Comic books are generally known for copying other successful genres into its own medium, but the swimsuit issue genre is one which found its way into the medium of comics relatively slowly. While other genres such as martial arts found their way into comics almost instantaneously, the first swimsuit editions in comics only began appearing in the 1990s as compared to their original release in 1964 in the pages of Sports illustrated. The Sports Illustrated versions themselves were essentially a reaction to the development of the bikini in 1946.
In general, the swimsuit issue is an issue by a publisher that often features one or more of its female properties in swim-wear. This normally constitutes already voluptuous characters in skimpy clothings and risqué poses. Less well endowed characters will often become more full figured in order to fill out the costumes better.
Despite that the first swimsuit issues were published by Marvel
, the practice is most common with independent publishers to help with sales by creating an alluring comic with no need for character development or plot. It is also a way for a variety of artists to give their impression on a character. Typically the format is for full page artwork with a centerfold piece often depicting scene that bare no relating to the characters storyline. The swimsuit issues are not always necessarily completely focused on art as for instance the Grimm Fairy Tale
version told a morality based story which highlighted the difference in outlooks among people whether it be to judge people and act petty, or to find the good in people even if they might look vain on the surface.
Characters such as Chaos! Comics Lady Death
had numerous individual and group swimsuit issues while interestingly being clad in bikini like outfits in her regular story-lines. This lead to some swim-suit issue created art transferring to one-shot covers and vice versa.