As an author, comic book creator, and general aesthete, I have a lot of interest in a wide variety of art, and one that has its own special place on my shelf are those depicting burlesque pin-ups and fetish models. Their aesthetic is something on a personal level that I find so compelling: it's imaginative, quirky, sexy, and fun. Besides, I always love costumes.
Many of the costumes in my books are fairly traditional for the genre, fan-dancers and glamour girls, flirty flappers and corseted cuties. But then we start going into the realm of the strange: “Day of the Dead” figures with their faces made-up like skulls, holy divas in sacred robes with the cross and bleeding heart emblazoned on their chests, viper girl and frog princess sideshow oddities, and noble knights in armour. The deathly, the religious, the grotesque, and the unrelentingly martial. A strange assortment of designs for a collection of lovely ladies and sexy sirens.
What is there in those designs that seems so sexy? Why is a woman dressed up like a frog woman or a saint or an avatar of death erotic? Few feelings are as primal and emotional as arousal, and it frequently links with other strong emotions in strange ways. Divine joy, naked fear, or perturbed disquiet can often add an intense edge to a sexy fantasy. The idea that you could make love to Death or screw with God, could romance the frog princess in the carnival or duel with the knight on the hill. Perhaps that shouldn't be sexy, but so often it is; the human brain is so often a confused and irrational thing, linking its emotions: fear to arousal, ecstasy to enlightenment.
Burlesque contains such a variety of images and ideas, approaching sensuality from many different eccentric directions. Any particular image and archetype can be weird and sexy, be it soldier or sailor, bat-girl or snake-lady, diva of the dead or messenger from Mars. In the end, they're not there to be analyzed, but to be enjoyed.