unless it was a story point.

“It’s a story about porn, but it’s not porn specifically,” he said. “You can lose the message, [and] you can lose the satire in stuff if people are too focused on the fact that it’s naughty.”

Len Strazewski, associate professor emeritus at Columbia, said depictions of real characters cannot happen without an acknowledgment of sexual relationships.

“There’s no particular reason why in visual storytelling that you wouldn’t have different kinds of depictions of sex and romance,” said Strazewski, a former DC Comics writer. “Like any popular entertainment, comics can have romance, sex and attractive people.”

The audience might not demand sex, but they realize it is a natural activity in storytelling, Strazewski said.

Although the comic’s creators expected a lot of pushback for producing “Money Shot,” Seeley said the biggest complaint from reviewers on sites like Amazon is that the comic is not dirty enough.

Rebekah Isaacs, the artist for “Money Shot,” said although Vault gave them free rein to be as explicit as they wanted, she drew the line to keep “Money Shot” from being “outright triple-x pornographic” and keep it at an HBO-level of explicitness.

“For a lot of people, because of the way that porn is portrayed in the media and how unfortunately there is a lot of pornography out there that is very violent towards women, it gets a bad rap,” she said.

Isaacs said when people are told a comic book is about characters making porn, it can turn them off to the point of never wanting to read it.

“Money Shot” was created to be something teenagers discovering their sexuality would be proud to share with their friends while hiding from their parents, Isaacs said.

Although the Tijuana Bibles, an erotic underground comic book featuring famous celebrities and cartoon characters, was an early example of sex in comic books in the 1960s, the comics tended to be misogynistic, Seeley said.

“We considered people’s viewpoints,” he said. “[‘Money Shot’] is not one-sided. It’s not just what a straight white guy thinks is sexy.”

Sarah Beattie, co-writer for “Money Shot,” said the sex in the comic is plot-driven, not exploitative and serves the female-led ensemble of characters.

“It’s okay for females to be horny,” Beattie said. “Showing that females have healthy sexual drives is actually really important.”

Beattie said she would like “Money Shot” to impact the comic book industry by providing a positive example of sex being naturally accepted and less exploitative.

While good stories and stories with sex tend to be mutually exclusive, Seeley said “Money Shot” finds its success by crafting a narrative that has both.

“I think because [‘Money Shot’] is in the middle, we’re surprising people,” Seeley said.