One of the great strengths of webcomics is that they can offer a corrective to mainstream media. Rather than pandering to the interests of the perceived common majority, webcomics can target under-served audiences, embrace alternative heroes, and present a non-traditional view of the world. And sometimes that philosophy can manifest in surprising places. Like a beefcake calendar.
Mancalendar is a project put together by Countershot Press, a collective of five webcomic creators from Canada, the US and the UK, which brings together twelve talented illustrators to present their refreshingly different takes on the pin-up.
Yaoi has been around for more than thirty years, and it provides a livelihood for several publishers and creators in Japan and Korea. It also supports a thriving fan community, to the point where there are bookstores in Tokyo that sell professional-quality collections of fan-produced yaoi.
Because the internet encourages the same sort of niche community-building that seems to come naturally in Japan, we're seeing the emergence of female-oriented male/male webcomics in English. These series, like Teahouse, Artifice, and The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal, might not be considered yaoi by purists, but yaoi provides the precedent and the frame of reference.
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